The Trevithick Society
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Welcome to the Trevithick Society.

The Trevithick Society traces its beginning from 1935 when a small group of individuals formed the Cornish Engines Preservation Committee to acquire the Levant winding engine. The last of these mammoth relics of Cornwall's engineering achievements in the Victorian age were, at the time, finally being replaced and scrapped. In other parts of the country the preservation of such monuments had, generally, to wait another quarter-century or so.

The far-sighted efforts of this group must now be seen as a pioneering landmark in Industrial Archaeology. In 1947 the Committee became a registered charity and changed its name to the Cornish Engines Preservation Society. In the ensuing years the CEPS acquired Taylor's 90-inch and Robinson's 80-inch pumping engines and Michell's 30-inch winding engine.

In 1971 the Society combined with the Cornish Waterwheel Preservation Society (formed in 1970) and the name TREVITHICK SOCIETY was chosen in honour of Cornwall's greatest engineer, Richard Trevithick, a key figure in the development of high pressure steam and its application in engines for mining and transport use.

As an educational charity the Society aims to encourage an interest in Industrial Archaeology through lectures, outings and other meetings and by publishing the results of individual research through its Journal and other publications. It encourages the preservation of engine houses and other industrial buildings of worth as a significant part of Cornwall's heritage.

The Society encourages the sympathetic re-use of redundant industrial buildings along with the statutory protection and preservation of prime examples of all types. It sees recording as an important part of its work where the preservation of a monument is not possible.

The Society maintains close links with numerous public and private bodies having common interests, both at a local and national level, and is affiliated to the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the National Association of Mining History Organisations.

Our contact with the National Trust has been particularly close since they took over from the Society in 1967 the care of five Cornish engines and Trevithick's cottage.

News from the East Cornwall Branch:

Society Diary & Events 2014-2015

Date Location Event
13th June KEM Michael Blackburn, "A history of the Ordnance Survey"
14th June Redruth Murdoch Day: See their publicity.
11th July KEM George Wilson: Reminiscences of a Mechanical Engineer.
12th July KEM Council Meeting (Members only).
15th July ECB 'Date to be confirmed': Roger Burt: Devon & Cornwall Mines & Men.
25th-27th July Bangor National Association of Mining History Organisations Conference: Mining Technology.
(TBA) ECB Field Trip: Kelly Mine, Dartmoor.
15th-17th August Stithians Show Ground Cornish Steam & Country Fair (formerly...) West of England Steam Engine Society Rally.
13th September KEM Council Meeting (Members only).
16th September KEM Joint Meeting with CBMS: CBMS 40th Anniversary Meeting: DVD 'Jack Trounson Remembers'.
10th October KEM Our contribution to the remembrance of the breaking out of World War I will be on 10 October, when our Chairman, Phil Hosken, will be the speaker, with illustrations, at our usual monthly meeting, 7.30 at King Edward Mine, on ... Steam on the Western Front. As far as we know, this is the only consideration of this aspect of war logistics.
14th November KEM We hope this will be a film evening with David Jewell.
15th November   'Date to be confirmed': Council Meeting (Members only).
9th January 2015 KEM We hope this will be a film evening with David Jewell.
10th January 2015   'Date to be confirmed': Council Meeting (Members only).
13th February 2015 KEM To be confirmed: Hopefully this will be a meeting on Mining Social History.
13th March 2015 KEM Ainsley Cocks: The Cornwall World Heritge Site.
14th March   'Date to be confirmed': Council Meeting (Members only).

Event location code:

ECB: East Cornwall Branch Meeting at The Public Hall, Liskeard, 7:30pm.

KEM: King Edward Mine, Troon, 7:30pm.

TBA: To be arranged.

NB: Trevithick Society Council Meetings (“Council”) are listed for the information of members; only members of the Council may attend.

  • East Cornwall events: Will be notified in the Newsletter.
  • Field trips will be arranged and announced later.
About Us
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The Trevithick Society is one of the oldest industrial preservation societies in the UK. As an educational charity the Society aims to encourage an interest in Industrial Archaeology.

The Trevithick Society, a registered educational charity (no. 246586)...


Membership of the Society is open to anyone anywhere in the World.

Members receive many benefits including copies of our publications and free entry into certain places...



The Trevithick Society is always short of manpower for its various projects.

You don't need to be a member of the Society to be a volunteer.

There are many ways to volunteer your help...

