Cornish Mining World Heritage Site gets £1m for Wheal Busy conservation

Cornish Mining Landscape, News, Uncategorized
Wheal Busy Smithy Funding 1

One of the two impressive cast iron lintels of the Smithy, which give an indication of the proud 
spirit the mine company wished to convey through its reworking of Wheal Busy in the 1870s.
(Image: Ainsley Cocks)

Since 2014 the World Heritage site has prioritised Wheal Busy Smithy as a conservation project and for many years before this members of the team, the local community and Cornwall Council have searched for a solution to preserve this fantastic piece of history, which is a noted feature of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ within the World Heritage Site.

Whilst being a well-known feature in the Chacewater area, the building has unfortunately been underutilised for some time which has led to deterioration of the scantle-slate roofing. The winter storms of 2014 also caused the partial collapse of the building’s south eastern corner, increasing concerns about its continued stability.

In 2018 the World Heritage Office approached Highways England with the aim of getting the Smithy included as one of the projects to be funded by the Highways England A30 Environmental Designated Funds. Since then the World Heritage Team has worked with Highways England, Arup contractors, Members of the Chasewater Parish Council and Tregothnan Estate to get the project approved for funding. We are delighted to announce that this project has now been approved for £1 million in funding. The Smithy is likely to be developed for community usage.

The Smithy workshop at Wheal Busy near the former mining village of Chacewater is unique within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site and is thought to be the largest historic blacksmiths on a metalliferous mine in Britain.

Wheal Busy is a very important name in the annals of Cornish mining. The production of copper and tin in the area around Chacewater dates from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, with the mine first being mentioned in 1666. Wheal Busy also saw the successive installation of early innovations in steam technology; a Newcomen atmospheric engine was at work dewatering the mine by around 1726, with this role assumed by a Smeaton improved atmospheric engine by 1775-1776. Eventually a Boulton & Watt separate condenser engine was installed, this being the first of its type to operate in Cornwall when it was put to work by its designer James Watt in 1777.

As an acknowledged feature of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, or international significance, within the World Heritage Site, the preservation of the Smithy is of the highest priority to the World Heritage Site team. Designated a Grade II Listed building, the Smithy has an extensive scantle-slate roof and impressive cast iron lintels over its two main entrances. The building owes much of its grand form to a major reworking of the mine in the 1870s and the lintels boldly proclaim the title: ‘Great Wheal Busy Mines 1872’.

Julian German, Chair of the World Heritage Site Partnership, commented that “the Partnership very much welcome the support that Highways England have pledged through the A30 Environmental Designated Funds scheme. The Wheal Busy Smithy poses a significant conservation challenge but this announcement will enable the emergency stabilisation of the building, which is a well-known and highly regarded feature of international importance within the World Heritage Site.”

The World Heritage Site team are delighted that funding has been approved for the Smithy and look forward to working closely with Highways England, the Tregothnan Estate and the community of Chacewater to deliver the much-needed conservation of this unique aspect of Cornwall’s mining heritage.

Cornish ‘Man Engine’ wins HLF best arts award

Arts, Awards, Celebration, communications, Cornish Mining Landscape, Culture, News, Performance, Photograph, Technology, Tourism, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

MAN ENGINECongratulations to Golden Tree Productions, whose ‘Man Engine’ has won the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Best Arts Project’ Award. The Man Engine was such a great success when it toured the World Heritage Site areas of Cornwall and west Devon last year and we are all thrilled that this achievement has been recognised in this way.

Commissioned by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site as part of its  ‘Tinth’ Anniversary programme of events in 2016, the giant metal puppet, “MAN ENGINE”, which toured mining heritage sites across west Devon and Cornwall, has won the National Lottery Best UK Arts Project Award, beating more than 1,300 other entrants.

Created by arts company Golden Tree Productions, in response to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site call for proposals from the region’s vibrant culture sector to celebrate World Heritage status, Man Engine attracted over 150,000 people to events at locations across the Site and generated 160 million views across traditional and digital media outlets worldwide.

Julian German, Chairman of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership, said: “This is obviously wonderful news for everyone in Cornwall and west Devon, and beyond. The World Heritage Site Partnership, backed by Cornwall Council, were seeking a vision, an ambition and a tenacity that would come together in a fitting tribute to our ancestors’ ingenuity and entrepreneurialism. We certainly found this in the Man Engine. The Man Engine undoubtedly captured the world’s imagination, bringing the towns and villages along the route to the attention of an international audience, and stimulating enthusiasm for and awareness of the importance of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Today’s announcement of the National Lottery Arts award will yet again honour the stories, the dedication and the ingenuity of our ancestors, and I extended our thanks and congratulations to the Golden Tree team.”

Will Coleman, artistic director of Golden Tree, added that: “Last year, we collectively pulled off something truly spectacular, working together with people all over Cornwall and West Devon to make the Man Engine tour the length of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site a reality.  This year, we’ve done it again thanks to almost 8,000 people voting for the Man Engine to become the country’s favourite Arts project in the National Lottery Awards.  What a phenomenal response. I simply want to thank everyone who commissioned us, supported us, sponsored us, volunteered for us, sang for us, helped us along the way, or simply came to see us and took part. The personal and family stories of triumph and tragedy have been deeply moving. I am delighted to confirm that this win is a significant boost to our plans for the Man Engine to awaken again.  2018 will see him touring across Cornwall and Devon and heading to Wales and England on his travels. For now, I cannot say any more, but thank you again to everyone that voted, and watch this space for news very soon!”

For more information: Ainsley Cocks, Research and Information Officer, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office / Sodhva Lown Ertach an Bys Balweyth Kernewek

Tel: 01872 322585                                                                                         Email: acocks@cornwall.gov.uk                                                Web: www.cornishmining.org.uk

Bringing Outstanding Universal Value to life – “Tin”- the movie

News

The Cornish Mining WHS are delighted to announce the forthcoming release of their latest cultural programme production, the film version of the highly acclaimed musical drama “Tin”.

Based on real life events surrounding a banking scandal in the mining community of St Just in the 1890’s, the stage production of “Tin” was originally toured around Cornwall and west Devon as the Cornish Mining WHS contribution to the Cultural Olympiad in March 2012, to popular and critical acclaim. Based on this success, they have worked with the production company, Miracle Theatre, to create a feature film version for wider circulation.

Following premieres in Cornwall and London’s Leicester Square, the film goes on general release on 17th April at cinema’s in London and the south. Details of venues and how to book available here.