What's under your feet at East Pool Mine?

 East Pool Miners at the turn of the 20th Century waiting to go underground

East Pool is one of the few 18th-century mines that stayed working into living memory. Its history is not only in the past, but lives on in the visitors and volunteers who remember the engines working or played in the mine buildings.

East Pool

East Pool Mine began life as 'Pool Old Bal' in the early 1700s.  The land was leased from the Basset family who were able to construct their imposing family home nearby at Tehidy from the profits of this and their other mines.

The mine worked until 1784 as a copper mine and was re-opened in 1834 under the name 'East Pool'.  Today this is the site of Michell's Engine House, the one remaining building of this once very profitable mine.  East Pool had a problem with water pouring in from its neighbouring mine Wheal Agar, now the location for Morrison's Supermarket. Wheal Agar was continually losing money towards the end of the 19th Centruy and kept threatening to switch off its pumps, which it did in late 1895. As a result, the very productive lower levels of East Pool flooded, meaning that it was restricted to reworking its older higher levels.
Negotiations between the two mines continued for over a year until the intervention of Lord Robartes who owned the Wheal Agar land. East Pool purchased Wheal Agar and all its equipment for £4,000, taking possession on 10 March 1897.

East Pool and Agar

It was from this purchase that the name 'East Pool and Agar' comes from. The mine had a very productive and long life raising 92,000 tons of copper ore and later, 47,000 tons of tin ore. In its early days the copper ore here was particularly rich, selling at twice the average price.  In 1913 the business became a limited company called East Pool & Agar Limited, known as EPAL.
East Pool was one of the few mines, along with nearby South Crofty and Wheal Basset, that were able to survive the depression of the Cornish mining industry in the late 19th century. As these mines were close to one another and pumping water from the workings was still of highest priority, if any of the pumping engines stopped there were serious repercussions at the other mines.
In 1921 the shaft at East Pool and Agar collapsed, completely blocking access to the mine. Another solution was needed.

Taylor's Shaft

The site of Taylor’s Shaft was built between 1922 and 1925. It was a brand new mine located approximately 250 metres from the old Michell's Shaft. It retained the name 'East Pool and Agar Mine'  and it is these initials that appear on the chimney which towers about East Pool Mine's reamining buildings today. The main product of this mine was tungsten, a hard metal in much demand during the Second World War and used in the manufacture of weapons. The mine stayed operational until the end of the Second World War when mining subsidies were stopped and brankruptcy was looming. However when they finally switched the pumps off at Taylor’s Engine House in 1945, the neighbouring mine South Crofty, which was still a working mine, started to flood.
As a result, the engine was to run for a further nine years keeping South Crofty clear and finally stopped working on 11 September 1954 when electric pumps were installed.