Decline of Cornish
Cornish mining slumps in 1870s
By the mid-1870s, mining Cornish minerals, particularly tin and copper, had become relatively
uneconomic following the discovery of comparable mineral deposits in South Africa, South America
and Central America (Mexico). As a result, some of the other local industries
that prospered during the heyday of Cornish mining, such as rope-making, brick-making,
mine-to-harbour haulage, and—to a lesser extent—the manufacture of explosives and safety fuses,
were severely affected by the downturn in Cornish mining.
Hard-rock miners sought after
Unable to compete on price, Cornish mines closed down and there was a mass migration of miners to
the newly discovered mineral deposits in South America, South Africa and Mexico, where there was a
high demand for, among other workers, skilled hard-rock miners from Cornwall and Germany. The pay
cheques of Cornish miners working abroad helped sustain impoverished Cornish communities, and "kept
poverty at bay for many families".
Adapted from 'History' section of the 'St Day Parish Plan'.