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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adventure in Geevor TIN MINE

Underground Cornish Mine Tour

The fact that we are both working in a diamond mine here in Angola, Africa it did catch my attention to visit this famous Tin Mine, though it was had been a long time wish of my husband. If is located in the far west of Cornwall, on the Atlantic coast
(one of tourist attractions in Cornwall). This is a fabulous exhibit of Cornish mining history and known to be the largest preserved mining site in the UK.

We went for an hour guided-underground tour which detailed us the fascinating process of extraction through 18th and 19th centuries. The miners were left showing the visitors around the empty shell of a place that had so recently been such a hive of activity. The grief was palpable. It seemed no more appropriate take photographs there, than it would be at a funeral. Since then, the mine has been developed as a tourist attraction bringing jobs, of sorts, to this depressed part of the world. With the passing of a generation, Geevor will no doubt take its place as just another ride in Theme Park Britain. In the meantime I feel privileged to have known it in its prime, and to have been touched by its passing.
Indeed our guide was a former miner with first hand experience of working underground. Did you know that in the early 19th century boys as young as 8 worked underground. Everyone, including the women and girls on the surface would work six days a week, 10 hours a day. Miners had to buy their own tools, candles, and explosive (note dynamite was not invented until 1867). Miners and their families lived in small cottages often rented from the mining company,

Climbing hundreds of feet up and down ladders to reach the work face. Often having to walk several miles to and from work, in clothes wet with sweat from hours of underground toil. Diseases such as bronchitis, consumption and rheumatism were rife. Air was 'bad'-polluted by dust and fumes from detonated explosives. A miner was often no longer fit enough to work underground beyond the age of 40. A far cry from the romantic view portrayed in so many tourist brochures.

The adits we explored were in places only 5 foot high, and barely wide enough for two people to pass. In several places the reddish colored vein of tin ore could clearly be seen illuminated by our guide's miners lamp. After the underground tour, put your hard hat to one side and enjoy a refreshing cup of tea in the cafe (open from Easter to the end of October). "Good home made food and one of the best views in Cornwall."


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Lovely Time at St. Ives, Cornwall
Visited Beautiful Cornwall

Visited England for the Very First Time
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