Steps back in time

I’ve been out of the broadband loop for the past 2 weeks since moving house and have not had a chance to post some of the photos I took visiting the Caradon copper mines of Bodmin last month. A boom and bust venture which had almost ceased by the late 19th century.

The trackbed of the Liskeard & Caradon railway remains and although overgrown, many of the broad walks and paths are still evident. Along these once came hundreds of Cornish men, women too and boys. It is hard to visualise this pastoral scene as an industrial landscape of intense employment that it once was but the evidence is there for the imagining. {click to enlarge images}

“A mine spread out its vast machinery
Here engines, with their huts and smoky stacks,
Cranks, wheels, and rods, boilers and hissing steam,
Press’d up the water from the depths below.”

“Here fire-whims ran till almost out of breath,
And chains cried sharply, strain’d with fiery force,
Here blacksmith’s hammer’d by the sooty forge,
And there a crusher crash’d the copper ore.”

“And slimy boys were swarming at the trunks.
The noisy lander by the trap-door bawi’d
With pincers in his hand; and troops of maids
With heavy hammers brake the mineral stones”

“Below were caverns grim with greedy gloom,
And levels drunk with darkness; chambers huge
Where Fear sat silent, and the mineral-sprite
For ever chanted his bewitching song;”

The pathways connecting all the mines of Caradon Hill are best seen from the air

Which way?

Poetry extracts from John Harris’ “Christian Heroism” and with this plethora of tracks, footpaths and highways I’m joining this week’s Which Way Photo Challenge


5 Comments on “Steps back in time

  1. You’ve raised some powerful spirits here, Laura – the impoverished populace yoked to industrialist ambition. And not much changed, though we seem not to see it, the 19th industrialist from whom, for god’s sake, people might have expected some here and there community beneficence as pay off for their labours, now lost in shadowy corporate entities whose only intention is to mine us and the unrepresented dispossessed of the non-industrial world.

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  2. A powerful comment from you Tish – I reside in ex coal mining country & even if the uncontrolled forces of International capitalism move the work supply they should depart with investments for those left in the wake
    Many of those who had worked here had no choice but to leave for mining jobs in the New World – hunger doth make for harsh choices

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