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.
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.
Our restored mill contains some of the last remaining working equipment of its kind in the world.
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.
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.
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.
The historic boiler house has been turned into an exhibition space.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have up to 60 volunteers who guide our visitors, and contribute to the preservation and development of this unique site.