This year is the centenary of Geevor Tin Mine in West Cornwall. A popular heritage site

PUBLISHED: 01:16 20 April 2011 | UPDATED: 21:33 20 February 2013

This year is the centenary of Geevor Tin Mine in West Cornwall. A popular heritage site

This year is the centenary of Geevor Tin Mine in West Cornwall. A popular heritage site

This year is the centenary of Geevor Tin Mine in West Cornwall. A popular heritage site, We meets some of the people who are helping to keep history on the visitor map. Find out more...

GEEVOR TIN MINE


Geevors iconic headframe stands proud at the heart of one of Cornwalls best-known mines. Surrounded by sensitively refurbished buildings that once played their part in producing thousands of tonnes of tin, it is an emotive landmark that is as Cornish as pasties and clotted cream.
There has been mining in West Cornwall as far back as the Bronze Age and, by the 18th century, there were a number of mines working in and around the current Geevor site. In 1911, three of them Wheal Carne, North Levant and Wheal Geevor, covering an area of 208 acres between them got together to form Geevor Tin Mines Limited.


Tin prices were so good in the 1970s that up to 400 men were employed, but a price crash a decade later ultimately proved a killer blow. Despite a well-organised Viva Geevor campaign to keep the mine going, it finally closed in 1991.

Cornwall County Council bought the mine in 1992 and, with the help of many former miners, turned it into a mining heritage centre. In 2000, local people established a charity, known as Pendeen Community Heritage, to take over Geevors management. Supported by additional funding from Cornwall Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, it has now become the place to learn about the countys industrial history.
So who are the people responsible for Geevors visitor experience? I went to find out....

Mike Simpson Mine Manager


Ive been at Geevor for nine years and my job is to oversee all operations here from maintaining the structure of the mine to all aspects of health and safety. I trained as a mining engineer at Camborne School of Mines and worked worldwide.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
Its headgear, tunnels and surface buildings because theyre all authentic. As many of us are former miners, we can talk from first-hand experience about what working underground is like.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
I live in Pendeen and Id definitely say its the community spirit. The land is remote, wild and beautiful.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Porthcurno. Its lovely there and the Telegraph Museum is fascinating. The Minack Theatre is just around the corner too.

Cyril Honey Trustee and Oral History Manager


Ive worked as a volunteer here since 2002 and one of my main tasks is looking after the oral history project. Three of us are involved and Im very proud of the fact that weve now got a resource that traces the mines history from 1805 to the present day. I worked as a miner here for 16 years and I also give hand-drilling demonstrations.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
The Drill Shop. At one time there were 30 men working on site sharpening tools, and then as technology got
better there was only one.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
Its coastline. Walking along the cliffs
is a wonderful way to lose a few hours. I often go after work.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Theres a pathway from Pendeen that takes you to the lighthouse. You pass a leat which flows out over the cliffs and you can watch the ships at sea.

Bill Lakin Chair of Trustees


Im a historian with a background in education. Before becoming a trustee, I worked at Geevor as a volunteer guide. Now Im responsible for ensuring Pendeen Community Trust operates within its legal boundaries. I also give talks, and generally muck in.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
The landscape. Theres 4,000 years of history here, so when people visit they should give themselves plenty of time to make the most of it.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
I started coming on holiday to West Cornwall with my parents when I was about five or six and decided then that it was the nicest place in the world. I love it because of the varied environment and the fact that you cant go far without tripping over archaeology.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Walk the coast path between Zennor and Pendeen. There are lots of stark contrasts from flora and fauna to industrial and some of the best views anywhere.


Jo Warburton Curator


I joined Geevor in 2007. My job is to ensure the sites collections are accessible to the public, that people know about them and that they are properly looked after.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
The Sub Station because there are lots of big switches and an electricity bill from 1988 for 25,000. Just imagine what that would be in todays money! t shows what a major operation Geevor was.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
The landscape, the people and the tangible link with the past that you get here.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Cott Valley, near St Just, because its a fusion of mining heritage, fantastic biodiversity and stunning coastal views.


Ian Davey Head Guide


Ive spent more than 30 years at Geevor 17 of them as a miner doing just about every job going, and 16 of them as a guide.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
The Miners Dry. It holds a lot of good memories and only lacks fleas and mice for realism. I think its the closest visitors get to knowing what its like to be a miner.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
Its my home. All my relatives are here and I dont feel the need to travel much. Summer is busy with visitors but I love September when there are fewer people around and the weather is still nice.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Cape Cornwall for its beauty, lovely beaches and secluded coves.


Rebecca Gardner Learning Team Manager


Geevor was my first full-time job after graduating from university and includes managing the school bookings, updating the website, organising events and advising on all learning aspects on site. Like everyone else, I also muck in doing things like tours, when necessary.

Which part of Geevor do you like most?
The Winder House. In the Winder Mans office there are levers to pull, bells to press, and a scoreboard with peg holes to keep a record of the number of skips of ore being brought up. Theres also a cage you can step
into and the sound of the winding wheel working.

Whats special about West Cornwall?
Its ruggedness, its scenery and the fact that every corner has a story to tell.

Where else would you recommend visitors to go in West Cornwall?
Gwithian Beach, near Hayle is so vast at low tide. I also love Zennor Quoit, an ancient burial site, for its dramatic, windswept views.

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