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Wherry Mine, Penzance, Mount's Bay District, Cornwall, England, UK

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 50° 6' 36'' North , 5° 32' 21'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 50.1100584003, -5.53903321467
UK National Grid Reference:SW470294

The Wherry mine was situated 240 yards out to sea at Wherry Town, on the southern edge of Penzance. The shaft was sunk on a mineralized dyke of 'elvan' (quartz-feldspar porphyry) which ran parallel to the shore and exposed only during low tides.

The mine was sunk by Thomas Curtis, a poor 57-year old miner who devoted three years from about 1778 to the effort, working during the summer to build a wooden coffer 25 inches square and 20 feet tall to exclude the water before sinking a shaft. Curtis died in 1791 by which time the mine had begun making a good profit.

During operation a steam engine on land operated pumps by a system of flat rods carried on a trestle bridge to the coffer.

The mine was destroyed in 1798 when an American ship, adrift in a storm, demolished the trestles and coffer, later efforts to re-open the mine failed - the Wherry mine was almost certainly the only mine ever to have been destroyed by a shipwreck!

Mineral List

19 valid minerals.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Sir Arthur Russell (1949) The Wherry Mine, Penzance, Its History and its Mineral Productions. Mineralogical Magazine 28:517-533.

Minerals of Cornwall & Devon, p38-39 (1987).

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