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John's parents bought the whole Croft site from Patrick Ryan in 1948. The Trelissick Manor Farm had passed through a number of hands before Ryan bought it in 1932. Soon the Croft was built amongst the mine waste and the property remained in the family until John sold it to the developers in 1987. 1982 saw a small parcel of land sold off for the realignment of Water Road when the new A30 bypass was made.
John says 'I was lucky enough in the early 1950s to be able to talk to one of the miners who had some interesting reminiscences - and it was a tough life. He walked every day from near Zennor, climbed down 100s of feet of ladders, worked 8 hours in the mine and then walked home to till his bit of ground. It's hard to believe.
One point he got slightly wrong was the precise location of the shaft. We were a bit worried in case it opened up one day and we were standing on that site at that time. Anyway he reassured us that the shaft was in the pit adjacent to the dump where household waste from Victorian times onward had been dumped. We avoided going into the pit. Much later on examination of the ground for building purposes we discovered the shaft was 20 or 30 feet away in the dump itself, where we had continued to walk around with no worries! In his defence of course almost 70 years had elapsed between his 2 visits and things had changed somewhat. The old miner recalled that on the last shift they were still excavating tin ore and bagging it to bring to the surface when the word came, forget it and leave it there as it is not worth bringing it up to the surface. His comment was that it was good quality ore as well. (In practice that was in April 1889 when the local newspaper recorded 'about 70 men were discharged from Mellanear Mine on Saturday'.)
The building stone of the mine was taken away and used in the construction of St Michael's hospital. I have a number of granite pieces from the site that were clearly deemed too poor in shape for building re-use, we brought them with us when we moved - and we are planning to take them with us on the next move! I think it was about 3 or 4 tons in all, much to the amusement of the movers we used. Hi-ab equipped lorries are a wonderful thing.
One other memory, 2nd hand, Miss Vivian who lived in Meadowside remembered that there was an aerial cableway from the shafts near the garage to the Croft bringing the ore for processing. Some of the wire cables were still in use as fencing on the Water Lane boundary when I lived there, possibly still are. They were about 3/4 " diameter.
Tresanton across the Lane from you was the Count House. In my early years there (Water Lane) it was occupied by the Paynter sisters, their brother was a sea captain and over many years had sent letters from all over the World. Many interesting stamps had been stuck on the wall of a passageway, I'm sure some of them were quite rare but probably made almost valueless through their display method. In the late 50s I think they had died and the property was being adapted from its still Victorian style and amenities. The builders were using the mine charts as temporary carpets to prevent dirt being carried into the house! My father rescued a number - there were many more. I attach an image of part of one of them.
More or less opposite Tresanton was the engine man's house, just above the entrance to The Croft, I assume this was his domestic accommodation although this is merely a guess. It's too far from the machinery to be used in some watch-keeping role. This was also pretty derelict in my early days there but there were a lot of small engineering items lying around from I suppose its last usage in the 1930s period. Rumour had it that it had also been a slaughter house at some point in time.
Mellanear's Bal Capn's house was strongly believed to be, fittingly, Mellanear House. I think it is still called that. (Exit Water Lane towards Hayle first big house on right hand side).