Monday, 25 July 2011



North of Lands End on the Atlantic Coast there is situated the village of Pendeen, and west of the village on the headland is Pendeen Watch. This is one of the best places on the North coast for seawatching (The Migration of passing Seabirds).
To the South West of Pendeen is a large coastal mining area encompassing the Levant and Botallack Mines.


Pendeen looking North along the coast.

The view from Pendeen to the Levant Mine

 Pendeen Lighthouse is located to the north of Pendeen in west Cornwall United Kingdom. Designed by the Trinity House Engineer Sir Thomas Matthews, the 17 m tower, buildings and surrounding wall was constructed by Arthur Carkeek of Redruth. The five-wick Argand lamp provided by Messers. Chance, of Birmingham, was commissioned on 26 September 1900 and replaced in 1926 by an electric one. The original Argand oil lamp was on display at the Trinity House National Lighthouse Museum Penzance until 2005 when the museum closed. Pendeen Lighthouse was automated in 1995 with the keepers leaving the station on 3 May.

Apart from the tower itself, with its machinery built into the base, there is an 'E' shaped building split into a terrace of four cottages. Three of the cottages were originally used to house the three resident keepers, their wives and families, with the fourth used as an office area and sleeping accommodation for the supernumerary keepers. They are now let as holiday cottages.

Behind the cottages there were three kitchen gardens (which soon fell into disuse as nothing would grow in such an exposed position) and, on the seaward side of the complex, a fog horn and its accompanying machinery. Water was originally collected off the flat roof of the accommodation block and stored in an underground tank. So, apart from food and paraffin, the lighthouse keepers were virtually self-sufficient

Historical Text taken from Wikipedia.


From the Levant Mine to Pendeen Watch.


Levant - A Brief History

Levant is one of Cornwall's most famous mines and like many others in the county very little is recorded of its early history. In 1820 Richard Boyns, a local mining man, formed a new company to work the mine. Almost immediately they struck a rich vein of copper ore which eventually led to large dividends being paid to the share holders. This company operated Levant until getting into difficulties in 1871 when a new company was formed to take over the mine, its purser being Richard White, who was to run Levant for the next 30 years or so.

Over the years the mine continued to get deeper and to go further under the Atlantic Ocean, reaching its deepest point the 350 fathom level by 1904. Access to the lower levels was achieved by sinking two shafts out under the sea, Old Submarine shaft connecting the 210 to the 302 fathom level and, New Submarine Shaft connecting the 260 to the 350 fathom level.

To get to and from their place of work the miners had to climb many hundreds of feet on the ladders. In 1857 a Man Engine was installed on the mine, and eventually this saved the men enormous toil by enabling them to descend to and ascend from the 266 fathom level ( approximately 1800 feet from surface) with very little effort. On October 20th 1919 however the main rod of the Man Engine broke killing 31 miners and injuring many more.

In 1920 the old cost book company was dissolved to be replaced by a new limited company 'The Levant Tin Mines Limited' under a new manager Colonel F.F. Oats. Amazingly, only working from surface down to the 210 fathom level the mine survived for ten years on ground supposedly worked out many years before. It did however finally close in October 1930.

The Levant Mine Disaster

On the fateful day of the 20th of October 1919, just about 2.45pm in the afternoon, the Man engine was carrying a full load of miners who were returning to surface at the end of their shift. An iron strap securing the beam to the wooden rod in the shaft broke. The Man engine rod fell down the upper parts of the shaft snapping in several places and carrying its human cargo with it. At a depth of almost 150 feet, just below the 24 fathom balance bob, the engine rod broke in two and crashed down through the shaft. Projections on the side of the engine rod known as catch wings stopped the rod from any further descent at the 70 fathom level (420 feet). There was still a great deal of destruction caused to the upper parts of the shaft and 31 miners were lost. A simple plaque next to the shaft list the names of those miners lost. More can be learned about the human side of the disaster at the excellent Levant Mine Disaster. The disaster caused a body blow to Levant, one from which it was never really to recover.
Historical text taken from Nicholas family history link below.



  1. Interesting reading the history and the photos are excellent. Love the photo of Levant Mine.

  2. Ciao Monts, the scenery is beautiful, accompanied by an interesting story, that of the miners is dramatic, I love the lighthouse I'd like to live!
    Have a excellent week!