Botallack Mine, St Just, Penwith, Cornwall, 1872.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from 'Illustrated London News'. Botallack was a submarine tin mine on the coast at Penwith, around seven miles from Penzance, the main shipping centre in the area. Though the mine was formally established in 1836, metal ores exposed in coastal cliffs had attracted attention from an early date. The method of their discovery is revealed in a report from the Mining Journal which notes that: 'some of those amphibious creatures who obtain their livelihood by fishing in the summer and mining in the winter..observed from their boats the lodes in the cliffs...'. The shaft at Botallack ran to the unusual depth of 250 fathoms beneath the sea.