Wheal Maid

Wheal Maid (also Wheal Maiden) is a former mine in the Camborne-Redruth-St Day Mining District, 1.5km east of St Day.[5]

Wheal Maid
Wheal Maid.jpg
Remains of Wheal Maid
Wheal Maid is located in Cornwall
Wheal Maid
Wheal Maid
Location in Cornwall
Coordinates50°14′16″N 5°09′55″W / 50.23778°N 5.16528°W / 50.23778; -5.16528Coordinates: 50°14′16″N 5°09′55″W / 50.23778°N 5.16528°W / 50.23778; -5.16528
ProductsMainly copper,[1] also tin and arsenic
CompanyCarnon Enterprises (pre-2002)
Gwennap Parish Council (since 2002)

Between 1800 and 1840, profits are said to have been up to £200,000.[6] In 1852, the mine was almalgamated with Poldice Mine and Carharrack Mine and worked as St Day United mine.[7] Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the mine site was turned into large lagoons and used as a tip for two other nearby mines: Mount Wellington and Wheal Jane.[3][8][9]

The site was bought from Carnon Enterprises by Gwennap District Council for a price of £1 in 2002.[10] An investigation by the Environment Agency that concluded in 2007 found that soil near the mine had high levels of arsenic, copper and zinc contamination and by 2012, it was deemed too hazardous for human activity.[8][11]

The mine gains attention during dry spells when the lagoons dry up and leaving brightly coloured stains on the pit banks and bed.[12][13][14]

2014 murderEdit

In 2014, a 72-year-old man from Falmouth died at the site after what was initially thought to be a cycling accident.[4][15] It was later found that the man had been murdered.[16] A 34-year-old was found guilty and sentenced to life and to serve at least 28 years[17]


  1. ^ Best, Jessica (21 January 2014). "Man found dead in former copper mine had 'serious cycling accident'". The Mirror. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  2. ^ "The Cornish Mars". Cornish Bird Blog. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Background". Exeter iGEM 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Wheal Maid mine death cyclist named as David Alderson". BBC. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Wheal Maid, St Day, Gwennap, Cornwall, England, UK". Mindat. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Wheal Maid Mine, Cornwall". Cornwall Calling. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Wheal Maid". Grace's Guide to British Industrial History. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b Ivall, Steven (7 November 2007). "Waste tip is contaminated". Falmouth Packet. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  9. ^ "History Of Mount Wellington Mine up until 2006". Mount Wellington Mine. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Wheal Maid". Gwennap Parish.net. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  11. ^ Watson, Greig (26 June 2012). "Polluted legacy: Repairing Britain's damaged landscapes". BBC. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  12. ^ Nsubuga, Jimmy (6 August 2018). "The heatwave has turned parts of Cornwall into a Martian wasteland". Metro. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Mount Wellington Tailings". Cornish Mine Images. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Wheal Maid Lagoon Photograph by Stephen Booth". Saatchi Art. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Man's body found in Wheal Maid mine in Cornwall". BBC. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Wheal Maid death cyclist David Alderson 'was murdered'". BBC. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  17. ^ "UPDATE: Mine Murder: Man Jailed For Life". Pirate FM. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2020.