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Mining People

This colour indicates more information or an external link.

These pages will eventually contain information about the people connected with the following mines:-

Danescombe Valley (Calstock Consols etc.)

Drakewalls

Gunnislake Clitters

Okel Tor

Prince of Wales

Albaston Mines, including East Calstock & Wheals Arthur & Edward

Typical living and working conditions for the miners and their families are described on the Cornish Mining website.

A list of local mines, based on documents held at the Cornwall Records Office and other resources.

 

External Sites

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

Online Census Project

Cornwall Family History Society

Tamar Valley A.O.N.B.

GENUKI
Cornwall / Calstock

Calstock Archive Trust

mines index 

   

 


Drakewalls Mine 1938
(Source 8 below)

Drakewalls

Worked from: 11th Century to 1905 (also 1909-10), with periods of closure.

Producing: Mainly tin, also some copper, wolfram, arsenic, molybdenum, lead, & silver, originally from a long "gunnis" or open cutting.

Plans: Available from the CRO and include those with reference numbers HB/66, HB/A29, MRO/4733, MRO/R63 and O.S. Plan HB/S32/2 (1884/1906)

Ownership:

1847 - Company Chairman, Percival Norton Johnson  (also with interests in Johnson Matthey)
1860  Drakewalls Mining Co.
1877  Drakewalls Mining Co.
1878-1882  Drakewalls Tin & Copper Mining Co.
1883  Drakewalls United Tin & Copper Mining Co
1884-1890  Drakewalls Tin & Copper Mining Co.
1891-1898  Drakewalls Mining Co.Ltd.
1897-98  In Liquidation
1901  John Taylor & Sons
1902-1904  Drakewalls Ltd.
1906-1913  British Mining & Metal Co.Ltd.

Other Associated Names:

1859-1871  Gregory, Thomas   Manager
1872-1877  Skewis, William   Manager
1878-1881  Bawden, Moses Arthur   Manager
1883 - Bawden, Moses   Manager
1892-1898  Bawden, Moses   Manager

1859-1862  Betteley, E.   Secretary
1863-1869  Clogg, Richard   Secretary
1870-1871  Richard Clogg & Son   Secretary
1872-1890  Bawden, Moses Arthur   Secretary
1891-1898  Lavington, W.J.   Secretary

1859  Andrews, J.   Chief Agent
1860-1865  Hosking, James   Chief Agent
1867-1868  Gregory, Thomas   Chief Agent
1869-1871  Hosking, James   Chief Agent
1870-1873  Coath, R.P.   Chief Agent
1873-1876  Dunstan, Edward   Chief Agent
1879-1881  Dunstan, Edward   Chief Agent
1889-1892  Rodda, H.   Chief Agent
1893  Hosking, James   Chief Agent
1894-1898  Bawden, Moses Arthur   Chief Agent
1904  Hooper, J.   Chief Agent
1906-1913  Heap, J.H.   Chief Agent

1889 - 1892  Rodda, Henry   Mine Captain

Notes:

1844  The first use of a method for separating wolfram from tin, devised by Dr. Robert Oxland.

1850  A summer storm sent hailstones of up to 10cm in circumference smashing through the windows of the engine houses.  The accompanying rain washed enough sand and earth underground to hamper mining for some time.

1859  The mine employed 398 people.  William Francis Tucker (15) was killed at the mine, buried 20 March.

1860s  The management refused to employ members of a newly-formed Union, resulting in a strike  It is reported that a strike-breaker was 'trussed to a pole and paraded amongst the jeering population of Gunnislake'.  The imprisonment of the people responsible led to employee unrest and management lock-outs in some neighbouring mines, quelled by the use of troops and the employment of miners from other areas.

From the West Briton, 2 March 1866, "At the East Caradon and Marke Valley Mines on Monday last, three pitches at each mine were refused by the men, and the price offered not being increased, the whole of the men at both mines turned out on strike, and have not resumed work. At Drakewalls Mine, work having been refused to men connected with the newly formed society, the men in a body refused to work, and having caught one of their number who had expressed his willingness to go below, rode him on a rail through Gunnislake. For this legal proceedings have been taken. The managers of the whole of the mine in the Tavistock district and many in the Liskeard district have signed a resolution not to employ men belonging to the society."

1861  The mine employed 350 people.

1869  December. Thomas Gerry, of Calstock, Henry Coombe of Luckett and John Adams, of Metherell, were killed in accidents at the mine. See this page.

