1809 The First Railways: Portreath to Scorrier

‘In 1809 a horse drawn tramway was constructed between Portreath and Scorrier...’


Laying down railway tracks before we even thought to create a train engine. Why? How?


The distances from Portreath to Scorrier is not five miles, so not too excessively far, but certainly a novel concept. Before carts were put on rail tracks, it was donkeys and mules, carting the ore to Portreath from the mines in the Redruth area of Cornwall. Horse power to cart the output to the ships for transport. The laying of track was the call of the industrial age on the horizon.


Copper mining had begun to surpass tin mining during the early 1800s and from 1819 to 1840 just the Consolidated mine alone yielded 300,000 tonnes, which sold for over ₤2 million. Using some of the research on currency, that would be about $4 billion today. And that is one large mine, but only one mine in the area. If one mine is doing $200 million a year, then one can see that these are lucrative businesses for the aristocracy to own.


The Gwennap area of Cornwall would become the ‘ "Copper Kingdom" and then the richest known mineralised area in the world.’


In 1842 at the Tresavean Mine, in Lanner near Redruth, very close to where my story takes place, the first ever man-engine was installed. This was the height of Cornwall copper mining.


In 1824, the rails were made into an actual railway from Redruth to Chasewater.

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