British Mining No 113 – The Chiverton Lead Mines of Cornwall

by Nigel A. Chapman and Richard Smith

Lead mining in Cornwall was of minor importance when compared with tin and lead. In 1839, De La Beche placed lead mining after manganese in order of economic importance. Yet for a brief period in the mid-19th century, Cornwall possessed two of the greatest lead mines in the UK, in terms of both output and in dividends paid to shareholders. These were East Wheal Rose (1840-1851) and West Chiverton (1863-1876); the latter in the Parish of Perranzabuloe. The success of West Chiverton led to a surge in mines which adopted the name ‘Chiverton’ as part of their own – as a means of convincing potential shareholders that they would be an infallible source of income. Unfortunately, this was seldom the case and as all of the Chiverton mines experienced hard times at least once in their history, this monograph includes a number of tales of misfortune, skulduggery and sharp practice. Nevertheless, between 1859-1886, West Chiverton produced around 45,800 tons of lead ore, containing over 33,000 tons of lead and over 1.24 million ounces of silver, not to mention 22,676 tons of zinc ore and 15 tons of copper ore. Between 1863-1874 the mine paid £157,000 in dividends for a purchase price of £30,000.

The monograph relates the story of West Chiverton, Wheal Chiverton and East Chiverton as well as twenty-one other mines which bore the Chiverton name but which, with a few exceptions, failed to pay costs.

  • A5
  • 240 pages
  • 55 illustrations
  • 19 tables
  • Comprehensive index
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-901450-78-3