News and Noteworthy Items

Trevithick Society

The Trevithick Society - 'Tour Notes'

'Tour Notes' were produced for Members attending the Society's recent AGM Weekend in Bude and North Cornwall.

We have some copies left and can offer them at a price of £6.00 plus postage.

The Notes are in A4 spiral bound format and contain 54 pages of text and maps on the sites visited. These include Delabole Quarry, the Tintagel coastal slate quarries, Prince of Wales Quarry engine house and the Bude Canal.

Requests please to the Society Chatline 01209 716811


Trevithick Society

The Trevithick Society Digitisation Project...

Many museums and archives are digitising their collections to improve collections management, enhance public access and to develop e-learning opportunities.

The Trevithick Society has been digitising its collections with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund to promote access and participation and to develop school learning resources.

The project is a great opportunity for the Society to appraise its collections and plan future management but also a great opportunity for volunteers to learn about Cornwall’s industrial heritage whilst making significant contribution to its preservation and promotion.

A small team of volunteers has been photographing objects and scanning documents towards the new website at our Heartlands studio and this work needs to continue beyond this specific project to encourage new people to become involved in the Society and help develop it’s aims and to safeguard it’s collections for future generations.

If you are interested in working on the project by scanning at Heartlands or by enhancing records online please get in touch:

Trevithick Day, Camborne 2014

The Trevithick Society Office at Heartlands


Trevithick Society

Coming Soon!

A striking landmark in West Penwith is the Greenburrow engine-house of Ding Dong Mine, visible in all directions from its lofty moorland perch. In contrast the story of the mine itself is relatively unknown.

Numerous small tinworks were operating in this area in the 17th century while Ding Dong Mine is mentioned as far back as 1751.

In the 1790s it was the scene of legal wrangles between Richard Trevithick and Boulton & Watt. In the early 19th century Ding Dong Mine amalgamated with the adjacent Wheal Malkin and worked more or less successfully until 1877.

In its final 20 years of operation Ding Dong produced nearly 3,000 tons of black tin at a value of just under £155,000.

This history also includes studies of the adjacent East, North and South Ding Dong Mines; West Ding Dong, lying several miles away, is not included.

The book also contains valuable wider insights into the early years of the tin industry of west Cornwall.

Publication date: 31st May 2014.

Ding Dong Mine - A History

Peter Joseph and Gerald Williams, well known historians of the Penwith mining area, have researched the story of this historic mine from original sources over some years.

The Trevithick Society is now able to make this available to readers for the first time. Only £15.99.


Trevithick Society

Spread the word!

Click to download this poster as a printable PDF
Download this poster as a printable PDF

Trevithick Society

The Trevithick Society Publications - updated details...

Reviewing our sales figures and trends, we have decided to reduce the price of two of our publications with effect from 31st March.

  • The "Mechanical Methods of Dressing of Tin Ores 1858, Moissenet" reprint is to be reduced to £13.99
  • The "Harveys of Hayle, Trade Catalogue 1884" to £6.99.

"Marconi at The Lizard" is currently reprinting 350 copies; the reprint will be £9.99 as against £7.99 for the previous edition.


Trevithick Society

The Trevithick Society events 2014 - updated details...

  • " The 29 March field trip, A Walk around Pentewan, will meet in The Square at Pentewan at 2.00pm. There is a small amount of parking in The Square, but just prior to arriving there, a public car park on the right. Just follow the Pentewan sign off the St. Austell - Mevagissey road."
  • " Our contribution to the remembrance of the breaking out of World War I will be on 10 October, when our Chairman, Phil Hosken, will be the speaker, with illustrations, at our usual monthly meeting, 7.30 at King Edward Mine, on ... Steam on the Western Front. As far as we know, this is the only consideration of this aspect of war logistics. "

Trevithick Society

The Trevithick Society 2014 AGM - Field trip details...

We have produced a handy downloadable and printable guide to activities, times and places surrounding the Annual General Meeting this year.

Adobe Acrobat Version
Rich Text Format

Trevithick Society

Apologies for the recent technical problems on the website!

During our move to a new server home we experienced a chain of minor technical problems which have now been resolved.

We are however still experiencing a few email problems which should be resolved shortly with the aid of our providers.



