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Old 10th Jul 2019, 8:36 pm   #21
ms660
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

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What a fascinating account and what a wonderful memory you have Lawrence for detail, that you for sharing your memories.
Cheers
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Thanks, the memories come and go not doing too bad at the moment with this lot, it's assembling everything into an understandable post that's the hard bit for me as some of those reading them might not be familiar with mining terms and techniques that were used down this part of the world.

Lawrence.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 10:57 am   #22
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Fascinating reading Lawrence, My great-great grandfather worked Tolcarne, Beacon (Circa 1845-ish?) and lived well into his 70's, to then become an agricultural assistant ... made of tough stuff.

I've been to Poldark (as a child) and recently took my own family there, plus Kind Edward mine and Levant.

These areas, especially the latter two are very peaceful places to be now, but can only imagine the loud thumping/shaking ground. Just looking at the pictures around these places from their heyday, blimey!

As other have said, the greatest of respect for those who worked the mines.

Mark
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 11:53 am   #23
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

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Fascinating reading Lawrence, My great-great grandfather worked Tolcarne, Beacon (Circa 1845-ish?) and lived well into his 70's, to then become an agricultural assistant ... made of tough stuff.

I've been to Poldark (as a child) and recently took my own family there, plus Kind Edward mine and Levant.

These areas, especially the latter two are very peaceful places to be now, but can only imagine the loud thumping/shaking ground. Just looking at the pictures around these places from their heyday, blimey!

As other have said, the greatest of respect for those who worked the mines.

Mark
I never went to Poldark although I passed close by twice every day when I was a R&TV engineer working in Helston.

King Edward mine, Tony Brooks a well known figure in Cornish mining circles had/has a lot to do with the mine and the visitor attractions there, he was with me on a couple of underground exploration trips up around clay country in mid Cornwall, not seen him for years.

Levant Mine, used to do some work there when I worked at Geevor Tin Mine as the mines were connected, stunning views, I remember repairing the roof of the winder house there after the Burns Day Storm in 1990, myself and couple of other blokes were up the headframe over Victory shaft at Geevor during the height of that storm trying to lash down the back roof to prevent any of it ending up down the shaft, that was a stressful experience.

I was Geevor's roofing man back then, part of the job description of Mine Sawyer (the main job) the other part was Mine Carpenter.....

Lawrence.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 1:32 pm   #24
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

I went to Poldark in 1992 while on a family holiday.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 1:50 pm   #25
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Part 8. (not many parts left now)

I served my time with Joe up in that shrinkage stope until his mate was fit enough to return to work, I was then assigned to a raise on a branch of No: 3 lode to stand in for a machine man's mate who was off work for a few weeks, we were advancing the raise with 4ft or 6ft rounds on a good day using a Holmans 303 on a jack leg, when I joined, the raise was already up a fair way, it was steep and a fair ways down from the top, the only way up and down was by raise chain, we only had one machine rigged up, to tight for two, it was my first time working up a raise, the working platform was just a couple of boards at most slung across a couple of iron pegs, apart from the sweat it's a very wet job as the water from drilling upwards soaks you, there is no escape, you are wet all shift long, in the cooler parts of the mine you could wear oilers but in the warmer parts you just sweated to much with them on, the cut was normally drilled as a 5 hole cut, the centre hole was enlarged with a reamer, the reamed out hole wasn't charged, it was the breaking space for the first charge which was the 4 corner holes of the 5 hole configuration, these were fired with a No: 0 detonator, then it was diamond square, diamond square etc as previously described.

Not much room on the perch, it was very tight, it was a long way down if you fell and could result in a serious injury or worse, harnesses were worn at all times when up there, well at least mine was, some didn't bother, the machine was roaring away right next to your head, very deafening and much vibration and the usual funk, all the granite chippings and water from the drilling were raining down and getting everywhere, especially in the eyes, some times we would drill a hole with eyes shut, we ended up looking like grey zombies! Every so often we would stop for a roll up, the cap lamp was a great asset for that, tobacco and papers could be dried out on the lamp glass if it was too damp or got wet, same with matches etc, nobody normally bothered us up the raise because of the climb up the chain, the shift boss would shut the air off down on the level down below and bang on the pipes, he would shout up for a response, we would shout back down that everything's ok and that was that.

