King Edward Mine is at the eastern part of the South Condurrow Mine which was abandoned about 1890. It was re-opened in 1897, and developed as a fully operational/training mine, by the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) (see History/CSM).
Between 1891 and 1906, John Charles Burrow and others took remarkable (and now famous) underground and surface photos, making this the most photographed mine in the world at the time. Many of the photographs are in the Royal Cornwall Museum and are described in the book King Edward Mine: An Illustrated Account of Underground and Surface Operations 1897-2001 by Tony Brooks and John Watton available in the shop
King Edward (as it was re-named in 1901) was completely re-equipped, both on surface and underground by CSM, with modern machinery reflecting what was then considered the best Cornish practice. It was intended that the tin produced would cover most of the teaching costs.
The mine regularly produced tin up until World War 1 when operations were suspended. By 1920 it was back in production. This was short-lived for in 1921 the adjacent deeper Grenville Mine stopped working. As the two mines were interconnected, the consequent flooding of Grenville also flooded the King Edward workings. Underground operations, on a much reduced scale, were transferred to a dry shallow section the Great Condurrow Mine to the north.
The surface area of the mine was retained and used for teaching mining, ore dressing and surveying. There is a short clip of silent film footage of KEM in the 1930s below.
The remainder of the lecturing continued to be carried out at the main campus in Camborne.
In 1974 the pilot plant and most of the lecturing in mining, ore dressing, management, and surveying moved to the main School of Mines Building. The mill complex was no longer needed and it became a store.
In 1987 a volunteer group was formed with the objective to conserve the site as an educational resource for the future and to operate it in a manner that benefits the local community. Using rescued machinery the mill has been restored to working condition much as it would have been in the early years of the last century.
King Edward Mine and its satellite mine Great Condurrow ceased to be used by Camborne School of Mines in 2005. KEM, then operating as a museum, was purchased by Cornwall Council and Great Condurrow by the Carn Brea Mining Society.
The buildings are all Grade II* listed and are of National importance. The site is part of the World Heritage Area of Cornwall.