Voices of the Cornish Mining Landscape

A new book focussing on the people and communities which are part of Cornwall’s mining heritage was published during a fortnight long exhibition at the Cornwall Centre, Redruth on 23rd May 2008.

‘Voices of the Cornish Mining Landscape’ by Dr Sharron Schwartz is a unique undertaking, based around interviews with former mine workers and other local residents who live in the Central Mining District (the towns of Camborne and Redruth and the constellation of mining villages around them). The book addresses how Cornish mining heritage is regarded by individuals and “…is a work exploring the Cornish mining landscape from the perspective of those who lived and are living within it.”

The book was conceived by members of the project team at Cornwall County Council responsible for implementing the Mineral Tramways Heritage Project, and following on from the successful bid for some of Cornwall’s mining landscape to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Speaking of the launch, Dr Sharron Schwartz said, “We have been bequeathed a fabulous landscape and heritage by our predecessors that we should be intensely proud of, a reminder that Cornwall lay at the very centre of the global hard rock mining industry. I was honoured to be asked to write this book as it was a unique opportunity to “people” this internationally recognised landscape using the thoughts and words of those who have called and continue to call it, their home.”

The springboard for the ‘Voices’ initiative was an oral testimony project managed by the Mineral Tramways Project in partnership with the University of Exeter’s Institute of Cornish Studies Cornwall Audio Visual Archive (CAVA). ‘Voices’ relied on the enthusiasm and efforts of many people, in particular a group of intrepid volunteers who recorded interviews with local people who gave up their time to talk. The book also contains specially commissioned portraits of some of the interviewees, taken by Cornwall based photographer, Vince Bevan.

For the first time, this book presents the views and opinions of local people concerning the mining landscape that surrounds them, said Lucia Crothall, former Mineral Tramways Project Education Officer. “Some of the many remarkable words that were spoken can be read in the book and more will soon be made publicly accessible on CDs housed at the Cornwall Centre in Redruth.”

Simon Murray, Acting Principal Officer of the Mineral Tramways Project said of the launch, “We are extremely proud and pleased to see this come to fruition. Sharron was a key researcher in the WHS bid and it was during this time that we realised there was so much to say about Cornwall’s mining heritage. We hope that the people of Cornwall will enjoy learning about it as much as we have enjoyed putting it all together.”

Adam Paynter, Executive Member for Environment and Heritage added, “I hope that the public from all over Cornwall – locals and holiday makers alike – will come to the Cornwall Centre to learn more about the Cornish mining heritage that is so important to our identity.”

Ainsley Cocks, Research and Information Officer, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office, said of ‘Voices’, “This is a very impressive and timely work which, for the first time, presents the views and opinions of individuals in relation to our globally important mining heritage.”

Copies of the book ‘ Voices of the Cornish Mining Landscape’ can be purchased from local book stores and some visitor attractions including King Edward Mine Museum, Troon, Camborne, TR15 3SE, Tel. 01209 614681.

Listen to the tracks via the built-in player or use the link to download to your computer (Windows-right click and 'save file as', Mac :option button then click on download icon)

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4