I kinda liked it up in the raise, all self contained on a lofty perch and no worries, the down side of raising was the wet and the fact that everything had to be hauled up and down the raise every shift, the raises I encountered back then at South Crofty were not large in cross sectional area and required less holes to be drilled than a standard tunnel round, once all the holes were drilled for the round the next job was to drill two short holes in the footwall at a suitable height for the staging pegs in readiness for the next lift after blasting, we didn't use the jack leg for that because of the angle, all hand pushing the drill to get the drill steel to advance, it didn't take long, one was also put in for an eye peg for the raise chain for its new position, the raise chain was left in place for obvious reasons and took the full force of the blast, once done, all the gear had to be lowered down to the level except a charging stick and the staging, next was the dynamite, so a trek back to the magazine back at the shaft station, you tried to get a cardboard box that the dynamite came in to put the sticks in so it was easy to carry back, at the raise it was time to climb up the chain, single handed with the box of dynamite slung under the other arm, it was a pig of a job, often due to the heat and the wet the bottom flaps of the box would come unglued and all the dynamite would fall back down the raise, so back down you go, I got fed up with this so I made up a canvas ruck sack for the job, two hands on the chain all the time, much easier.

When blasting a raise all the muck blows straight down and on to the level below, the night shift would muck it all out ready for the next drilling shift, going up a raise after blasting can be dangerous as there is no through draft whatsoever until the raise breaks through to the level above, carbon monoxide, lack of oxygen, dynamite fumes, dust, not good. Washing down the dust and getting some air up there was again the job of the machine man's mate, sometimes the night shift muckers would turn on the air hose at the bottom of the raise and leave it blow last thing before they left but more often than not they didn't, I would start off by climbing part way up with the air and water hoses, the hoses were fitted with lever valves, climbing up with them the air was throttled back so the hose was easy to handle, so far up the raise they would both be tied to the raise chain and the air line opened full bore, then it was back down for a cup o' tea while the air cleared up the raise, after that it was climbing up again with the hoses and haul up a pinch bar and stuff for the staging and get that rigged up, then hose down the rest of the dust and bar down any loose slabs, had to be careful barring down loose stuff up a raise....nowhere to run! Next was to haul up the drilling machine with jack leg, drilling steels etc and start drilling.

To be continued.

Lawrence.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 2:03 pm   #26
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

To see what a lofty perch up a raise looked like down South Crofty mine scroll down to photo's 4.22 and 423 in the link below:

http://www.cornishmineimages.co.uk/s...underground-4/

Lawrence.
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Old 12th Jul 2019, 3:29 pm   #27
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Part 9.....Nearly there!

Ok that's a brief explanation/description of shrinkage stoping and putting up a raise plus some general duties working on the level, next was tunnelling (also known as driving or developement) I worked as a machine man's mate on several driving jobs, one in particular was where we were drilling and blasting and also mucking out in one shift, good money could be made but you had to go some, forget your early shift tea break and be very fit! This job involved drilling and blasting and advancing a drive that had already been started some time before, no night shift to do the mucking out, the mucking was done by ourselves the morning of the day following the blast, in other words the muck had to be mucked out before you could start drilling on the same day, everything including charging and blasting had to be done in one shift to make good money, it could be done but we had to be organised and fit.

First was a place to dump the muck, we were lucky, just a short distance back to a switch in the rail track (the switch was known as a Sword and Vee) then a quick rumble further down the adjoining drive to a raise opening from a sub level stope which was ok for dumping the muck into, we had a loco, some 1 ton ore wagons and an Eimco 12b mucker (rocker shovel) aka an over the shoulder boulder thrower which ran on the rail track, the permanent track was laid short of the face of the drive to enable the track to be advanced in standard rail lengths (and to avoid track damage when blasting) A modified temporary length of track (the slider) consisting of two rails on their sides joined together with steel spacers, the slider was a close fit inside the permanent track and could be pushed forward into the muck pile by the mucker bucket, the mucker could then ride on the slider to enable the pile to be mucked out, once the slider had become fully extended it was removed and a temporary normal track section with steel spacers was lifted in, laid, butted up to and temporarily joined to the end of the permanent track using some fishplates and a few bolts, the slider was then dropped in again and was advanced as before enabling the rest of the muck pile to be mucked out, as soon as that was done the mucker was moved back out of the way and the track gang (a track man and a mate or two) advanced the permanent track properly using standard rails and timber sleepers, the rails were dogged to the sleepers, while this was being done we would drill the round off ready for charging and blasting, the drive was approx 6ft x 6ft although it could have been a bit narrower.