Trevithick Society

The Journal of the Trevithick Society

All surplus stocks of the Society Journal are now held in house by the Society. Tormark no longer hold any copies of the Journal.Please address all enquiries for copies of the Journal initially to Graham Thorne, Publications Secretary and Journal Editor, who will arrange for them to be sent to you.

We are able to supply copies of all editions except for Numbers 9, 12, 13, 14 & 17. The price for copies of the Journal, including postage is £6.00 for issues up to and including Number 33 (2006), and £11.00 for subsequent issues. There will be a reduction for copies collected from Camborne. The 2014 Journal will be Number 41. For copies of the ‘missing’ years it is worth looking at websites such as The Society is always interested in receiving Journals surplus to owners’ requirements.

The last Index to the Journal, covering Numbers 1 (1973) to 27 (2000) was issued in 2000. It is our intention to issue an updated version during 2014. This will be available as a download from the Society website with a printed version supplied on demand at a nominal cost.

Graham Thorne


Trevithick Society

2014: 100 years on from the outbreak of The Great War.

The programme card which will fall on every member’s doorstep with the January mailing will show for 10 October an expectation of a ‘Symposium’ style meeting.

This has now been altered and our programme will reflect the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 with a presentation from our Chairman.

STEAM ON THE WESTERN FRONT 10 October 2014, 7.30pm at King Edward Mine.

A presentation by Phil Hosken of remarkable French images depicting narrow gauge, big guns and comforts for the troops. The pictures were made available to the Trevithick Society following its trip to France in 2013.

All are welcome to our KEM meetings, whether members or not.

A History of Mining Education in Cornwall

A History of Mining Education in Cornwall

On its 125th Anniversary Camborne School of Mines announces the publication of an important book that records the history of mining education in Cornwall.

During the past 125 years thousands of men and women have been arriving in Camborne from all over the World to become leading mine engineers and executives. What they experienced and learnt at Camborne School of Mines remained with them all their lives and shaped their culture and careers. But it didn’t all start when Camborne School of Mines first opened its doors. The first germ of an idea in Cornwall to educate miners in the finer arts of winning metal ores can be traced back to 1792 and the subsequent proposal of John Taylor in 1829 when he published his Prospectus of a School of Mines in Cornwall.

Since that time Camborne and its surrounding mines have become an essential part of the international mining scene, providing the expertise to create industries and incalculable wealth.

For several years Lawrie Piper, M.Sc., M.Ed., former principal of what is now Cornwall College, has painstakingly researched those years, the administrators and tutors involved, the students, their achievements and their activities. He has produced a 450pp volume that is essential reading for graduates and other historians. It includes an Ex Libris book plate on which owners can inscribe details of their graduation and career.

ENJOY 20% SAVING by dealing direct! Published by the Trevithick Society with support from the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership this £30.00 book is available at a discounted price of just £24.00 plus carriage of £6.00 in the UK or £15.00 airmail overseas..

Orders for this important book may be placed in three alternative ways:

  1. With despatch details by e-mail and PayPal to,
  2. With despatch details to the same e-mail with a payment being made direct to Trevithick Trading Ltd account number 80501603 at Barclays Bank plc, Truro, Sort Code 20 87 94
  3. Or, with a Sterling cheque made payable to Trevithick Trading Ltd at Trevithick Society, CSM, PO Box 62, Camborne TR14 7ZN, U.K.
Trevithick Society

