(Formerly known as 'the MHTI in Spain')
In April 2004 the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland organised a return visit to the famous lead mining area around Linares in Spain. This part of Andalucia is unique for the seemingly endless vistas of Cornish engine houses and chimneys, often in lines following the veins, set amongst olive groves and subtropical sabana pastures dotted with grazing bulls.
There are remains from Bronze age and Roman mining and between about 1880 and 1970 the area was the largest producer of lead in Europe, with around 1300 individual mines. Some of the most successful ventures in the 19th Century were run by Cornish companies such as John Taylor & Co. and Thomas Sopwith jnr. Not only Cornish miners and their families made the journey to Spain, but also much of their machinery, which explains the many Cornish beam engine houses to be seen - one of the largest collections outside Cornwall.
The last mine closed in 1992, but the town of Linares is now thriving again and proud of its mining heritage. The energetic Arrayanes Colectivo has already done much to promote this pride and is busy setting up a museum in Linares.
As well as many sites with Cornish remains, we visit several recently closed modern mines and no less than two lead smelters, each with a tower for producing gun shot by allowing droplets of molten lead to cool as they fell through the air. In Linares we see mining monuments and the 'Cornish graveyard', a cemetery full of Cornish names, such as 'Bosistow', 'Kitto' and 'Tonkin'.
Featuring: Los Guindos, Los Curas, El Manto, Cerro del Plomo, Pozo Nuevo, Pozo Mirador, La Tortilla, San Andrés, San Ignacio, Antoñita Pozo San Cayetano, Mina la Gitana Pozo Rivero, La Esmeralda, El Cobre, San Fransisco Pozo Ancho, La Tortilla smelter, La Palmena, Minas de las Morras de Cuzna, La Cruz Pozo Union, La Cruz smelter, Pozo San Antonio de las Cadenas and San Vincente plus Peñalosa and El Poligono Bronze age sites near Baños de la Encina.
Thanks to Antonio Ángel Pérez and all at the Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes for their very generous help throughout our visit.
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The images on this page are taken from the video.