Circa. 1870   Surface workers earned 15/- per week and underground workers slightly more, on a piece-work system.

1884   70 men were employed underground and 60 at the surface.

1889 - 5 February.  Henry Davis, John (Jack) Tucker, John Rule and William Bant went underground at 7a.m. as usual.  They were preparing to allow sand to run into a previously-worked area.  Rule (described as a "competent person besides being a careful steady man") and Bant went to release the sand, whilst Tucker and Davis stayed to tell them when to stop.  After a few minutes of running, the sand suddenly started falling too fast, to the accompaniment of a loud roar.  Tucker  and Davis, covered in sand, struggled out of the shaft, but Bant and Rule remained - entombed. 

Despite efforts to release them, they remained there for 2 nights until the arrival of H.M. Inspector of Mines (Archibald E. Pinching) on the 7 February.  At that stage a second major rescue plan was underway led by Thomas Chapman, the 'pitman', using details of the mine workings supplied by William Smale, an elderly timber man ("who, unfortunately, was exceedingly deaf") and Richard Collings, a young man who had moved recently to another mine.

Working in groups of three, the miners used small blasts of dynamite to excavate a channel down to the entombed men.  Verbal contact with them was made at 10a.m.the following morning and it is stated that "strong men, many of whom had been in rough mining camps in all parts of the world, (were) alternately laughing and crying, like children, with emotion."

Renewed efforts were made, led by Moses Bawden (the purser), Captain Richards (the agent) and Albert Pinching, the Inspector.  A small hole was finally blasted through to the men at 9 p.m. and refreshments were lowered the 18 fathoms down.  After enlargement of the hole, Tom Chapman was lowered down and effected the rescue.  Bant and Rule were fed "soup, beef tea &c." and the mine was cleared of all men by midnight.

The mine agent was censured for not reporting the matter to the Inspector immediately.  Thomas Chapman's conduct was recommended to be "brought to the attention of the Queen (when) Her Majesty might be inclined to bestow some mark of favour upon such a deserving subject." (N. B. Thomas was awarded the Albert Medal of the second class, for gallantry in saving life - see the Newspaper Articles page.)

It was common at the time for poems to be written to mark such occasions and this rescue was no exception.  The original "Rescued Alive" contained fourteen verses, the final seven of which are printed here, with thanks to P.H.G. Richardson.

It is not clear whether William Bant and John Rule were mentally scarred by their ordeal, but one later committed suicide, the other became a local preacher.

Further details of this incident can be obtained by using the Contact link above left.

1891  48 people were employed below ground and 50 at the surface.

1893  William Henry Rundle (35, tin & copper miner) was killed at the mine.  Inquest held at Honeycomb on 21 July 1893.  He was married with 5 children. Cause of death given as:-

"Injuries accidentally received to the head from the falling of a piece of timber down the shaft on him while in the strip at Drakewalls Mine."

1895  53 people were employed below ground and 59 at the surface.

1901  20 people were employed below ground and 20 at the surface.

1908  The mine employed 2 people below ground and 4 at the surface..

1918  The mine employed 3 men below ground

Any corrections to this information would be useful - it is sometimes difficult in old records, to tell the difference between various mines, in this case between Drakewalls & Drakewalls (West).
 

 
 

Information is being added to this website on a frequent basis.  Come back again soon for more information about mining people.

If you have details, photographs, corrections etc. which you would like to contribute, please use the 'Contact' link top left. 

 
References:    
 

1. Caradon District Council website
2. Cornwall's Mining Heritage, Peter Stannier. 0-90629-449-5
3. Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd. website

4. Special Report to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the Circumstances Attending an Accident at the Drakewall's Mine, Gunnislake, On the 5th February, 1889, Whereby Two Men were Entombed.  Pinching (A.E)
5. Mines of Dartmoor & The Tamar Valley After 1913, P.H.G. Richardson  0-86114-898-3
6. Exploring Cornish Mines Vols 4 & 5, Kenneth Brown & Bob Acton  1-873443-39-0
7. Cornish Mines,  Roger Burt, Peter Waite, Raymond Burnley 0-85989-287-5
8.
A Historical Survey of the Mines and Mineral Railways of East Cornwall and West Devon: D.B.Barton
9. Mines and Miners of Cornwall, Part XV: Calstock, Callington and Launceston:  A.K.Hamilton Jenkin  Federation of Old Cornwall Societies 1969
10. The generous contributors of information from death certificates.

 
 

 

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