In the village of Luckett in the Tamar Valley in Cornwall there are two historic miners cottages which remain unchanged since the 19th century when thousands of Cornish men and women left the County following the collapse of the tin and copper mining industry. They went to the United States of America, to South Africa, to Australia and indeed to anywhere in the world where deep hardrock mining skills were needed. Today the descendents of this diaspora are still proud of their heritage and the traditions brought from Cornwall. The working and living conditions which led to the exodus of more than 40% of Cornwall's working age population in the 19th and early 20th centuries, were harsh. Despite this vibrant communities flourished and the traditional music, architecture and the pasty were taken to new Cornish settlements established across the globe.
Most of the homes which the emigrants left behind have disappeared or have been converted into modern homes. The two cottages at Luckett, part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site, remain much as they were when up to 14 people occupied them between long shifts in the nearby mines. They have been purchased by the East Cornwall Mining History Association (Charity Number 1082887 ) which plans to rescue them from further decay and then to restore them as an educational resource to show how miners and their families lived. Some essential survey and stabilization work has been completed and currently ECMHA is seeking support and funding to allow repair and development on the cottages and their surrounding gardens.
Anyone who has a family link or an interest in the history of Cornish mining will be able to see at first hand, the living conditions which were commonplace in 19th century. A lack of sanitation, heating and running water led to the ready spread of disease and infection and yet these were people who worked long hours for uncertain reward.
The Luckett cottages will be a place to remember the working communities of Cornish men and women and perhaps to inspire new art, writing and research.
A Cornish mine engine house today