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British Industrial History

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Poldark Mine Museum

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Poldark Mine Museum, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 0ES.

Mine tour and exhibits relating to tin mining, including steam engines and other machinery.

"The Georgian era labyrinthine tin mine Wheal Roots (about 1715 - 1790) is today known as Poldark Tin Mine.

Lost for hundreds of years and opened to the public in 1975. Atmospheric guided underground adventure tours can be taken through part of the three miles of tunnels and caverns on several levels with a number of features none of which can be seen anywhere else in Cornwall.

Poldark Tin Mine & Open Air Museum is the location of the Wendron District interpretation centre for the Cornish Mining World Heritage site. It's a time warp of 18th century metalliferous mining, pumping over 20 million gallons of water annually, it's the only tin mine in Cornwall that offers genuine underground mine tours and has been doing so for over 40 years.

The rural open air industrial museum collection of machinery commenced in 1966 and opened to visitors in June 1971. Here there is evidence of at least 3,800 years of Tinning history being the location of a unique Bronze Age Scheduled Ancient Monument that is considered to be the veritable cradle of alluvial tinning in Cornwall.

The 13th century Tin Dressing Floors are now peaceful attractive gardens and home to two of the oldest known recorded industrial structures in the world dating from before 1493, the Trenere Scoffen (Tin Stamping) Mill and its original waterwheel pit. The waterways were created by Cistercian Monks who became owners of the land from 1284, the mile and a half long aqueduct known as Trenere or Poldark Mine Leat has been in constant use for well over 500 years and was part of the World's first recorded mechanised tin processing & dressing plant.

During 2016 the Museum of Tin mining, social and industrial history was extended to cover a wider range interests from our industrial past. The scope of the collection includes Methodism, dairy items, historic telephone apparatus and other paraphernalia.

A 95 year old steam saddle tank locomotive from Falmouth Docks was the last industrial steam locomotives to work in Cornwall and is the most southerly statically preserved standard gauge steam engine in the United Kingdom. The very last Cornish beam engine to work commercially in Cornwall dating from 1846 when it served at the Bunny Tin Mine, steam was turned off at its final location at Greensplat China Clay Mine (Pit) in December 1959 and it was moved here in 1973.

The museum was founded by the late Peter Young in 1966 and contains many rare and unique items relating to tin mining from a teapot to the great bronze mine bell from Ting Tang Mine dated 1844. Early items include mining hand drills, 18th Century artefacts and mediaeval mortar stones. The BBC used Poldark as a location for many TV productions including "Penmarric" here in 1979. Author of the Poldark books the late Winston Graham loved this place and launched his last book Bella at Poldark, the 18th Century mine having been renamed "Poldark Mine" with his blessing in 1976.

The BBC TV Poldark series used tools and bells from the museum and filmed underground sequences here in the 1970's and for the new 2015 series."

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