Ding Dong MineMadron, Penzance, Cornwall
Ding Dong Mine is probably one of the oldest mines in the UK!
It is described as having 22 tin lodes connected with it and as extending over 500 acres.
The Ding Dong Mine is reported to be the oldest in the West of England, dating back to prehistoric times although it is not known when the mine actually began to be worked.
In 1714 three separate mines were operating: Good Fortune, Wheal Malkin and Hard Shafts Bounds. By 1782 16 working mines were to be found in the area and the present sett includes Ding Dong (original) in the middle, Wheal Providence, Wheal Tredinneck and Ishmael’s to the east and Wheal Malkin and Wheal Boys to the West.
Richard Trevithick was promoted to engineer of the original Ding Dong mine in 1796.
Ding Dong Mine became well known after a challenge was made by Boulton and Watt in the law courts regarding a modification that Richard Trevithick and William West made to a pumping engine there circa 1797. Boulton and Watt regarded the changes to be an infringement on Watt’s ‘condenser patent’.
The Ding Dong mine as we know it now, was only actually created in 1813 by combining 16 smaller mines in the area. By 1840 there are records of 5 beam engines in operation.
Greenburrow pumping engine house was erected in 1865, to house a 40-inch cylinder pumping engine, that had previously been in use over North Killiow Shaft. About half a mile to the east lay Greenpease shaft and Jacobine shaft. East of these shafts lay the start of the tramway near Croft Reeve and the site of the Miner’s Dry, a whim engine and the ore dressing floors.
Ding Dong ceased production on 11 July 1877.
The mine closed in 1877 due to the discovery of major tin deposits in Queensland, Australia and other parts of the British Empire, and because the local tin deposits were thought to be exhausted.
When the price of tin rose in 1911, the mine’s dump was explored and a new company, Ding Dong Mine Syndicate, began to work above ground. California stamps were installed and during the period from September 1912 to March 1915, 51 tons of tin were extracted from the hand-picked ore.
The wartime drop in all metal prices brought this work at the mine to an end
Today, the most visible parts of the Ding Dong Mine are the pumping engine houses over Greenburrow Shaft of Wheal Malkin and Tredinneck Shaft (Ding Dong original) in the east. While these have been ‘made safe’, there are numerous open shafts in the area, which are fenced off, but are definitely not safe!
The mine is geologically interesting in that a large amount of tin was found in the granite mass and that there are 22 lodes which all run in different directions with many intersections.
Visiting these relics provides a series of historic treats. Near the mine ruins can be found the Bronze Age Nine Maidens Stone Circle, the Mên-an-Tol, the Lanyon Quoit, the West Lanyon Quoit, the Mulfra Quoit, the Ding Dong standing stone, the Venton Bebilbell (holywell) and the Mên Scryfa (an inscribed standing stone)!
Grid Ref: SW436 345