Published March 6, 2012
A bit of history , Cornish Produce , Cornwall in the headlines , Photography , Stories
Tags: Black and White Photography, Camborne, Kodak Tri X film, photography, Poole, Redruth, South Crofty, South Crofty Closure, South Crofty Miners, South Crofty Supporters
Following on from the St Piran’s day celebrations I thought it would be an appropriate post to show some images that I took of the closure of South Crofty mine back in 1998. I was at college and had got myself a NUJ (National Union of Journalists) press pass for a few years which was a fabulous thing and got me into some situations that the man on the street would struggle to get into – sometimes maybe for the best! A quick flash of the pass at the gates of South Crofty and with a large black camera sporting the letters N I K O N and I was in! With a lot of press in the area I was being pushed from side to side by the big boys of Fleet Street. But with some Cornish determination I got a few pictures that day that I was pleased with. Here are a few work prints I have found in my boxes. All shot on Kodak’s lovely Tri -X film!
A proud Cornishman supporting the miners on the last day of the mine being open
The derelict looking landscape surrounding South Crofty in 1998
The tag board showing the few miners underground on the last shift
Local well wishers whom have sent letters and donations to support the miners, even one from over the Tamar!
Two of the last miners to come out of the mine from their final shift
Thankfully South Crofty has reopened and the future is looking bright, well not underground – that’s pretty dark still but the future of South Crofty is bright and its providing jobs for locals again!
…..and finally the PRESS pass
should have gone to SpecSavers! ( I think I did!)
Retired Miner at mine closure - South Crofty
“Cornish lads are fishermen and Cornish lads are miners too, but when the fish and tin are gone, what are the Cornish boys to do?”
This ‘graffiti’ was written along the exterior wall of South Crofty not long after it closed down in 1998. South Crofty was one of Cornwall’s oldest and largest mines which opened in the 1590’s. For several decades, up until 1860s copper was the only ore mined at South Crofty in shallow workings (down to approx 80 metres) The mine was dependent on copper until its reserves were exhausted and in 1873 after much financial investment in new machinery the mine was operating significantly deeper (approx 480 metres) where only tin was found.
Mining provided a great deal of employment in Cornwall and South Crofty in particular was the main employer for many men in the Camborne and Redruth area. Sadly with tin being imported at a cheaper price than UK mines could supply the tin many mines closed down around the county and South Crofty was the last to close in 1998.
As a student I managed to get into the mine shortly before it closed down and took some pictures both underground and on the surface. I would have been one of the last non workers to have gone underground and for this I was very grateful of the experience. I have some more images I will share at a later date on the miners but for now please enjoy this gritty black ane white.
On a positive note South Crofty became operational again in 2007 with plans to extract further tin, copper and zinc.
To read more about the company who made South Crofty a viable mine again please click here.