Botallack Mine

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Botallack Mine
Crowns engine houses, Botallack.jpg
Engine houses at Crown Mines
Typeindustrial heritage, mine
Coordinates50°8′24″N 5°41′27″W / 50.14000°N 5.69083°W / 50.14000; -5.69083Coordinates: 50°8′24″N 5°41′27″W / 50.14000°N 5.69083°W / 50.14000; -5.69083
OwnerNational Trust
Criteriaii, iii, iv
Designated2006 (30th session)
Part ofCornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape
Reference no.1215
United KingdomList of World Heritage Sites in Western Europe
Listed Building – Grade II
Botallack Mine is located in Cornwall
Botallack Mine
Location of Botallack Mine in Cornwall
The South West Coast Path at Botallack

The Botallack Mine (Cornish: Bostalek) is a former mine in Botallack in the west of Cornwall, England, UK. Since 2006 it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape; the mine is within the Aire Point to Carrick Du Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the South West Coast Path passes along the cliff.


The village of Botallack is on the B3306 road, in a former tin and copper mining area between the town of St Just in Penwith and the village of Pendeen.[1]


It is unclear how far back mining activity goes in this location. Early records date from the 1500s; some archaeological evidence points to mining here in the Roman era or even as far back as the Bronze Age.[2]

Botallack was a submarine mine, with tunnels extending under the sea, in places for half a mile. Over its recorded lifetime, the mine produced around 14,500 tonnes of tin, 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1,500 tonnes of arsenic. An estimated 1.5 million tonnes of waste would have been dug up with the minerals.[2] In the 1860s a new diagonal shaft was dug. A visit by the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 1865 when they descended the shaft, created a mini-boom in tourism causing the mine operators to charge visitors a guinea per person.[2]

The managers, decided in January 1883, to stop the Botallack and Crowns engines because the number of men employed below ground was not sufficient to meet the costs of keeping the engines going.[3] By the following October the recently renewed setts which extended over 2 miles (3.2 km), comprising Wheal Cock, the Crowns, Carnyorth and HIgher Mine were put up for auction as a ″going concern″. It included four pumping and three winding engines, two steam stamps plus other appliances;[4] the mine closed in 1895 as a result of falling tin and copper prices.[2] The mining developments around Botallack form part of the St Just mining district's successful inclusion in the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage site which was inscribed in July 2006.[2]

The 1970s BBC television series Poldark was filmed partly in Botallack, using Manor Farm as Nampara.[5] More recently, filming for the new Poldark series also took place here.[2]


The engine houses in the Crowns section of Botallack Mine are set low down the cliffs north of Botallack. There are two engine houses and the remains of another pair on the cliff slopes above; the mine extends for about 400 metres out under the Atlantic ocean; the deepest shaft is 250 fathoms (about 500 metres) below sea level; the workings of Botallack Mine extend inland as far as the St Just to St Ives road, and at times included Wheal Cock further to the north-east.

The mine buildings on Botallack Cliffs are protected by the National Trust. There are two arsenic works opposite the Botallack Mine count house. At the top of the cliffs there are also the remains of one of the mine's arsenic-refining works.[6]

The mineral Botallackite has its type locality here.[7]


  1. ^ OS Explorer 102 Land's End (Map). Southampton: Ordnance Survey. 2015. ISBN 978 0 319 24304 6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Botallack". National Trust. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  3. ^ "The Stoppage Of Part Of Botallack". The Cornishman (236). 18 January 1883. p. 5.
  4. ^ "Sale by Auction. Botallack, Cornwall". The Cornishman (269). 6 September 1883. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Film & Television Locations in Cornwall". Cornwall Calling. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Seven Man Made Wonders". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Botallackite". Hudson Institute of Mineralogy. Retrieved 3 December 2016.

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