Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Fowey Consols

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Fowey Consols comprised Wheals Treasure; Fortune; Chance; Polharmon; Lanescot.

One of the deepest, richest and most important mines in Cornwall, Fowey Consols was worked by 6 steam engines and 17 waterwheels.

1813 Wheal Treasure, Wheal Fortune and Wheal Chance began to be worked.

1814 Joseph Austen of Fowey (who later changed his name to Treffry) purchased a share in each of the Wheal Treasure, Wheal Fortune, and Wheal Chance mines. Other shareholders were: The Rev Robert Walker of St Winnow, John Colman Rashleigh of Prideaux, and also a John Vivian.

1817 The Captain at Wheal Treasure was John Hitchens of Par who advised Austen to purchase a further two shares in July 1817. Lanescot Mine opened about this time.

1818 For the year ending 30 June 1818 Wheal Treasure produced 1202 tons of copper ore. The sale of which amounted to £7413, being nearly as much as in the three previous years.

1819 Joseph Treffry took control of the group of five mines known as Fowey Consols

1822 Fowey Consuls employed 1,680 people making Treffry the largest local employer. It was said that 100 mules and 30 horses were required to transport the ore the four miles to Fowey Harbour.

Joseph Thomas Treffry linked his mine to his new port at Par in the late 1820s by a canal. The tramway was subsequently extended to a second new port at Newquay.

1830 Wheal Hope taken in to the Fowey Consol operation about this time.

1831 On the setting day at Fowey Consols and Lanescot which the miners attended with the aim of controlling the bidding for pitches to ensure that the prices were kept up (Tribute and tutwork pitches went to the lowest bidder.) Two men refused to join in the arrangement and they took refuge in the Count House when threatened by the other men. The miners refused to disperse and magistrates, including Austen and Nicholas Kendall were called in and the Riot Act read, seven of the rioters were arrested. The seven arrested miners were tried Launceston in March with "having committed a Riot at Fowey Consols and Lanescot Mines, in the Parish of Tywardreath. The seven were lucky to be discharged.

1831 The perpendicular shaft for the 80" Austen's Engine was sunk in the winter of 1831/32. The ruins of the engine house is one of the few visible remains left of the mines, and is situated at the northern end of the site of the Fowey Consols.

1845 West Fowey Consols Mine came into production just below Roselyon. The mine leat, carrying the water to work it, can still be seen running alongside St. Blazey Road.

1850 Treffry died on the 29 January, aged 68. The funeral was on the 5 February at Fowey. All work was suspended at the mines, at his other concerns and the shops in Tywardreath, St Blazey and Fowey closed. One of the chief mourners was William Davis. The bearers connected with Fowey Consols were Thomas Thomas (mapper and dialer), William Powne (storekeeper and general clerk), William Polkinghorne (purser's deputy and general pay clerk)and John Puckey.

1865 22 July - the Prince & Princess of Wales (Albert Edward, the future Edward VII and Alexandra) came to Fowey on the Royal yacht Osborne. As part of their visit they came to see the smelting works at Par, and then visited Fowey Consols.

1867 a collapse in the copper market. Fowey Consols Mine, which had employed 1,680 people, closed. A couple of smaller mines remained at Pembroke and East Crinnis.

Although Fowey Consols has suffered considerably from dump removal and buildings demolition, the site still includes significant remains and cannot be separated from the Luxulyan Valley and the canal which linked them both to Par.

The original tramway was replaced by the Cornwall Minerals Railway in 1874, enabling the development of china-clay and china-stone works at the foot of the valley, the last of these works operating until the mid 1990's.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Cornwall calling