The first day was easy, a clean end so no mucking out, two machines drilling, we finished early and had a good break and a laugh before blasting, the machine man was an ex 'spar miner from Derbyshire, he was 28, I was younger than him, the next day I really learned what work was all about, all the muck from the blast had to be mucked out in order to get to the face of the drive for drilling the days round, he was on the mucker going full bore, while I was managing the air hose, rolling awkward lumps of rock into the mucker bucket etc, as soon as he had filled a wagon up with muck I would uncouple the wagon from the mucker, he would run the mucker back to give the wagon a shove to give it some momentum then it was down to me to get it further back past the Sword and Vee switch in the track then move the Sword over, back the loco up to the wagon, couple up and drive down past the switch, move the Sword back again, push another empty wagon up to the mucker, run back to the loco, drive down PDQ to the stope dump, dump the muck, reverse back up past the switch, uncouple the empty wagon, drive the loco forward past the switch, move the Sword back over again and all in time to push another full wagon out and repeat the process again and again and again virtually non stop until all the muck from the blast had gone, full wagons were tipped by hand, once you got the hang of the leverage, body position, stance and muscle power required the wagon butt would soon go over and empty its load, this lot had to be shifted by Croust time at the latest. When dumping stuff from the wagons you had to be careful if the stuff was very wet because the extra weight when the wagon butt went over could pull the wagon frame right off the track and could result in the whole wagon going down into the stope below in its two constituent parts.

After a short Croust it was back in, rig up two 303 machines and get drilling, he would drill the cut while I was drilling the outers and any other holes I could get to drill, when the cut was done he would join in drilling the rest of the other holes, the easer's etc, the back holes and lifters, it was a tight schedule, meanwhile the track gang would come in and lay the sleepers and track for the next advance while we were drilling, once done it was on the loco and back to the magazine PDQ for the dynamite, the number of sticks needed varied depending on the length of the holes we had managed to drill and how many spacers that were to be used, typically around 200 sticks which was a full box, sometimes more was used, the really fresh stuff was the best regarding dynamite headaches avoidance went because it was still cool from the same day delivery to the mine and non of the explosive was leaking through the paper, but tamping it in the holes needed more effort, old stuff used to weep through the paper, guaranteed dynamite headache for sure but required less effort tamping it in.

Spacers were cut from timber, the same length as a stick of dynamite and about the same dimension as a typical kindling stick, spacers were used principally in the cut holes to stop the cut from "freezing up" when fired, without them the detonation could be so powerful that the exploded bits of rock in the cut in effect turn back to solid rock again due to the heat and pressure, also sometimes used in the other holes depending on the ground as it saved on sticks of dynamite (which we had to pay for). The magazine had a letter box slot in the steel door so any unused dynamite could be returned at the end of the shift (by that time the magazine was locked up and the key holder, the shift boss, had gone up to surface)

For obvious reasons we were always late charging up, often we were still charging up when the rest of the mine was blasting, the smoke used to come up from the other levels, a bit of a rush for us because that smoke/dynamite fumes stuff is bad, still, we always made it and even managed first cage up on some occasions, once the drive was completed we were put on putting up box holes for a stope development, the job was ok but not as well paid as driving, only driven up to around 25ft or so high, we rigged up full staging for that job, not long after that the machine man I was working with left to go to Mount Wellington Tin Mine which was being re-opened which wasn't that far away over at Twelveheads, I was put on another job, another crew was sent in to develop the stope, I did return there on occasion to stand in when the machine man's mate was off work for the odd day or so, the stope ran into a bad patch of pot granite that constantly needed shoring up, at the other extreme not far away was an elvan dyke.

When stoping, raising, driving etc pay was by so much a fathom, up in the stopes it was cubic fathoms broken out since the last measurement, for the rest it was fathoms in distance advanced since the last measurement we had to pay for the dynamite etc, we also had to pay for our boots which we got from the company store.

To be continued.

Lawrence.

