Much of the landscape of Cornwall and West Devon was transformed in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of the rapid growth of pioneering copper and tin mining. Its deep underground mines, engine houses, foundries, new towns, smallholdings, ports and harbours, and ancillary industries together reflect prolific innovation which, in the early 19th century, enabled the region to produce two thirds of the world’s supply of copper. The substantial remains are a testimony to the contribution Cornwall and West Devon made to the industrial revolution in the rest of Britain and to the fundamental influence the area had on the mining world at large. Cornish technology embodied in engines, engine houses and mining equipment were exported around the world. Cornwall and West Devon were the heartland from which mining technology rapidly spread. When Cornish and West Devon mining declined in the 1860s, large numbers of miners emigrated to work and live in mining communities based on Cornish traditions, in for instance South Africa, Australia, and Central and South America, where Cornish engine houses still survive.
MMC, Owner of the Holman Rock Drill Collection
The Holman Rock Drill Collection is an important part of mining and social history and is housed at MMC’s premises and in the World Heritage Site at King Edward Mine (courtesy the Trevithick Society) and Poldark Mine.
Holman drills were synonymous with mining and won many competitions, and held a number of mining and tunneling world records.
The Collection comprises many of the rock drills produced by Holmans Bros, Camborne, Corwall, UK spanning a period from their first patented drill in 1881 through to the 1990’s. Also included in the collection are: models of early beam engines; photographic archives; product brochures; ledgers; engineering drawings and various ephemera.
MMC’s New Year Cards
The New Year cards sent out annually by MMC feature Cornish Mining Heritage themes celebrating the influence of Cornwall on mining and the development of the new world.
The first series featured the work of the late Nick Talbott who specialised in capturing Cornish mining scenes in pen and ink.