Just had a great day out at Geevor Tin Mine - out on the coast road at Pendeen - twenty minutes drive from St Ives.
This was a working mine until February 1990 - when falls in the price of tin finally forced its closure. One of the last operating tin mines in Cornwall.
There is a huge amount to see there and it gave me a real insight into our mining history and heritage.
The highlight for me was The Dry - where miners gathered each morning to change before going underground and returned each evening to clean up. The heart of the mine it was a place full of laughter and joking. Its been left as it would have been before the end of the last shift - clothes still in lockers, newspapers, shift rotas on the noticeboards. Quite eerie in a way - a whole way of life going back hundreds of years suddenly stopped forever on a February day in 1990.
We also went underground to explore Wheal Mexico - an eighteenth century mine at the lower end of the site. Only a small part is open - they don't know how far and deep it extends - work will start soon to explore further.
Unfortunately the main shaft - Victory Shaft opened in 1919 - is not accessible yet. You can stand at the top and peer down - level after level connected by ladders. There is a huge complex of tunnels down there - nineteen levels going down 2000 feet and extending half a mile under the sea. They are hoping to open part of this when they can raise the money. The parts below sea level are now flooded and probably lost forever.
There is also a museum, cafe and many mine buildings that you can look around, including the huge Mill where tin ore was processed.
Entry costs £8.50 - if you fill in a gift aid form you get a pass for entry for a year and they can reclaim 28% from Gordon's greedy clutches.
Like many enterprises in Cornwall - run largely by an enthusiastic bunch of local volunteers - they need the money so do visit!
Lots more info. is on their website and blog:
Geevor Tin Mine