wheal-prosper-(5)

It occurred to me that many people reading this blog may not know a lot about these iconic buildings dotted around the Cornish landscape and particularly along the coast. The story of the miners of Cornwall can be found on my original Travel Words blog where there are also several other Cornish posts. Today I will simply explain the meaning of the word ‘Wheal‘.

Originally a Cornish term for a place of work it later became ‘mine’ or ‘shaft’.

Wheal Prosper, built in 1860 lies at Rinsey Head, between Penzance and Helston on the southern coast of West Cornwall. The land you can see in the background is the Lizard. England’s southernmost point.

Easy to access from a small National Trust car park, this engine houseΒ is on the coastal path from Praa Sands to the west and Porthleven to the east. There is a small sandy beach below accessed down a rather steep track which I may take you to at some time.

wheal-prosper-(1)

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35 thoughts on “Wheal Prosper Mine

    1. I think this coast is pretty much untouched compared to the north coast, though there is a caravan park at Praa Sands (where I stayed with my kids in 1991).

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  1. I’m actually still a bit confused. THIS was the entire mine … just the shaft? How curious that these are dotted all over Cornwall. Obviously there’s something I’m not quite getting.

    … but the photos are beautiful. I guess I didn’t really get an appreciation for the extent of the landscape until I saw how comparatively tiny the Wheal was.

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    1. Tin and copper mining went on all over Cornwall and into Devon during the 18th and 19th century so there are mines all over the counties. The shafts are underground and even shafts going under the sea. The buildings that remain tend to be the engine house which housed the machinery. I wrote more about it https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/the-levant-mine/
      and https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/cornish-engine-houses/
      Most of the other mine buildings have fallen into ruin so you just see bits of walls etc.

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      1. Yes, mining was a dreadful occupation – still is where it still exists I imagine. I can’t think of anything worse than having to disappear underground for 12 hours at a time 😦

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    1. You can see inside and even walk inside some of them – there is usually a railing to stop you falling and the shaft itself is sealed.Nothing interesting inside except sometimes catching the light and shadow.

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