Last edited by ms660; 12th Jul 2019 at 3:42 pm. Reason: addition
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Old 12th Jul 2019, 4:55 pm   #28
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

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Part 9.....Nearly there!

the extra weight when the wagon butt went over could pull the wagon frame right off the track and could result in the whole wagon going down into the stope below in its two constituent parts.

Lawrence.
Is that the voice of bitter experience?

Peter
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Old 12th Jul 2019, 7:30 pm   #29
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Part 9.....Nearly there!

the extra weight when the wagon butt went over could pull the wagon frame right off the track and could result in the whole wagon going down into the stope below in its two constituent parts.

Lawrence.
Is that the voice of bitter experience?

Peter
Yes, on more than one occasion I must admit! Back at the grizzly at the main ore pass back near the main shaft there was a hook and chain attached to the wall of the main crosscut opposite the grizzly, it was hooked on to the top of the wagon butt on the opposite side to where the muck was due to come out and spill on to the grizzly in order to limit the butts arc of swing as the butt was pushed over otherwise the butt could end up on the grizzly if the load was to wet or too top heavy due to a couple of large rocks on top of the pile, in some circumstances the wagon frame could follow, the grizzly was the only place that had one fitted on the level I mainly worked on, any other dumping places such as raises or stope dumps didn't have that arrangement.

Lawrence.
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Old 12th Jul 2019, 8:11 pm   #30
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Some typical shots of life on the grizzly down South Crofty, the material for 60/40 is hard going, these photo's were taken a long time after I left, scroll down to Photo's 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6, breaking up rocks on the grizzly was hard work (I know from experience) Granite doesn't split as easy as some other rocks can, the trick was to find the rocks weaknesses if it had any, the sledge hammer was a 10-15lbs job, there would have been a recoiling safety harness, fixed either in the roof or in the solid rock wall, it was a long ways down below the grizzly bars:

http://www.cornishmineimages.co.uk/s...underground-4/

Lawrence.
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Old 13th Jul 2019, 2:24 pm   #31
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Part 10. (nearly done now)

Another job I was on was back with Joe, my first mentor, it was to be in a underhand stope further up No: 3, there were two underhand stopes being worked there by two seperate crews and a shrinkage stope up above being worked, we all shared the same Croust place so organizing safe blasting ie: when we were all ready was no problem, Joe had been working in the underhand stope for a while but his mate was on holiday so I was to be his mate until he returned. Working in a underhand stope is a bit of a nerve stretcher, access was down a ladder then down by a single stope chain to the benches down below, it's an awesome place, especially working on the lower benches, the foot and hanging walls towering above long out of reach, the stope's like a giant slot and somewhere down there on one of the benches are the machine man and his mate harnessed to the stope chain drilling away.

The stope was narrow about 4 ft or so wide at most, the benches were drilled 4ft or so deep, the holes being drilled downwards, the jack leg is dispensed with so in order to give the drill some driving force you have to have some weight on the machine, usually by standing on its handle, we had safety harnesses tied to the stope chain for obvious reasons, standing on the drill was the mates job (me in this instance) there's only room on the handle of the machine for one foot so it was a case of a balancing act using your arms and other foot against the hanging and footwall to maintain balance, it was a bone jarring teeth rattling job for hours on end excepting Croust or a fag break, as always, the killer was the heat and the funk. The benches ran down the stope like a giant staircase, we were always on the look out for stuff coming down particularly from higher up from the long out of reach sections of the hanging wall, back and foot wall. Just like it was up a raise there's nowhere to run and very little room to move but in a underhand stope any loose could come down from a much greater height than it would when working up a raise, barring down after blasting was particularly a stretch on the nerves because of the lack of room to evade any falling chunks of rock, we were always feared of stuff coming down when drilling, I stuck it out for the stretch but in all honesty I wasn't sad to get out of there, it's the kind of place that makes you feel very open and vulnerable, the underhand stope has an immediate sense of danger about it.

