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The Wessexes

Prince Edward visits King Edward in Cornwall

Prince Edward was in Cornwall yesterday, to visit the site of the King Edward Mine restoration project.

The Prince’s visit coincides with the completion of a conservation project to restore the historic buildings at the Mine. The Cornwall Council, which owns the site, received a grant of over £1 million for the renovations. The new buildings will be occupied by tenants, including local businesses and charities.

Cornwall Council’s culture programme officer, Tamsin Daniel, said: “As both complexes are Grade II listed and the count house is on Historic England’s At Risk register, this has been a significant project. And the discovery of a mine shaft under one end of the Count House proved particularly challenging as the walls of the building had to be taken down stone by stone. This project has meant we have been able to bring back into use two derelict buildings to create nine new workspaces, enabling local businesses to thrive.”

Upon his arrival, The Earl of Wessex met the site owners, representatives from the mine, the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence Fund and Historic England. Also joining Edward was Camborne Mayor Trevor Chalker, and Kevin Baker, Chairman of Trustees of King Edward Mine. The Prince was given a tour of the site by Mr Baker, who showed him around old mining equipment, including the original machinery used to produce tin ore.

The Queen’s youngest son also viewed the working of Californian Stamps, utilised in the production of tin ore. The stamps are over 115 years old and are the last existing examples of such stamps. His Royal Highness concluded the visit by unveiling a plaque commemorating the completion of the conservation project and thanking the team for their efforts in restoring the buildings.

The King Edward Mine, which was initially a part of an abandoned Cornish mine, was first opened as a fully operational facility in 1897. The mine was used for tin production until the beginning of the First World War when all operations were suspended. In 1921, the King Edward Mine was flooded, and underground work was stopped, with the surface area of the mine being used for teaching mining practices.

By 1974, most of the lectures had moved to the main School of Mines Building, and the King Edward Mine became a store. Thirteen years later, a group of volunteers decided to conserve the site as a heritage resource, and the mine was purchased by Cornwall Council. Today, the King Edward Mine is a part of the World Heritage Area of Cornwall and is in use as a museum.

Featured photo credit: Northern Ireland Office via photopin cc