Trevithick Society: Current Publications: 2014

  • Ding Dong: A History, by Peter Joseph and Gerald Williams, 2014, Paperback £15.99
  • Camborne School of Mines: A History of Mining Education in Cornwall, by Lawrence P S Piper, 2013 Hardback £30.00
  • Devon Great Consols: A Mine of Mines, by R J Stewart, 2013 Hardback £42.99, Paperback £24.99. Long- awaited history of this legendary producer of copper and arsenic.
  • Genius: Richard Trevithick’s Steam Engines, by Philip Hosken, 2013 Paperback £7.99. Bestselling popular account of the great engineer and his activities.
  • From Holman Brothers to Compair, by Clive Carter & Peter Joseph, 2013 Paperback £18.50. The story of Camborne’s great engineering company, known to miners and engineers world wide.
  • Levant: A Champion Cornish Mine, by John Corin & Peter Joseph, 2013 Paperback £10.99. A newly updated history of the mine which now includes a description of the industrial archaeology and a self-guided site tour.
  • So Very Foolish: A History of the Wherry Mine, Penzance, by Peter Joseph, 2012 Paperback £4.99. Read how tin was mined a quarter mile offshore in Mounts Bay.
  • H G Ordish, Early Mining Photographs 1920-1933, 2011 Paperback £16.00. Photographs of a little known period of Cornish mining, most never previously published.
  • The History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District, 1863, by Webb & Geach, 2011 Paperback £10.99. A C19 guide to the great mining bonanza in the Liskeard area with new notes on what can be seen today.
  • Dolcoath Mine, by J A Buckley, 2010 Paperback £25.99. A full history of this incredibly rich mine by our leading mining historian.
  • Mechanical Methods of Dressing of Tin Ores 1858, by Leon Moissenet, 2010 Hardback (new price): £13.99. A detailed view of C19 mineral dressing, now published in English for the first time.
  • Hard Graft: Botallack in the Twentieth Century, by Peter Joseph, 2010 Paperback £16.99. A study of the unsuccessful final years of the mine plus a detailed interpretation of what remains today.
  • Marconi at The Lizard, by Courtney Rowe 2010 Paperback (new price): £9.99. The key place of The Lizard in the history of communications explained.
  • Cornish Engines and the Men who Handled Them, by J H Trounson 2009 Paperback £4.99. The day to day operation of the Cornish Engine described by a leading authority.
  • Tin and Diamonds: A Life of Francis Oats, by Claire Leith, 2009 Paperback £4.99. A short life of this great Cornish mining entrepreneur and his activities at home and abroad.
  • Harveys of Hayle, Trade Catalogue 1884, 2009 Paperback (new price): £6.99. Harvey & Co.’s span of activities at their height are graphically shown in this catalogue.
  • Cornish Explosives, by Bryan Earl, 2006 Hardback £15.00. Quite simply the definitive work on this vital industry now available at a stunning bargain price.
  • Illustrated Catalogue of Pumping and Winding Engines: Perran Foundry, 1875, 2005 Paperback £12.99. The products of another Cornish industrial giant described and illustrated.
  • Mine Accidents in the St Just District, by Peter Joseph, 1999 Paperback £2.99. A study of the human cost of mining in one small area.
  • Drawings of the Levant Whim, by Courtney Rowe, 1998 Paperback £6.99. A unique set of scale drawings of the preserved steam winding engine at Levant Mine.

Trevithick Society publications are distributed to the trade by TorMark who can also supply individual copies to customers by post. Trevithick Society members receive a 10% discount on all orders from TorMark, not just Society publications.

United Downs Industrial Estate
St Day
TR16 5HY
01209 822101

All other Trevithick Society publications are now out of print but most can be found at specialist second hand booksellers or websites such as

The Society’s annual Journal is now in its 41st year and a number of back issues are available from the Society.

Please address all requests for these and all queries regarding publications to:

The Publications Secretary, 11 Heriot Way, Great Totham, Maldon, Essex, CM9 8BW.
Tel: 01621 892896

From Holman Brothers to Compair

From Holman Brothers to Compair

From Holman Brothers to Compair was published on 24 th August and is a completely revised and much enhanced edition of the Society's previous book on Holmans.

The book brings the Holman story right up to final closure. It also covers other companies which came within the Holman orbit, notably Climax at Tuckingmill. The social side is not neglected and there is also coverage of the Holmans sports teams.

New The reprint of the Holman book is now available!

Authors: Carter, Clive, & Joseph Peter.
Type: Large format Paperback, 342 Pages.
ISBN: ISBN 978 0 904040 94 4
Publisher: The Trevithick Society, Camborne, 2012.
Price: £18.50

Trevithick Society

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

It is a sad fact that many who are reading this still think that a virus is something likely to give us a cold and a tablet is the counter measure we take to alleviate the symptoms. We are beginning to understand that a mice are now more likely to live on our desks than under the skirting boards but apps, Face Time, Cloud Computing, all sorts of iThings and Smart thises and thats are best left to the youngsters who don’t talk to us anymore.

Marc Prensky is the inevitable American who has studied the situation from an educationalist’s point of view and speaks of those who have grown up in the digital age as its confident Natives while the rest of us are mere Immigrants who will never wholly grasp the native language.

In one of his essays he starts by saying, ‘Today’s students have not just changed incrementally from those of the past, nor simply changed their slang, clothes, body adornments, or styles, as has happened between generations previously. A really big discontinuity has taken place. One might even call it a “singularity” – an event which changes things so fundamentally that there is absolutely no going back. This so-called “singularity” is the arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century.’