After that I was put on driving sub level inters with an Italian miner, boy that was hard graft, the sub level inters had no rail track and were narrow, just wide enough to get a wheel barrow through, they were driven about 25 ft or thereabouts below the main level above and were driven either side of the raise, all the rock from the blast had to be shovelled by hand into a wheel barrow and pushed back to the raise and tipped down to the level below, it was all hand mucking and the inters were driven very tight and not too high, the Italian was a short bloke so it was ok for him, I was 6ft 2” tall and suffered, as usual sweat poured out in abundance, the ends of inters by their very nature were badly ventilated and hot, even with the air hose gently turned on, there were two sub level inter ends being worked, one each side of the raise, the first round or so in from the raise blows right out and down the raise due to the force of the blast, from then on it's hand mucking, tons of rock per shift, the further you advance the worse it gets! I used to dread the geologist and the samplers coming down “yes a bit further please” great (not) In any sane mine they would have had a slusher rigged up, anyways the machine man and me would muck out one end together, taking it in turns on the wheel barrow, as soon as that was mucked out the machine, drill steels etc were dragged in and he would start drilling, I was watching and pretending to look useful, he shut the machine down uttered a few words in Italian English and made a few gestures which looked quite specific, the upshot was I supposed to go across the raise to the inter driven on the other side of the raise and muck that out, he was running two ends per shift. The saving grace was as soon as he had finished drilling one side he would come over to the other side to help muck that one out then we would drag the machine etc over across the raise and start drilling that end, me giving him a break on the machine as and when, on a good day it was two ends per shift, on a not so good day it was one end per shift, of all the places I had worked in that was the hardest so far as shear grunt, back ache and sweat goes, after that job I worked in various stopes, drives, raises etc on an as and when needed basis as well as doing timber work, pipe work, track repairs, working on the grizzly, dynamite duty which was unloading fresh supplies of dynamite sent down in the cage and transferring it to the magazine, also did some tramming from the stope chutes when the trammer was off work or had to go to another level or over Cooks side (New Cooks Kitchen section) for a day or two.

This series of recollections by no means covers all my time down there, the next part will describe the breaking into the old the old East Pool tin mine workings from the 310 fathom level and that basically will be it.

To be continued.
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Old 13th Jul 2019, 6:26 pm   #32
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Great images and glorious b/white,cannot beat it.
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Old 13th Jul 2019, 7:50 pm   #33
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Great images and glorious b/white,cannot beat it.
Thanks, and thanks again to Simon Jones who took them, a remarkable and unique collection of photo's that should be preserved in the National Archives and Simon should be given a medal for his outstanding work and contribution to recording a unique time in Cornwall's Tin Mining history for which I congratulated him some years ago now:

http://www.cornishmineimages.co.uk/s...nsons-shaft-3/

What brought a tear to my eye were some photo's of the miners dry at Robinsons shaft South Crofty in the link above, that dry was where I started and finished my shifts, photo 3.1 shows the way out, the corridor was entered from the miners dry, back then when I was there the opening on the right led to the lamp room where we would pick up our cap lamps at the start of the shift and return them at the end, the first two windows on the left were working offices concerned with the daily shifts down below, here would be the Mine Captain for Robinsons side (Leslie Mathews) and the shift bosses offices including those that were shift bosses on the 310 fathom level when I was working on that level down there (Vernon Salmon and Jack Jarvis) there were more offices to the side and behind Simon when he took the photo's, tramming tonnages etc were written up in chalk on blackboards on a daily shift basis.

The far window on the left was the detonator room, all the dets were handed out through that window, the doors at the end back then led directly to outside and to Robinsons shaft, if it was p*ss**g down and howling a gale then it was p*ss**g down and howling a gale.

Photo 3.8 is a shot of some of the lockers in the miners dry, my locker was either the 7th or 8th one down in that photo, I can tell by the position of the wall pier and the windows, some where I still have a spare locker key, the miners dry and many other buildings all bulldozed and gone now without a trace, sad but that's the way it goes.

Somewhere I have a photo taken just outside those doors and around to the left showing some dynamite wagons, a young skinny miner and his girlfriend.

Lawrence.
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Old 14th Jul 2019, 2:30 pm   #34
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Part 11. This is the last part from the set of notes I've been working from.

This is about the time the old workings in the old East Pool tin mine were holed into with a view to extending the workings on the 310 fathom level.

I was pulled off a machining job to join the crew on the East Pool break through, I guess it was because by now the shift boss must have thought I had graduated to a half decent all rounder, the drive for the break through had not long started, it was quite aways in up the old No: 1 drive east on the 310 fathom level and through a detour to another drive, to get there we had to go through a dam door this had been in place for sometime, it's method of construction was that the drive had been widened all round for length that suited the needs of the structure, a former for the passage through it and the entrance and exit portals etc had been made and positioned, including holes for ventilation bags, service pipes, blasting lines etc, the whole thing had been shuttered up and constructed with a mixture of blocks and concrete, there was water flowing through it at all times, the track was laid through and was always under water.

