Ding Dong Mine
As I was searching for the Nine Maidens Stone Circle i soon found myself in a bog and a mine field. Not exactly the mine field one would think when one states such a thing, but rather fields of pit mines that were no longer in use or drained. This is known locally as the Ding Dong Mining Area. The Ding Dong mine at the center of all the semi-roped off shafts and pits that looked alot like sunken depressions or sinkholes. This enormous shaft mine is a historic landmark of the area. After stumbling off the proven footpath, I realized I was wandering around animal paths and trails until they vanished in the bog and I rather found myself waist deep in prickly bog plants and no stone monuments in sight. The Ding Dong Mine in this area is a landmark often used to find Men-at-Tol and Nine Maidens Circle in Cornwall as its massive tower can be seen on the horizon. It is an old mining area in the Lands End granite mass located approximately 2 miles south of St. Just to Penzance roadway. No one for sure knows why it is called "Ding Dong", but one suggestion is reference to it as such in Cannon Jennings book on the history of Madron, Morvah, and Penzance that refers to the "head of the lode" outcrop of tin on this hill. In Madron there is a "Ding Dong" bell that was rung to mark the end of the last shift for the miners each day. In 1714, the Ding Dong Mines consisted of actually three separate mines - "the Good Fortune", "Wheal Malkin", and "Hard Shafts Bounds". By the 18th century there were at least seven mines and it is believed the name "Ding Dong" was not used until the turn of the 18th century. By 1782 there were 16 working mines in the area. Ding Dong made the headlines in 1796 for copyright infringement as a 28 inch cylinder inverted engine designed by Edward Bull was put into Ding Dong as he utilized their methodology to create his own engines and claimed as his own. The one erected at Ding Dong during this year was with a conventional Boulton and Watt engine inverted by Richard Trevithick and William West. The Ding Dong mine was in its final form by 1820 as they erected a new 'fire engine' and by 1834 had two pumping engines and two winding engines. By 1850 the mine was exhausted with mining moving around the area tapping what was left. With 206 in employ, the Ding Dong mine survived the depression in tin prices that was caused by the American Civil War although manpower decreased to a crew of 121 from the 206. The mine stopped production by 1877. It was briefly re-opened in 1911 when tin prices rose and the dumps were explored for any remains. This lasted from 1912-1915 as they found 51 tons of tin concentrate left, but when metal prices dropped again - they closed. Since that time, three other attempts were unsuccessfully made to re-open the mines.