The youngsters today are being born into an age that has changed radically in the past ten years. My son-in-law is a Senior University Lecturer who tells me that many of the newly arriving students have to be taught to e-mail because they have grown up with later forms of communication.

Prensky goes on to talk about the rise in digital technology and says, ‘It is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. These differences go far further and deeper than most educators suspect or realize.’

The stunning reality of this essay by Prensky is that it was written in 2001, before social networking, Smart phones and everything we see about us today. To find out just what Prensky said then and now, go Digital Natives on the Trevithick Society web site and open up his essays.

Downloadable PDF documents - links below:

We, as Digital Immigrants, have one foot in the past, have come from a different environment and will always speak digitally with an ‘accent’. No longer can we imagine a cosy scene with children around a fire being instructed in their heritage by their parents and grandparents. Nevertheless, we have a cause and a responsibility to pass on the story of Cornwall’s remarkable industrial past to the leaders of tomorrow. The youngsters of today are very clever but they have been programmed differently to their predecessors.

If Cornwall is to retain its integrity in this changing world its leaders need the knowledge upon which its livelihood was based. This society is beginning to digitise its possessions and, in so doing, it is embarking on a journey where it can’t look back.



Trevithick Society

Trevithick Memorial Lecture

The story of Richard Trevithick has developed down through the years as each author has added his or her interpretation of the events researched or imagined by their predecessors. There is nothing unusual in this, much of history has been written in a similar manner.

It is therefore refreshing to re-examine the work of Prof Inglis. FRS, OBE. It is clear from his Trevithick Memorial Lecture to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1933 on the centenary of Trevithick's death that his research as an engineer into the life, experiences and achievements of Cornwall's greatest inventor took him beyond the mechanical aspects of his subject into the lives of those who surrounded him.

Like many authors he fell foul of the anecdotes of Trevithick's third son and biographer, Francis, but did criticise him for the lack of homely detail about his father. Rather surprisingly, he endorses the operation of the second phase of Savery's engine; something any student of steam engineering could see could never have worked. He also failed to recognise the duplicity of Davies Gilbert although his suspicions were obviously alerted when he queried why the application to parliament on behalf of Trevithick, which was entrusted to Gilbert, was never presented. Like many before and since, he was deceived by the "folly and madness" valediction at the end of Francis Trevithick's book.

Otherwise the fourteen closely typed pages of his lecture contain an in-depth study of Trevithick's attainments and the circumstances surrounding all aspects of his life. It is recognised as an authoritative account of his life by an eminent professor who, as a renowned civil engineer, academic and politician whose work included the design of temporary military bridges during the Great War and heading the enquiry into the R101 disaster, clearly sets out his achievements and many of his relationships. When describing the latter he uses just a few words to sum up what must have taken much patient research.

You can download the full original lecture by courtesy of the Institution of Civil Engineers at Inglis Lecture PDF

Contact Details

Membership of the Society is open to anyone anywhere; we particularly welcome membership applications from young people and those living abroad. Members receive the annual Journal and the quarterly Newsletter (Student members receive the Newsletter only). All members are entitled to attend the outings and lectures, and the Annual General Meeting (in May).

Members also have free admission to Cornish Engines (at Pool) as well as to Geevor Tin Mine.

If you have any enquiries regarding membership please contact the Membership Secretary. An online membership form is available on this website but please note this needs to be printed off and sent to the Membership Secretary with your remittance. If you cannot print the form we will gladly send you one.


  • Student members (under 21) - £5.00
  • individual members - £20.00
  • Family/joint members - £25.00
  • Overseas members - £25.00
  • Corporate members - £25.00

All postal enquiries:

The Trevithick Society
PO BOX No. 62
TR14 7ZN

Email addresses:

Please direct all publications enquiries initially to: the Publications Secretary, 11, Heriot Way, Great Totham, Maldon, Essex CM9 8BW.
Tel: 01621 892896

For any enquiries regarding the website, please contact Webmaster

Any personal information gathered through this website is not, and will never be, divulged to any other organisations.

To the best of our knowledge the information given here is correct, however we do not offer any warranty, either direct or implied. All persons submitting or using information via this site shall do so entirely at their own risk and shall hold the Trevithick Society and its agents free from any liability howsoever arising.

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The Trevithick Society