St Ives Consols

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St Ives Consols (included Wellesley Mine; Wheal Mary) has been working since 1818 and produced copper and tin ore.

The sett of St Ives Consols lies on the southwestern fringe of St. Ives, just south and east of the A3074 road at Higher Stennack between the area of the Leach pottery and the beginning of the coast road to Zennor and St Just.

The land was leased from the landowners - Earl of Mornington and the Duke of Cleveland, Messrs. Stephens and others.

A number of mineral veins are associated with the mine including North, Virgin, Caunter, Daniell's, William's, Lowry's and Kemps Lodes. The workings extended over feet (200 metres) beneath St Ives.

Its major shafts were: Wheal Mary, West and East Virgin, Old Sump Cornish and Millet Shafts.

The adit is 20 fathoms below the surface, and the depth of the deepest shaft is 200 fathoms.

Mining had been carried out in the area previously but the mine was was re-started in 1818 by the Conservative MP, Sir Christopher Hawkins as part of his election campaign.

The early development of St. Ives Consols was largely overseen by Captain Hodge, a colleague of the great Richard Trevithick.

John Halse developed St Ives Consols from the 1820s and 1830s and the total recorded returns down to 1892 were valued at £1,024,467 with tin production (1827-92) amounting to 16,400 tons.

The mine was famous for 'carbonas' , large ore bodies which were excavated to form large caverns. In 1843, a candle set fire to the timber in the Great Carbona.

In 1864/65, St Ives Consols employed 218 men, 59 women & 104 boys. There were 2 pumping engines (a 50 inch and a 30 inch), 1 stamps engine of 26 inches with 52 heads and 2 whims (winding engines of 20 inch and 18 inches) and 5 water wheel stamps, each with 36 heads. St Ives Consols closed in 1875 except for a limited amount of production closer to the surface between 1876 and 1892.

In his 1864 book, 'The Mines of Cornwall', Thomas Spargo reports that St Ives Consols is 'a great mine worthy of consideration on every point'.

The management team at this time was Captain Phillip Henry Alpin as Purser and Captain John Nancarrow, Manager, shortly to be replaced by Richard Martin (1865-1871). Alpin continued as Purser until 1874 when he was succeeded by George Treweeke. The manager between 1872 and 1874 was John Gilbert. Secretary was John Vivian. The company used the costbook system. There were 940 shares, on which up to the year 1865 only £8 per share had been called up, a total working capital of less than £8000. The dividends to 1867 amounted to £111,000. During the greater part of the period from 1818 to 1873 from 300 to 500 people were employed. (Collins JH 1912)

Believed to have produced more than one million pounds worth of copper ore and black tin between 1818 and 1873, producing on average 300 tons of tin per year.

The mine's most productive years were between 1854 and 1873, with the value of black tin raised in this period amounting to over £400,000, with the best single year being 1859 when 340 tons of tin were produced at a value of £24,010.

J.H. Collins, in his book, Observations on the West of England Mining Region, 1912, reported the following output:

Before 1827 black tin (with some copper) value £200,000
1827-30 black tin, 1241 tons, value £61,919
1831-40 black tin, 4739 tons, value £204,527
1841-50 black tin, 4041 tons, value £166,065
1851-60 black tin, 2527 tons, value £158,575
1861-70 black tin, 2420 tons, value £141,660
1871-80 black tin, 1130 tons, value £68,015
1881-90 black tin, 353 tons, value £18,338
1891-92 black tin, 9 tons, value £368

1827-71 copper etc. value £5000

Total value £1,024,467

In 1907, it was taken over by St Ives Consolidated Mines Limited with Trenwith, Rosewall Hill, Ransom United, Goole Pellas, Georgia and Giew mines. It closed in 1915 during the First World War and Giew closed in 1922.

In Balnoon cemetery in St. Ives is the grave of Edwin Trevorrow, who was killed at St. Ives Consols on March 15th 1887

Records of St Ives Consols from 1908 - 1936 are held at Cornwall Records Office (CRO)

Penlee House Museum, in Penzance, holds a print of the mine at surface with Children & Bal Maidens working on the dressing floors beside the Stennack river (or Trenwith Stream). PEZPH : 2016.50.594

In April 2018 it was reported that a shaft had swallowed a car park in St Ives. A 40ft deep and 3ft wide sinkhole had opened in Garth-An-Creet. Emergency services were called to assess the scene and undertake work to prevent the hole from widening and affecting nearby properties. An investigation of the cause concluded the hole was created by the collapse of a disused mine shaft, one of the old mine's main shafts, 'Cornish Shaft'

Minerals recorded from St Ives Consols include:
Chalcopyrite variety Blister Copper
'Chlorite Group'
Cuprite variety Chalcotrichite
'Feldspar Group'
Opal ? var: Isopyre ?

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