Botallack Travel Guide

  • Botallack tin mines
    Botallack tin mines
    by Ash59
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Ash59
  • Calciner & mines
    Calciner & mines
    by Ash59

Botallack Things to Do

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    by Ash59 Written Nov 9, 2007

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    The first time we went to Botallack, we ignored the the small National Trust Count House Museum. What a mistake! We wandered around the area thinking how nice everything was but wondering what all the different types of buidling were used for. Why were the mines over there, perched on the cliff? What is this building with an large opening underneath it that looks like a bread oven and why is the chimney a good 500 meters away? Had we gone to the museum first, it would have answered a lot of answers and free brochures as well.

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    • Museum Visits
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Botallack Off The Beaten Path

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    by Ash59 Written Nov 9, 2007

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    The mines were dangerous to work in and around. Some of them were dug several hundreds of meters under the sea. The miners worked with candles stock to their helmets and used drills, pickaxes & gunpowder to access the tin. If the mine collapsed and you were lucky enough not to be in the area of the collapse, then all you had to worry about was getting out before the sea got in! It wasn't much safer above ground either. Some of them had to deal with the arsenic which was deposited as snow white powder on the walls and floor of the chambers on the way to the chimney. They had to shovel this powder into barrels and used to protect themselves by covering their bare body parts with clay and putting cotton wool up their nose. Don't know if it really protected them but it cerainly would not be allowed today, in the civilised health & safety gone mad world.

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    by Ash59 Written Nov 9, 2007

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    The mines and buildings in the area are all maintained by the St Just Heritage Area Regeneration Project. There are several trails that can be followed but it is best to get a leaflet from the museum and stick to the trails that they list, for your own safety.

    You may have seen many pictures of Cornish Tin Mines as they are quite iconic. However, I certainly didn't realise that the mines produced other products as well. One of the by products of tin was that well know poison, Arsenic. The tin was bought up from the mines that could go several hundreds of meters under the sea, crushed down and then entered into a giant oven, called a calciner. The roasting would cause arsenic and sulphur to be produced. The sulphur would be drawn off through a labyrinth of arched chambers and eventually off out of the tall chimney stack.

    Calciner & mines Arsenic chambers & chimney
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    • Architecture
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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