If you have ever visited Cornwall, or if you have watched Poldark, then you will be aware that the county is littered with the remains of abandoned engine houses and chimney stacks. It would be remiss of me not to show some of these, though I didn’t venture down the one open to the public (Geevor Mine above) as I suffer from mild claustrophobia and can’t stand being in the dark.
The engine houses were built to provide a framework for the steam-pumping engine and more beam engines were installed in Cornwall and west Devon than any other mining region of the world: it is thought that around 3,000 engine houses were built in total to house them of which 200 still remain. They stand adjacent to where the main mine shafts were and provide one of the most distinctive displays of industrial buildings anywhere in the world.
The strength and size of the structures, usually built out of local stone and granite with brick detailing over the windows, arches and topmost chimney stack, is the principle reason that so many have survived. They are quite appealing to a photographer, but beware of getting too close as there might be a danger of falling stonework, hidden holes and stones and deep drops.
And of course they often provide an excellent subject for a silhouette.