Wheal Coates, St Agnes

4.8
#1 of 13 in Things to do in St Agnes
Wheal Coates is a former tin mine situated on the north coast of Cornwall, England, UK, on the cliff tops between Porthtowan and St Agnes. It is preserved and maintained by the National Trust.
Earliest records indicate a mine at the site since 1692. The present mine opened in 1802 and was closed in 1889 when the price of tin fell. It came into full production in 1815. Flooding and bringing ore to the surface were the main problems of the mine until steam-driven equipment was available, as the mine's underground operations extended for some distance under the sea. The mine was sold in 1844 and thereafter allowed to flood. A new owner reopened the mine in 1872 but work was sporadic until its 1889 closure. For some years, the yield was 20lb of tin per ton of ore. In 1906, new ownership hoped to work the mine for both tin and copper. Wheal Coates had produced a small amount of copper ore, more than a century earlier.
At the height of its production, 140 people were employed at the site to mine a seam of tin just below sea level but this and a subsequent period of operation from 1911-1913 were not very successful because tin production was sporadic. The mine was closed for good in 1914,
The surviving buildings date from the 1870s when deep underground mining began at the site and were stabilised and preserved in 1986. There are three engine houses that formerly housed Cornish engines. Towanroath Pumping Engine House (1872) was used to pump water from the adjacent 600 ft Towanroath shaft. There are two Whim engine houses which were used to crush ore for processing. "Old Whim" was built in the mid 19th century, while "New Whim" was built in the late 19th centuery. A calciner dating from 1910–1913 when the mine was reopened, roasted the tin to remove impurities such as arsenic.
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  • lovely piece of Cornish history. a good pit stop on a day out. St Agnes beach and facilities are fairly close by  more »
  • Easier to walk than first thought. On a dry day the walk is lovely. Only spent about 10 minutes at Wheel Coates but if you love history then you will appreciate it.  more »
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