The Camborne and Redruth area was once the heart of Cornwall's mining industry. Hundreds of old tin mines lie scattered around the local countryside, where silent engine-rooms and smokeless chimney-stacks stand over the derelict shafts.
One of Camborne's Many Derelict Engine Houses © TAB
The rapid expansion of tin and copper-mining, in this area throughout the 19th century, was made possible by Richard Trevithick (1771 - 1833), born in Camborne. Trevithick invented a high-pressure steam engine that made it possible to pump water out of pits from greater depths, an advance that eventually revolutionised deep-shaft mining throughout the world. The thatched cottage in which Trevithick lived until 1816, after which he sailed to the silver mines of Peru, lies south-west of the town.
Dolcoath pit at Camborne was the largest and deepest in Britain, dropping to a depth of 3,300 ft through rich deposits of copper and tin. It operated until the 1920s, after which cheap ore from Malaya virtually killed off the industry.
Carn Brea, the dominant hill that separates Camborne from Redruth, houses the remains of a Stone Age hillfort, a Roman fortress and a 14th century castle.
Camborne is the home of the Camborne School of Mines (Museum of Metalliferous Mining), which contains a fine collection of geological specimens.
Contains an example of original 18th-century beam pumping and winding engines.