[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]In recognition of this being the Society’s 80th anniversary year, the AGM Weekend was arranged with reference to sites and areas with which the Society had been particularly involved. Appropriately events began on the Friday afternoon at Levant where an enthusiastic party were given a conducted tour by volunteer and Society member, Chris Quick with assistance from Ron Flaxman. The weather was glorious and such was the level of interest that only part of the site was covered in the time available. Some lucky souls were able to drive the Levant engine under supervision. The saving of that engine is the act from which we trace our history and that evening Kingsley Rickard took up the story in a detailed survey of our first 80 years; this also benefited from a number of contributions from the floor, notably from our Chairman, Phil Hosken.
Saturday morning saw some 25 members gather at West Basset Stamps for a Field Trip led by Kingsley, which benefited also from the presence of Allen Buckley whose new book, Wheal Basset: Five Centuries of Mining at Carnkie, is an essential companion to any visit. The West Basset site is a mineral processing site of national importance and cannot fail to impress but we were saddened by its overgrown state. The valuable conservation work done here over the years is now seriously at risk from encroaching vegetation. So often, it seems, no provision is made for ongoing maintenance of these sites, or, where it is, it becomes an easy victim of spending cuts. Lyle’s Shaft was also explored. As at Levant, time pressures prevented a look at the Basset Stamps across the valley and so the party moved to The Countryman Inn at Piece for a hasty lunch.
A grey morning gave way to a fine afternoon and those still standing gathered at King Edward Mine from where some cars departed to begin the afternoon session at Marriott’s Shaft, South Wheal Frances. Following a detailed examination of this monumental late nineteenth century site, we processed via Pascoe’s and Daubuz Shafts towards King Edward with a final stop at Fortescue’s Shaft, Wheal Grenville. Sadly time pressures prevented a call at the Grenville New Stamps. King Edward Mine then hosted the Society AGM, chaired in his inimitable fashion by our President , Bryan Earl. The meeting formally approved the Society’s change of status from Registered Charity to Incorporated Charitable Status and adopted the new Constitution as approved by the Charity Commissioners. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer were re-elected but sadly no candidate for the vital role of Secretary appeared. An excellent day ended with a most enjoyable Annual Dinner at The Lowenac Hotel for 27 members.
Sunday found us at King Edward where Allen Buckley was signing copies of his Basset Mines book. An outdoor tour of the site enabled members to see the major investment in the buildings and to be updated on the significant archaeological activity in the vicinity of the South Condurrow stamps engine house. A comprehensive tour of the mill was led by member Nigel MacDonald with the Californian stamps roaring and all the processing plant, various tables and the Frue Vanner in operation. This made a valuable contrast with the set-up at West Wheal Basset. The final session of the AGM Weekend took us to Moseley Museum at Tolgus Mount, Redruth. Here thanks to Colin Saxton and his volunteers, we were given full range to explore the wonderfully quirky collection of historic toys, see the Murdoch Flyer in steam and ride in a colliery carriage behind a two foot gauge battery locomotive on almost a half mile of track. Here again a few brave souls, your writer included were able to indulge their engine driving desires.
The Moseley Museum visit made a splendid end to a weekend which all seemed to find enjoyable. It was, as always, good to meet old friends and make new ones. If you weren’t there and would like to know more, the now traditional Tour Notes are still available from Kingsley Rickard at a cost of £3.00.
The 2016 AGM will take place in Mid Cornwall over the weekend of 13/14/15 May.