Wheal Owles

Wheal Owles

Wheal Owles, pronounced "oals" and from the Cornish als for cliff, was a tin and copper mine worked during the 19th Century. The mine had twenty-five shafts, eleven steam engines, and over thirty miles of tunnels.

In 1893, 20 miners were killed when a surveying error resulted in tunnelling into an area of old workings of Wheal Drea which was flooded. Water poured into Wheal Owles, rising up the shaft at an average rate of 1 foot every 2 seconds which completely overwhelmed the pumping equipment. As the water rushed into Wheal Owles it pushed the air before it, creating a great wind which blew out all the candles, leaving the terrified miners in absolute darkness. Those working on the upper levels narrowly escaped with their lives. Six miners managed to escape by using a tram wagon to navigate through the darkness to the shaft and climbed to safety before the water engulfed them. Within 20 minutes, 75% of the Wheal Owles mine was filled with water. The mine was closed and the 20 bodies were never recovered.

On walks

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