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Wheal Owles

£135.00 Sold out

In common with much of Kernow's now picturesque countryside, this peaceful looking, deserted, former tin mine was actually the site of a terrible tragedy in the early 19th Century

On 10 January 1893 the miners broke through into the flooded workings of the neighbouring Wheal Drea. As water rushed into Wheal Owles the air blasted through the mine blowing out the lights and leaving the miners in darkness. Those working in the upper levels survived but nineteen men and a boy lost their lives. Their bodies were never recovered.

"... a terrible roar was heard, followed by a rush of wind, which blew out all the lights. Knowing that something had gone wrong in the mine, the men made for the ladders, and soon found out it was a case of hurry and strain every nerve for life or death. In the dark they did their best to gain the surface, some at times being completely torn away from the ladders by the tremendous currents of water and wind.... In about an hour and a half that huge space was completely full."

Wheal Owles mine had been flooded by waters from Boscean mine which had broken into Wheal Drea.

"The result is that the immense pool of water now stretched through, practically, three mines and is a mile-and-a-half in length - almost from the sea to beneath the Wesleyan Chapel at St Just Church-town."

The Cornishman, January 12, 1893

Painted in oils this box canvas measures 30cm x 23cm