Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Cornish Mining Accident
Mining accident at Dolcoath, the Queen of Cornish Mines
On the 19th September 1894, Josiah Thomas, who was the mine captain, and James Johns began an inspection at Dolcoath mine in Camborne.
On returning to the surface, both men voiced their concerns regarding a section of timbers that was supporting 600 feet of waste rock, both men agreed that it was bending. Orders were given that it be strengthened immediately.
The following day miners descended the half mile underground to level 412 to make repairs and this work continued all through the morning. At one o'clock there was a small rock fall, which suddenly gave way burying nearly all of the men under it. Eventually rescuers reached the miners, only one man was found alive but eight had been killed.
At the following inquest Josiah Thomas said that the men must have removed some of the old props before putting in the new ones, but this was contradicted by the survivor who reported that the men were doing nothing at the time to cause the fall. In 1898 one Albert Bluett went down into Dolcoath mine and saw the area of the accident he wrote
....."As I looked into the little cavity amongst rocks and timber from which the only man who escaped alive was taken, an involuntary shudder came over me at the thought of being doubled up in that hole, with darkness and death for companions, for a whole week. 'Where is he now ?' I asked, remembering how frail he was when brought to surface. 'Oh,' came the answer, 'he went to America some time after, and is now working in South Africa.'"
The images you see were taken at level 412 four years after the accident.
Dolcoath mine tin production exceeded that of any other mine in Cornwall. In 1896 the mine was yielding eighty pounds of tin per ton of rock lifted but this gradually declined and the mine was closed in 1915.