Gwennap Mining District with Devoran, Perran and Kennall Vale

gwennap pit

Described as the richest square mile on earth due to the incredible amount of rich copper ore which was being raised here in the early nineteenth century.

Consolidated and United mines were to become world famous for copper production and the former, helmed by the outstanding mining entrepreneur John Taylor, counted Boulton and Watt as two of its shareholders. Here also saw pioneering work undertaken by Arthur Woolf on the development of the high-pressure steam engine, refining many of the innovative ideas conceived by Richard Trevithick.

The Area also has Wheal Busy which is noteworthy for its technological association with Newcomen atmospheric engines and the first Cornish Watt engine installed in 1777, and Devoran nearby on the south coast which was the southern terminus of the Redruth & Chasewater Railway, commenced in 1824 by John Taylor. Gwennap Pit at Busveal is a world renowned Methodist preaching pit constructed within a depression thought to have been caused by mining subsidence. While first used for this purpose by John Wesley in the latter half of the eighteenth century, it was remodelled to its current form with tiered seating in 1806.

Kennall Vale, situated to the south of the Area near Perranwell, has the well-preserved remains of one of the biggest gunpowder manufactories in Cornwall.

 The Williams Perran Foundry and associated wharf at Perranarworthal are located at the highest navigable limit of an inlet leading to the River Fal. The foundry was one of the most extensive in Cornwall and shared construction work on the three 144-inch (3.65m) cylinder engines which went to Holland to drain the Haarlemmermeer during the 1840s, the largest beam pumping engines ever built. It retains an impressive range of buildings which covered many of the manufacturing processes associated with casting and machining in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is also considered one of the most important surviving industrial monuments of its period in southern Britain.

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of A Cocks  at Cornwall Council

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