Southampton, United Kingdom
From Levant To Pendeen Cornwall
Photograph - Photograph
From Peter Savage - Levant Volunteer. /freespace.virgin.net/levant.mine/frameset-1.htm
Levant is one of Cornwall's most famous mines and like many others in the county very little is recorded of its early history. In 1820 Richard Boyns a local mining man formed a new company to work the mine, almost immediately they struck a rich vein of copper ore which eventually led to large dividends being paid to the share holders. This company operated Levant until getting into difficulties in 1871 when a new company was formed to take over the mine, its purser being Richard White, who was to run Levant for the next 30 years or so.
Over the years the mine continued to get deeper and to go further under the Atlantic Ocean, reaching its deepest point the 350 fathom level by 1904. Access to the lower levels was achieved by sinking two shafts out under the sea, Old Submarine shaft connecting the 210 to the 302 fathom level and, New Submarine Shaft connecting the 260 to the 350 fathom level.
To get to and from their place of work the miners had to climb many hundreds of feet on the ladders. In 1857 a Man Engine was installed on the mine, and eventually this saved the men enormous toil by enabling them to descend to and ascend from the 266 fathom level ( approximately 1800 feet from surface) with very little effort. On October 20th 1919 however the main rod of the Man Engine broke killing 31 miners and injuring many more.
In 1920 the old cost book company was dissolved to be replaced by a new limited company 'The Levant Tin Mines Limited' under a new manager Colonel F.F. Oats. Amazingly, only working from surface down to the 210 fathom level the mine survived for ten years on ground supposedly worked out many years before. It did however finally close in October 1930.
In the late 1950's the neighboring mine Geevor began to investigate the possibility of reopening Levant to enable them to work the seaward extension of their own lodes. Initial investigations in Skip Shaft revealed that the sea had broken in to the old workings. This hole through to the ocean was eventually traced to a notorious weak spot in Levant on the 40 fathom level. It took two attempts to seal this breach but by the end of the 1960's this had been successfully achieved. Skip Shaft was refurbished to the 190 fathom level with a four man cage being installed in place of the original two ore skips. Geevor and Levant sadly succumbed to the collapse in the price of tin in 1985 and closed in 1991, both mines are now flooded to sea level.
March 10th, 2013
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