Postcards from my Past / 3 Cornwall’s Old Mines

Cornwall’s Old Mines

The year after the visit to Wales and seeing the haunting ruins of Nant Gwytheyrn, I had some different ruins to feast my eyes on…

The tricky bit with memory is remembering what age you were…. I do know that I was 11 on this visit to Cornwall ….. (which means I was a year out on the last postcard)

Anyway, we are camping near St Agnes, and my father finds a rather atmospheric cliff walk at Chapel Porth. As usual with pater’s walks, this is going to be a fairly lengthy trek….

We walk up a steady slope which apparently will get us onto the cliff path eventually. The  land soon flattens out a bit, and we walk along a stony path through lots of scrubby plants. There is heather, and gorse in vibrant yellow flower, as we stride along the dusty path. But things are getting more exciting! There are some ruined buildings visible in the distance, and as we get closer to the first one my father tells us it is an engine house from one of the tin mines in the area (I later find out this was Wheal Coates, which had more than one engine house). 

Part of Wheal Coates, 1970s

I am fascinated by these ruins, unlike anything else I had previously seen, and suddenly the walk isn’t such a pain after all. I clamber around a bit to see what might be hidden in the undergrowth, with parents warning me not to stray too far off the path because there might be old mineshafts, and if I fell down one of those ‘it will be a long way down, and you won’t be able to get out’…. I want to know if there are any more ruins to see today, and my father thinks there will be…and we will be able to find more in the coming days… brilliant!

Another view of Wheal Coates, 1970s

(I may convert these images to monochrome at some stage, as Perutz film didn’t age well, and the second image in particular has faded, and the colours shifted)



  1. I like these old memories, Sue. And I also like the strange colours. Nostalgic, and appealing too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. They’re permeated with nostalgia…….and , as Beetleypete says, those unusual colors remind of old times….

  3. Love the feeling of these old pictures!

  4. Nothing like good memories and good ruins. 🙂


  5. These are great, very brooding so black and white should work well. I wish I had more photos.

  6. Excellent and the ruin looks pretty much the same now.

  7. I take it this is ‘Jude’s’ beloved old mine head, Sue? Thought it looked a bit familiar. 🙂 🙂 D’you know, I think this might just qualify as a Monday walk? Should I pinch it for next week? Happy Monday!

  8. Looks like Montana. Many miners from Cornwall came here to work the mines. Maybe they felt at home; I hope so. Nice Post.

  9. I can sense your excitement at seeing the ruins. I like the photos as they are. The fading and colour shift are as expected and adds to the sentiment.

    • Sue

      Thanks, Draco! I agree, the fading image adds to the timeframe, places the image firmly into the past! But I am doing a post today that will include some images converted to monochrome….

  10. Wonderful! The faded images add to your narrative 🙂

  11. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Sitio das Fontes | restlessjo

  12. Another nice excursion into your past and the past. I’m becoming a fan of photos like these: modern digital sharpness doesn’t have the same power to evoke. I wonder if it’ll summon up nostalgia one day, the way these do. I love the glimpse of young Sue, so eager for ruins.

  13. I love your conversation with Meg. I’m really missing her. Don’t suppose you’ve heard anything? I emailed a couple of weeks ago but no response, which is unusual. Think they’re in the Outback? I hope she’s ok. Anyway, I digress (how unusual! 🙂 ) I love your enthusiasm too, and note that I have used this as a Monday walk. Enjoy the GP? I saw snatches.

    • Sue

      D’you know, I’v not been ‘with it’ lately, and hadn’t realised Meg was AWOL….now you’ve got me worried….ah, except I do know she has her Polish family over, so that might be the answer….
      As for the G P, interesting, well done those Force India boys… I’m currently praying for Niki Lauda, he of the tremendous accident in 1976…he’s recently had an emergency lung transplant, second time in his life where he has nearly been a goner….

      • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that about Niki. He’s quite a character. I think the family were staying 4-6 weeks but can’t be sure. Vagueness is a part of this aging thing. 😦

      • Sue

        Well, I’m with you on the vagueness thing, Jo, but in my mind I have it that the family might be with her until some time in September……

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