Thursday, 6 November 2014

Mining in Cornwall and Devon

In the 19th Century, the world's largest sources of copper and tin were in south-west England in the county of Cornwall, and to a lesser extent in neighbouring Devon. The mines in the Camborne-Redruth area were the deepest in the world, and this area is often regarded as being the birthplace of modern mining. As copper and tin mining declined in the region, miners took their experience to all parts of the world, including the deep gold mines which were opening up on South Africa's Witwatersrand.  The legacy of this once proud industry is now only the famous engine houses, and ruins of dressing floors, which can be seen in many postings on the blog.
For those who wish to delve deeper into the history of mining in these two counties, a book has just been published which provides detailed statistics on the mines of the region. Mining in Cornwall and Devon is an economic history of mines, mineral ownership, and mine management in the South West of England. It brings together material from a variety of hard-to-find sources on the thousands of mines that operated in Cornwall and Devon from the late 1790s to the present day. It presents information on what they produced and when they produced it; who the owners and managers were and how many men, women and children were employed. For the mine owners, managers and engineers, it also offers a guide to their careers outside  the South West, in other mining districts across Britain and the world. A long section on the Duchy of Cornwall provides details of the Duchy's role as the largest mineral owner in the South West, and of the modernisation and changing administration of the Stannaries. The book is available from University of Exeter Press.

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