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British Industrial History

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Wheal Vor

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of 28-29 St. Swithins Lane, London

Wheal Vor mine is on the south coast of Cornwall, near to the village of Carleen, about 2 miles northwest of Helston in Breage Parish. Other mines working the extended sett included Wheal Metal and Great Wheal Fortune on Carnmeal Downs. [1]

Little remains of the extensive workings of 15 or so engines said by one historian to 'resemble a small town'. The ore grade at the 274 fathom level was about 5% compared to 1% to 1.5% grade usually found in Cornwall. On the face of it, Wheal Vor should have been a success but never was.


1698 It is thought to have been the first mine to use a Savery pump.

c1715 The first mine to install a Newcomen Engine.

1815 Engine by Arthur Woolf mentioned. [2]

1816 Wheal Vor output so substantial that a smelting house was established at the mine.

1835 The first Cornish mine to install a Brunton Calciner.

1836 Wheal Vor employed 327 women and 255 children.

1840 There were 1,174 employees, quite a significant increase on the 500 or so miners employed in 1820.

1848-1853 Wheal Vor was closed.

1854 Harvey's installed a 100-inch cylinder pumping egine on Crease's Shaft - named after the company chairman

1858 Reopened. The two main shareholders in this latest concern were the Cornish Copper Company and Harvey's, both of Hayle.

1860 The 100 inch engine was up for sale again in 1860. Crease's shaft was abandoned as production moved south to Wheal Metal.

1870 Ivey's shaft at Wheal Metal reached a depth of 227 fathoms but had problems with water, a shaft collapse, drop in ore grade combined with a fall in tin prices. Iveys 60-inch Pumping Engine House at Wheal Metal & Flow.

1874 All production stops from the mines to the east of Edward's Shaft.

1906 An unsucessful attempt made to rework sections of Wheal Vor. The company Wheal Vor, Limited was registered on 9 May, to acquire a tin property, situated in the parish of Breage, near Helston, Cornwall. [3]

1967 Another unsucessful attempt made to rework sections of Wheal Vor.

UK OS Grid Reference: SW624303
Map Reference: 50°7'28"N , 5°19'28"W

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Cornwall Calling
  2. Richard Trevithick by H. W. Dickinson and Arthur Titley. Published 1934
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908