Many of the old Cornish mine buildings situated in the larger mining districts have been listed and are preserved as examples for future generations. The treatment meted out to such buildings in the less extensive mining areas has been to list just a few of them. There is, however, one above all others which ought to be listed and preserved, and which was overlooked when the Helston district was surveyed.
This is the engine house of a mine called Wheal Pool - a silver-lead mine just above the Loe Pool. Built in the late-1780s and possibly the only eighteenthcentury engine house surviving in Cornwall, it is the only one known to have been built to take the first Hornblower compound steam pumping engine. The engine ceased to work when the mine closed in September 1794.
In addition to these considerations, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the area between Helston and Porthleven was worked intermittently for silverlead, and this building is the sole mine building surviving in the area.
The authority responsible for listing mine buildings says that as this one is not in a major mining area, it should not be listed or preserved. Do I detect a suspicion of 'we are never wrong' at the ministry responsible for refusing to amend the list to include this one? And what other steps can be taken to ensure that the building receives the treatment it deserves?
Justin Brooke, Marazion, Cornwall