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What, you thought I'd run out of mines?  Hahaha. no.
South Bedford mine was a relatively unsuccessful coppermine on the Devon side of the River Tamar,  the little sister of North Bedford Mines, aka Devon Great Consols, just up the river.  The Heritage Gateway is unsure whether this chimney was for arsenic refining, or whether it was connected to a steam engine.   The mine was already disused by 1884.   It is located right on the river, and apparently there are signs of shutes that carried ore down to barges so it could be removed for refining, although I don't remember seeing those.   There's also a note that 'during the War' test pits were dug to investigate the possibility of finding wolfram, but these were unsuccessful.  The HER does not clarify which War they mean, but the source is from the 1950s, so I'm guessing WWII.

The photo above was, I think, taken in about 2007.   It used to be possible to cross the river at Gunnislake, turn right and follow the old track past the South Bedford mine and the river weir and all the way down along the riverbank on the Devon side.  I did this walk a couple of times, and always meant to go again, as it's very lovely. But when I went there again a year or so ago, I found that the track had been gated off with a lot of padlocks and fierce signs saying 'Private'.  So it looks as though I will not be taking any more photos of South Bedford mine, at least from this side of the river.

But today I walked along the Cornwall side of the river (which is a footpath, and therefore, one hopes, will remain open!) and looked at South Bedford mine from the West.  You'd never guess it, with its shutes and its quay, its trenches and adits, had ever existed.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
1st Nov, 2015 23:19 (UTC)
That top picture is amazing! I love low-key colours and intricate textures in photographs. I couldn't work out the scale at first. It's definitely the home of some sort of troll, but a much smaller troll than I first thought.

Did the miners suffer from arsenic poisoning? I've heard (from Dorothy L Sayers, LOL) that you can build up a tolerance to arsenic if you do it slowly (and it makes your hair sleek!).
2nd Nov, 2015 18:44 (UTC)
Dorothy L Sayers, teaching people chemistry since 1930.
2nd Nov, 2015 20:13 (UTC)
And much more memorable than anything in my chemistry O level, I must say.
2nd Nov, 2015 20:13 (UTC)
It would be a very small troll. Like the little trolls you get in some scandinavian stories..

I'm sure they suffered from arsenic poisoning to some extent - like at Luckett mine, they had to close the school and build new chimneys because of the fumes.

The form in which it's found in the rocks, the mispickel, is apparently not very soluble (I have a feeling there's something about that in Sayers too!) But we are still told that we aren't supposed to eat too much food grown in the garden, although really that's such a small amount of total diet, it's not a big worry.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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