Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


1044/0/10005 07-DEC-04

CHACEWATER WHEAL BUSY Smithy Building at Wheal Busy


Former blacksmith's and workshop. Built c.1872 for Wheal Busy Mine. EXTERIOR: A tall single storey building of random granite rubble with granite quoins and some modern repairs of brick and block work in places. A large and impressive, hipped scantle slate roof with ridge tiles. The tall central stack for the furnace has a lower stage of stone and upper of brick. The front elevation has cart entrances at either end; the one to the right is arched and has brick dressings, whilst that to left has a granite lintel. Two further doorways and a window opening are positioned in the central part of this elevation. An extension to the right is of rubble stone with a single pitch roof. Map evidence indicates that there was a further extension to the left but this, with the exception of a low projecting stone wall, has been demolished. There is a particularly fine cast iron lintel above the right side entrance to the building bearing "GREAT WHEAL BUSY MINE 1872", cast by Perran Foundry, near Truro, and a further cast iron lintel to the rear entrance. INTERIOR: Two internal bays, formed by a partition wall of rubble stone and the base of the chimney, and open to roof. It has a tie beam hipped roof with angle struts. The purpose-built forge dominates the larger space and is constructed of granite rubble that has been lime-washed. HISTORY: From the early C18 this area of Cornwall became the focus of intense mining activity and Wheal Busy was the site at which James Watt introduced some of his most historical improvements in steam engine design. In its heyday, Wheal Busy was a major employer and the mine's existence greatly contributed to the development of the village and new parish of Chacewater. It also influenced the development of regional transport networks, using a pioneering horse-drawn tram road for the transportation of copper and tin ores. Mining was suspended at Wheal Busy in 1873, although arsenic was produced at the site during the late C19 and early C20. Wheal Busy is located within the Gwennap-Chacewater mining district, one of the World Heritage Site Bid Areas for Cornish Mining. ASSESSMENT OF IMPORTANCE: The smithy at Wheal Busy is a remarkably well surviving example of this type building and is perhaps one of the largest blacksmith's workshops in the country. Together with the ruined structures and earthworks of the mine (which are protected as a scheduled monument), it represents some of the wide range of activities associated with extractive mining in Cornwall. As well as being of special interest both historically and for its completeness, it also has a considerable visual impact within the landscape, and has strong group value with the mine's engine house and chimney (qv). SOURCES: Wheal Busy, PRN 19318. Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record First Edition Ordnance Survey map


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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