There was a two man drilling crew driving who I had worked with before plus a couple of gofers (new OC recruits) The ground was not too good in places and I was cutting and putting in timber setts and lagging boards to shore up the bad ground and also helping to put in track sleepers, tracks, air and water pipes etc for the advance, the surveyors had been in and marked the course as it were, they would come on a frequent basis to make sure all was well and going in the right direction etc, drilling and blasting was under way and good progress was being made, at each blast we were supposed to close and secure both dam doors and fire the round from the “dry side” easier said than done, we couldn't close the doors without taking the track up, the track through the portal was all welded up on steel sleepers, the fish plates were always under the water which was highly corrosive, it was a pain to do so no one ever bothered, after the tunnel was advanced so far instructions were given to drill several pilot holes before drilling the blast round off , this was an indication that we were getting close, from memory the pilot holes were something like 18 ft long which would give an adequate rock barrier between us and any flooded workings, the old mine had been drained to our level, prior to this job one of my jobs as an OC man was to go to the drain valves that were connected through to the old workings nearby via bore holes, one of which had a connector where a pressure gauge could be connected, I used to record the readings and the mine engineer could work out what head of water was still to drain.

A couple of days later there was a shout from the drilling crew, one of the pilot drills had broken through and no water was coming out, a few more rounds and that would be it....the day came for what was to be the last round....all charged up and connected ready for blasting, we all made our way back to the firing point on the far side of the dam, we were instructed that the section of track must come up so that both dam doors could be shut and secured and no arguments, it was a pig of a job, the water was murky, shifters slipping off and disappearing into the mud etc, anyways after a lot of fiddling, grunting and swearing the fishplates were all undone and the track was removed then both dam doors were shut and secured, along with the ventilation bag openings, time to blast now, the machine man wound up the exploder shouted "fire" a couple of times and let it rip, the reports through the rock from the blast indicated that all holes had detonated ok, we were now all intrigued, would any extra water from the old workings come under the small gap under the bulkhead doors, we hung around, no extra water to speak of so all was good.

The next day we all made our way in to see what was what, the drive had holed through into what appeared to be the back of an old drive or stope in the old East Pool workings, we were the first to see that for many years, the water level was about an inch above the lowest point of the floor of the breakthrough drive, the surveyors had done a good job, we hung around and the mine manager turned up for a gander (Mr Ebsworth at that time) he wanted to swim up the back of the old workings and do a bit of exploring, he wanted a couple of volunteers to go in with him, another lad and myself volunteered as we were quite keen! Ropes were sourced, secured and tied round our wastes ready to go, at that point the mine captain turned up (Les Matthews) and played holy hell with the mine manager for wanting us to swim in there with him, Mr Ebsworth was to go in alone, he was gone for about half an hour or so, swimming around in the murky depths, he came back and said it was all very interesting, quite an event, I worked in that section of the mine for a couple of more weeks then I was sent off to stand in for one of the trammers, which involved pulling dirt from stope chutes and dumping it back at the grizzly on the main ore pass.

The main ore pass ran down through the levels all the way down to the 380 fathom level where the primary crusher was, the ore pass was connected by a short raise to the grizzly, the grizzly consisted of an open grid of GWR rails arranged in a grid pattern and all bolted up, the grizzly was directly above the hole, from 310 fathom level down to 380 was over 400 ft, quite a ways down, the idea of the grizzly was to stop any oversized rocks from going through, the grid squares were such that the size of any rocks passing through wouldn't be to big for the crusher, the grizzly was set about 3 ft down from the level on 310, any oversized rocks had to be broken up with a sledge hammer, any that couldn't be busted were "popped" with a small slab of explosive which shook the grizzly bars up somewhat, for safety a safety harness was provide which was meant to have been worn when working on the grizzly, the regular trammer never wore it but I always did even though it tended to get in the way when swinging the sledge hammer, standing on an old grid of rails that had a 400ft drop below and had been the subject of countless dynamite pops sort of sharpened my senses regarding H&S.

