Saturday, 19 November 2016
Unfortunately I could not make it to the November Cornish Mining Sundowner on Thursday evening, which was held in the wilds of Cornwall, at St. Just near Land's End, one of England's most remote villages. However, I thank sundowner regular Nick Slade for this report, and photo of those who braved the long journey.
Nine of us made a happy throng at the Star Inn, St. Just for this month's Sundowner. This included Nick Wilshaw, Jack Carr, John Rumbles (sorry for chopping you off the photo), Bentley Orchard, Dennis Murphy, Sam Hughes, Claire Yelland, Steve Wilson, Sarah and I. All from afar (Redruth, Camborne, Truro, Porthleven, Helston and Falmouth). Hopefully next time, we might have a few locals join us.
Touching on a little relevant history - note the Holman Stoper drill to the right hand side of Steve Wilson (who is 3rd left) in the photo. Made in Camborne, the Holman's Silver 3 Stoper drill represented a great advance on the earlier pneumatic drills. It was much lighter (44kg) and more compact than earlier drills and incorporated a telescopic 'air leg' which pushed the drill upwards. This is the first pub we have found with some 'air tools' in it.
St. Just and the area has a strong mining history and was during the 19th century one of the most important mining districts in Cornwall both for copper and for tin. Mines within the area included Boscaswell Downs, Balleswidden, Parknoweth, Boscean, Wheal Owles, Wheal Boys, Levant, Botallack and Geevor.
The boom in 19th-century mining saw a dramatic increase in the population of St. Just, the 1861 census records the population figure as being 9,290, however like other areas in Cornwall the population declined with the collapse in the tin trade in the 20th century. The town also suffered from the decision of the Great Western Railway to abandon its plans to make St. Just the terminus of the London mainline to Cornwall. Since 2006 the St. Just mining district became part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
Just to add, we did have to hunt around the Market Square to find some food. The chippies were shut when we left the pub. Another pub couldn't do 7 of us for food, but The Commercial Hotel pub did and the food was bloomin' good.