The history of mining in Calstock is a long and complex one, with evidence that there was some kind of mining activity taking place in the area as far back as the Bronze Age. In those days, copper was mined for its ability to create blue or green pigments for paints, dyes and art. The Romans also left behind evidence of working mines in several places around Calstock and Devon. But it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that modern mining techniques were rediscovered and replaced old ways once again.
By 1901, there were over 50 mines and quarries across the district, employing nearly 2000 men. These included working copper ore veins at Wheal Betsy, Wheal Margaret, St Anns Well and Buscombe Hill; tin veins at Great Wheal Vor and Little Wheal Vor; Iron ore at Kellyhill; Lead at East Combe; Fluorspar at North Fluorspar Hill; Arsenic at Westbury Brook Arsenic Mine; Quartz at Haycroft Hill and Devon Great Consols; as well as a number of smaller locations.
These two mines are located about 2 miles south of Calstock, on the edge of the Tamar Valley. They were both opened around 1820 and worked for about 50 years. However, the history of mining in the area goes back much further than that. There were tin workings there during the Bronze Age and Roman mining activity also took place nearby. Wheal Betsy was reopened in 1820 by the G W Teague and Company, while Wheal Margaret was reopened the same year by Joseph Hawker and Company. The two operations were independent until 1839, when they merged to form the Calstock Mining Company. In 1889, the Company was acquired by a group of businessmen and re-formed as the Betsy and Margaret Mining Company. The mines were closed in 1908.
These mines are located just north of Calstock, at the end of a valley known as St Ann’s Well. They were both opened in 1820 and worked for about 45 years, before being closed in 1865. The history of mining in this area goes back much further than that, though. There were also tin workings here during the Bronze Age, as well as Roman mining activity at nearby Buscombe Hill. St Ann’s Well was reopened in 1820 by the G W Teague and Company, while Buscombe Hill was reopened the same year by Joseph Hawker and Company. The two operations were independent until 1839, when they merged to form the Calstock Mining Company. The mines were closed in 1865, with the ore and flux being transported to Wheal Betsy for processing.
These mines are located about a mile west of Calstock, one on either side of the Blackpool Stream. Great Wheal Vor was opened in 1837, while Little Wheal Vor was opened the same year but was closed in the 1850s. The two operations were reopened in 1867, before once again being closed in 1878. Great Wheal Vor and Little Wheal Vor were reopened in 1867 by William Williams and Company, who also owned Little Wheal Vor. However, the mines were closed again in 1878, due in part to a financial crisis that took place in 1866.
The Kellyhill Mine was a small iron ore mine located around 2 miles from Calstock. It was first opened in 1852, and was connected to the Great Western Railway by a single track line, which was used to transport iron ore to the Devon Great Consols smelter at St Day. The mine was later closed, but was re-opened by the Devon Great Consols Mining Company in 1879. The Kellyhill Mine was closed in 1901, following a decline in the price of iron ore.
The nearby Kellyhill Quarry was opened in 1851 and continued to operate until 1930.
This mine was reopened in 1844, having been closed since 1832. It produced lead and zinc in large quantities until it was closed in 1877. There was also a nearby lead smelter, which operated between 1853 and 1870.
Devon Great Consols was a small tin mine located just north of Calstock. The mine was originally operated as a small open-cast mine. The ore was transported to the nearby Devon and Cornwall Smelting Company smelting works in Calstock via an incline shaft. The mine closed in 1874, when the ore ran out. It was reopened in 1895 by the Great Western Mining Company, who developed the mine as an underground tin mine. The mine produced tin ore until 1907.
The North Fluorspar Hill Mine was a small fluorspar mine located about 2 miles from Calstock. It was opened by the Great Western Mining Company in 1842, and was later purchased by the Devon Great Consols Mining Company in 1879. The mine was connected to the Great Western Railway by a single track line, which was used to transport fluorspar ore to the Devon Great Consols smelter at St Day. The nearby Westbury Brook Arsenic Mine was opened by the Devon Great Consols Mining Company in 1878, and closed in 1901.
The history of mining in Calstock is a long and complex one. The area was once home to a thriving mining industry that produced tin, copper, fluorspar and iron ore for export across Britain and the wider world. Calstock’s mines were rediscovered in the mid-19th century, and were in production for over 120 years.
The first signs of mining activity in the Calstock area date back to the Bronze Age, when people were extracting copper from veins found in the local landscape. The Romans also left behind evidence of working mines in several places around Calstock and Devon.
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