Our historic Cornish tin mine above ground

The vision of King Edward Mine museum is to celebrate the mining history of Cornwall by collecting, stewarding and interpreting historical and engineering heritage in ways that increase knowledge and ignite curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds.  As Cornwall’s best preserved mine site, the buildings have been beautifully restored and now serve as a community hub for the Cornish Mining World Heritage area.

King Edward Mine Californian Stamps

Stamps were used throughout Cornwall in the 19th century for crushing the mined ore down to sand to enable tin concentrate to be extracted. 

 

Our set of Californian Stamps were manufactured by Fraser & Chalmers who exhibited them at the Paris Exhibition of 1900.  These were a significant engineering improvement on Cornish stamps, thousands of which were in use throughout Cornwall at the time. 

 

Our set of Californian stamps were bought by Camborne School of Mines who designed and built the huge Mill building around them in 1901.  These are extremely rare, and we believe one of the last working in the world.

 

The deafening noise of this great machine can be heard in action several times a year.  The stamps have a nominal 850 lbs weight with a drop of 8 ins operating at about 100 drops per minute.

 

Ore is fed into the mortar box from behind the heads along with a steady stream of water, reducing the rock to sand that can then be sorted into ore and waste using further equipment and gravity separation methods. 

Cornish tin working mill

Our restored mill contains some of the last remaining working equipment of its kind in the world.

King Edward Mine Mill Ming Edward Mine Mill showing the sand table, dipper wheel, round frame, frue vanner, convex buddle, originally belt-driven from the steam engine in the building next to the Winder House
King Edward Mine Round Frame King Edward Mine Round Frame, rescued and restored in the position of the original frame
King Edward Mine Mill 1921 Frue Vanner Camborne School of Mines students in the Mill 1921
King Edward Mine Mill Frue Vanner 2019 King Edward Mine Mill 2019 showing Frue Vanner
King Edwar Mine Shaking Table demonstration Photo Credit Barry Wills of MEI

At King Edward Mine, we are always pleased to explain the principles of gravity separation using water and a variety of equipment including shaking tables.  Here is a group of visitors seeing lines of tin ore and lighter minerals forming due to the mechanical action of the  table.

Rag Frames were in common use in Cornwall in the 19th century to recover fine tin.  Commonly, they operated by women. Our Rag Frames have been reconstructed from memory and operate entirely using water power.

King Edward Mine Holman Winder and Compressor House

The original Holman Winder went into service at King Edward Mine in 1908, a 10 inch by 15 inch coupled geared twin drum steam hoist.  The Holman Winder was used for raising ore from the shaft below the headframe. 

 

In 1942 it was moved to another mine, then another, then in 2001 brought back to King Edward and erected in its original position.    As the Winder House building was destroyed by fire in 1957, in 2010 we built a new replica building around the winding machinery. 

 

The Holman Winder is now fully operational using compressed air.  In its silent smooth action, it sounds just as it did when powered by steam. The restoration of the building won an award from the Cornwall Buildings Group in 2010.

King Edward Mine Winder House fire 1957 King Edward Mine Winder House fire 1957
King Edward Mine restored Winder House 2010 King Edward Mine Winder House restored 2010

We are also in the process of restoring the steam air compressor built in 1878 by Harveys of Hayle. This was used to power rock-drills underground.

King Edward Mine Harveys Compressor King Edward Mine Harveys Compressor

King Edward Mine Boiler House

The historic boiler house has been  turned into an exhibition space.

King Edward Mine Cornish Pattern Boiler King Edward Mine Cornish pattern Boiler

The original 1869 boiler was  replaced with a Cornish pattern boiler in 1906 by Camborne School fo Mines and the present building dates from that era. It was used to provide steam for  winding  and for the engine that drove the belt for th machinery in the Mill.

King Edward Mine Holman Exhibition

Amongst the many exhibits we showcase the international history of  Holman rock-drills.

The museum and its artifacts are currently a valuable resource for local schools.

King Edward Mine Engine Room exhibition

Originally, this building housed a 90HP Holman Mill Engine, that drove the belts for the Mill.

 

The former historic engine room is now an exhibition room with photos and video of the history of our own mine and the  people and technology that made it work.

King Edward Mine Survey Office 1899

The reason why the buildings and their historic contents were preserved is because King Edward Mine was used as a teaching facility for the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) for almost 100 years from 1897 to 1984.

 

Our beautiful Survey Office has remained almost unchanged since it was first built in 1897.  It is still used  by students today.

Survey Office at King Edward Mine Camborne School of Mines students in the Survey Office 1899
King Edward Mine 2018 Remembrance Day Camborne School of Mines students at Service of Remembrance 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day 11th November 2018
Camborne School of Mines Great War Memorial Camborne School of Mines War Memorial

Our Mining Heritage Landscape

King Edward Mine mining landscape King Edward Mine mining landscape

Our 22 acre mine has become a haven for wildlife, birds, bats and wild flowers as it has been untouched by farming or pesticides.

In the summer,  we host ecology events, to identify and observe nesting birds and to look at the wild flowers on the site.

We are running a Saturday science club for children,  and open for innovative art and theatre projects.

 

We have a gem of a specialist bookshop selling Cornish books on a variety of topics, but mostly history. 

King Edward Mine Gift and Bookshop King Edward Mine Bookshop

We have up to 60 volunteers who guide our visitors, and contribute to the preservation and development of this unique site.

We are now closed for the winter.  However join us for Festive Music on Sunday 8th Dec.

 

You would be welcom to come and volunteer on Wednesdays or Sundays or we will see you in 2020.

See all the videos of Californian Stamps, Holman Winder and unique Cornish Rag Frames on our Youtube Channel

Visit the Croust Hut Cafe

 Croust Hut Cafe is open all year.

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© 2019 King Edward Mine Museum Registered Charity Number 1149801 KING EDWARD MINE LTD Trustees David Ager (Chair), David Burkitt, Maureen Gilbert, Peter Sheppard, Graham Sowell