Camelford WI twinning visit to Geevor

About 20 of us, from Crowlas & Ludgvan and Camelford WIs, spent a fascinating day exploring Geevor Tin Mine today.

We have been twinned with Camelford for many years now, and always enjoy our annual get-together. So, of course, our first stop was the cafe for some coffee and a good catch-up!

Our happy group!

Our happy group!

Clint, our guide, showed us all over the site – the Rescue, where we heard some harrowing stories about the injuries sustained by miners; and the Dry where we imagined grimy miners showering after a long day’s work.

The final shift at Geevor clocked off on 16 February 1990

The final shift at Geevor clocked off on 16 February 1990

Former miner Eddie talked to us and I think we were all left with a huge appreciation for the back-breaking and life-threatening work the miners did.

In spite of the hard work, the miners did have fun and certainly had pride in their work. Geevor had a great community spirit, unlike some of the other local mines which were owned and managed by huge corporations.

Hard hats in the Rescue

Hard hats in the Rescue

After a very full morning, we stopped for ‘mossel’ (a new word for us!) in the cafe. Several of us opted for pasties – though we were told that miners probably didn’t eat pasties on their mossel breaks as they would have been far too heavy and would have prevented them from working afterwards.

Following lunch, we saw a demonstration of hand drilling and looked at some of the huge hammers wielded by the bal maidens.

Probably not a good idea!

Probably not a good idea!

Clint then took us into the Mill, where the tin was processed – from big chunks of rock into the fine tin dust that was finally sold to be smelted into the tin we’re all familiar with.

Our last stop was a walk underground, through Wheal Mexico. We were amazed at how low and narrow the passages were – but Clint told us that Cornishmen in the 18th century probably were only about 5′ tall! We were all very grateful for our miners’ helmets as we bumped our heads every few minutes!

The very narrow and low passages in Wheal Mexico

The very narrow and low passages in Wheal Mexico

What a great day it was!

A big thank you to the ladies of Camelford for making the trip down to see us. And to Clint, our guide (who had to put up with rather a lot!). And, finally, to Kathy who organised the day so well.

You can see more photos of the day by clicking here.

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