This area, which forms a circle around the granite outcrop of Carn Brea was the most important of the mining districts in Cornwall and West Devon area. It was the home of both the most productive mines and the many of the important industrial service industries like fuse making.
These mines also produced tin at depth: Dolcoath 80,000 tons of tin, Carn Brea and Tincroft 53,000 tons, East Pool and Agar 46,000 tons, Cook’s Kitchen 41,000 tons.
The Camborne area was one of the first in the world to install the new steam pumping engines. Effective drainage was the critical factor for a sucessful mine. Specialist mining service industries developed foundries and boiler works, fuse works, drill manufacturers. Rail links to Hayle and Portreath allowed ore to be carried to the sea, and coal for the engines to reach the mines.
The mid 19th century slump in copper prices hit this area. But the deep tin reserves to the north of Carn Brea and the discovery of the Great Flat lode to its south, softened the impact of the slump in the Camborne-Redruth district. The effect never the less, was to close the smaller mines and create a group of large, efficient, deep tin mines – Grenville United, the
Basset Mines, Tresavean, Carn Brea and Tincroft, East Pool and Agar, South Crofty and Dolcoath.
The 20th century saw the eventual death of the mining industry in Cornwall. Grenville United closed in 1910, the Basset Mines in 1919, Dolcoath in 1920, Carn Brea and Tincroft closed in 1921, Tresavean closed for the last time in 1928, East Pool and Agar survived until 1949. South Crofty operated until 1999, and then became the last Cornish mine to close.
The mining service industries of the area also went into a decline. Fuse making stopped at Bickford’s Tuckingmill factory, only Holman’s, with their rock drills and compressed air equipment survived, whilst the Camborne School of Mines acquired a reputation for training mine engineers.
Today regeneration projects are trying to conserve the mining landscape. Long-distance trails and paths to link up its many sites (the Mineral Tramways Project). The summit of Carn Brea gives you a view across this mining district.