Busting rocks on the grizzly was tough work, makes you feel like a bit like Jailbird! Breaking them was a bit of an art, we used to get some tough ones, tipping the wagon butts at the grizzly was done by shear muscle power, tramming in general was ok and quite well paid, you were paid per wagon load, there were two types of locos that were basically the same type so far as pulling power went, the hand brake control on the older ones was a wheel you turned to apply the brakes, the braking on them was next to useless you had to be careful if pulling more than a couple tons, the only thing to stop the loco and all the waggons from disappearing down the main shaft down to 380 was an old anchor chain slung across the end of the track..no buffers. The later version had a decent ratchet brake handle that you could get some leverage on, they were spot on, many times the loco or some of the wagons would derail, usually at a spot when no one was around to help, the trick to getting them back on the rails was to find a couple of suitably shaped rocks and use them to ride the wheels up just a bit higher than the level of the top of the rails, a quick lever over with an old drilling steel would then usually do the trick.

Some aspects of life down a tin mine have now been covered, it was a tough job for sure, all so we could solder, eat beans out of a can, look through glass windows and other things...what a job, lots of tales and events but too many to write about here.

Still, no regrets, I was there for a lot less than others, some spent a life time down there, my hat goes off to them all, I was soon to end up in colder climes down a gold mine far away.

Many thanks to all for allowing this thread and reading it.

EDIT: If I can find it I will post a link to an interesting video.

Lawrence.

Last edited by ms660; 14th Jul 2019 at 2:41 pm.
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Old 14th Jul 2019, 4:56 pm   #35
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

A couple if interesting links below, so far as I know the only footage on the internet giving an idea of what was entailed in raise mining in Cornwall, the first shows preparation and drilling, the second shows charging up and blasting, the miner in the footage is Mark Kaczmarek, a well known figure in local mining circles, the footage was taken in the Holmans Test Mine which wasn't far from South Crofty Tin Mine.

Mark worked at South Crofty but I don't remember him when I worked there as I think he's a few years younger than me, however I did meet him on one occasion, where? down a mine of course, it was the Rosevale Mine near Zennor on the North Cornwall coast when I was taking a couple of friends to show them what a stope and mine workings etc were like. Rosevale is a set of mine workings preserved for visitors/tourists etc, he was there on that day as a guide.

His farther Henry Kaczmarek worked at South Crofty when I worked down there, Henry was a legend for sure (Google) I was his mate for a few shifts when his regular mate was off work once, we were down in a stope on the 335 fathom level and a fair ways in (bl**dy hot!)

Drilling etc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=405qtjail54

Charging up/blasting etc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3NLi3-QXZE

Lawrence.
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Old 14th Jul 2019, 8:43 pm   #36
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Wonderful thread Lawrence, I have really enjoyed reading it and viewing Simon's excellent photographs. Thank you.

John
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Old 15th Jul 2019, 12:21 am   #37
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

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Wonderful thread Lawrence, I have really enjoyed reading it and viewing Simon's excellent photographs. Thank you.

John
+1 + a few non-forum members I have linked it to.

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Old 15th Jul 2019, 8:36 am   #38
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Lawrence, In the second video we see the yellow wires bound together with the electric detonator. How do the yellow wires transmit the detonation to the dynamite? Electrically?? Burning fuse?? How

Peter
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Old 15th Jul 2019, 11:39 am   #39
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Lawrence, In the second video we see the yellow wires bound together with the electric detonator. How do the yellow wires transmit the detonation to the dynamite? Electrically?? Burning fuse?? How

Peter
The dets in the primer were shock tube dets (the yellow "wire" is a tube) The det that was taped to the ends of the shock tubes was an electric det, it was a 0 (zero) det, thus when the exploder was pushed all the other dets fired due to the transmitted shock, listening to the bang they appear to detonate all at the same time but they don't, each series of dets has a small delay (milliseconds)

The det delays ensure that the holes are fired in the correct sequence from the initial cut hole(s) If not the round won't break out.

I don't know if they were using that type of det down South Crofty when I worked there back in the early '70's but if they did they were never used on the 310 fathom level when I worked there.

I used them later on in another mine I worked down.

Lawrence.
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Old 15th Jul 2019, 12:00 pm   #40
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Default Re: From 60/40 to Radon. A Radio & TV Engineer's recollection.

Thanks Lawrence. That makes a lot more sense than the suggestions I puzzled over.

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