We’ve been watching Poldark, the new BBC series (remake of the original) on television recently along with everyone else we know, and have really been enjoying it. We’ve been loving how beautiful Cornwall looks in the series, although of course living here we are fully aware how massively scenic and amazing it is here! I like many other women have been especially enjoying Aidan Turner’s performance…
We have also been playing the guess where each scene filmed game, which every other Poldark watching Cornish person on social media also seems to be doing! We did pretty well, although many places we needed to google for help, and they sneakily digitally added the sea into some Bodmin Moor scenes which really stumped us.
Watching the series has inspired us as well, as we realised with some shame that despite living in a county that is famous for it’s mining heritage, neither of us knew that much about mining, and had never been to some of the places that they filmed Poldark in.
We decided this needed rectifying and so we went on a child free (sneaky but lovely to spend some time together as a couple) expedition to a few of the filming locations, Charlestown (we have been here a lot of times since we live close by, but loved an excuse to go back), Levant Mine and Poldark Mine. Today I will just fill you in on Poldark mine, but don’t worry the others with their photos will be coming soon I promise!
If you would like to see how to get to Poldark Mine, then I suggest you check out their website at www.poldarkmine.org.uk as directions REALLY aren’t my strong point…I once explained to someone how to get to a road in my home town, and then once they left realised that we had been on the road they were looking for, and I had been standing blocking their view of the road sign, so if I ever give you directions do please double check them!
Anyway we arrived safely and timely at Poldark Mine (Simon was driving) and we saw this is in the car park…
This made Simon realise that he must have visited as a child, as his Mum has a photo of him standing right next to this train and his Mum confirmed it when we got home…he did however refuse to let me show you the original photo, but I will sneakily add it at some point when he isn’t looking I expect. They are going to be refurbishing this at some point in the near future.
Before I go on with telling you what it’s like at Poldark Mine, I want to fill you in on a bit of background of the ownership of the mine. The present owners bought the mine last year, after the previous owner had allowed the mine to become very run down and had sold a lot of things that shouldn’t have been.
The new owners are in the process of rebuilding the mine as a popular attraction, reclaiming items that should never have been sold, and making Poldark Mine the best it can be, so if you see reviews else where they are likely to have been in the old owners time, or do not take into consideration the great amount of work that the new owners are embarking on.
When we visited being so early in the tourism season they did not have a cafe running, and some things weren’t set up properly yet, but it was the mine that we went for and that did not disappoint!
Everything else will catch up with being as good, and the more people visit the more they can invest in improvements, and in the maintenance of the mine, which really should be preserved as a great art of Cornwall’s mining heritage but also television heritage!
Everyone working there were very friendly and chatty, and seemed pleased to see us which was lovely. We had a look in the museum area and gift shop first.
Poldark Mine featured in the original series of Poldark, and the original stars spent a lot of time there, as have the new stars of the tv series and the bell in the picture above was actually used in part of the new series recently. It was really interesting to look around at the artifacts from what essential is our history, and the gift shop area had some lovely items including gorgeous jewellery. I ended up buying my boys a torch each and reliving my own youth by purchasing a pretty mood ring!
The outside area of Poldark is in the process of being improved, but it was still very pretty.
We arrived there in time to go on a mine tour, and I am so glad we did. In my opinion Poldark Mine’s best asset has to be Percy (his surname is Rawlings not Poldark, but in my head he’s been renamed Percy Poldark!) who took us on the tour.
He first got us to put on some very attractive hard hats, and then showed us a video on Cornwall’s mine heritage that had some beautiful places on, and chatted to us about how tin was actually mined. I was actually shocked at how much effort it took, and to think of how on earth they used to do it with such simple tools, and all by the light of a candle stuck onto their hats (not hard protective ones like ours!) with a lump of clay.
Percy apologised in advance in case he bored us, but he really didn’t as he was fascinating and knew everything you’d ever need to know about mining and kept us entertained with Poldark (the television series!) tales, as he was at the mine when the original series was filmed and for the most recent one.
Apparently his favourite part of the filming other than meeting some lovely (his words) people was the catering truck that they brought with them! He told us that for some scenes they actually had to flood parts of the mine! Percy took us underground and here are a few photos of the experience.
The photo with the ‘child’ in it is actually a dummy so don’t worry I wasn’t secretly forcing either of my children to work there, although if they’d been alive back when the mine was first opened they would both have been eligible to work there, as the starting age was according to Percy usually 9!
The coins in the photo are collected after people have made wishes and donated to a fantastic cause, Cornwall Air Ambulance, which is an essential much loved service in Cornwall that is completely funded by charity.
Percy told us a lot about the conditions in the mines for those working there, and we could imagine this a lot more as we walked through the mine as it is a very wet place, and I can imagine the workers there were never fully dry until they got back to their homes worn out and filthy from a hard days graft. He really did bring things to life for us, and he had us laughing for a lot of the time we were there.
Percy also told us that all the electrical wires in the mine had to be covered over and painted by the film crew to keep the mine looking authentic for the right time period, and then showed us the paint marks on his jacket from when he was down there then and kept forgetting about the paint. Perhaps Percy could ebay his jacket with it’s ‘authentic’ Poldark paint on to a fan.
One of the newer additions to the mine is the post box…yes you read that right, an underground post box, which I thought was a fun idea, and with the new series of Poldark becoming so popular, I can imagine several love letters to Mr Poldark (the actor not Percy although he is lovely!) himself being posted here by fans.
Percy did say that with the original series, a fan asked where the lead male actor had been sitting so that she could collect a cigarette butt to keep as a momento ….slightly odd but also kind of sweet!
I was actually quite sad to say goodbye to Percy, as we loved his stories, and really wish that we lived closer so that we could volunteer to help with bringing Poldark Mine back to it’s former glory. Simon especially was itching to get his DIY skills out, but we will be going back to see all the improvements at some point and really do urge anyone to visit, as although it’s not a perfect attraction yet the potential is there, and the mine and people are lovely.