At Wheal Euny Engine House



There were tears and laughter, silence and animated conversation – even circle dancing – as the Mining Memorial Day unfolded around St Euny, Redruth, on Sunday 14 September.

The programme notes for the event stated: ‘We reflect with pride at what has been achieved and the fame and wealth that mining brought to Redruth; the beauty that some find in the picturesque ruins of the industrial landscape; the price paid by those who lost their lives or health to mining…

‘… the legacy of pollution and dereliction in some places; the costly legacy of subsidence and the insecurity; and the possibilities offered by the growing heritage industry.’

To begin the day, 20 or so ‘pilgrims’ rambled their way to Wheal Basset Stamp House to be greeted by a brisk east wind and the wonderful sound of the Red River Singers as they matched the evocative surroundings with appropriate Cornish song.

Bishop TimScattering rose petals down the mine shaft at Wheal Euny Engine HouseFollowing a short service of thanksgiving, led by Bishop Tim, everyone made their way to Wheal Euny Engine House where the theme was one of remembrance. A poem written by Avril Blight, entitled ‘The Engine House’, was read; more singing from the Red River Singers, prayers and a hymn of remembrance expressed the thoughtful nature of this spot; and most poignant of all, children joined the adults to scatter rose petals down the open shaft.

'Pilgrims' in the churchyardAvril BlightThe pilgrim band swelled greatly in its numbers as it arrived back at St Euny churchyard and was joined by regular worshippers and visitors alike for a perambulatory celebration of hope. Avril Blight read a solemn poem – ‘The Long Mile’ – that described the death of a miner and included the lines: ‘She could tell; grieving, stricken faces when they came, but She heard the crack, loud above the thudding of the stamps, Downcast eyes of men made old, quiet voices brought the news.’

Camborne Redruth Mining Hospital MemorialAs the pilgrims made their way between the gravestones in the sprawling St Euny churchyards, they halted at various points to remember especially mining families, doctors who had cared for injured and dying miners, unborn and premature babies who died in Camborne Redruth Mining Hospital, and local people who had given their lives in the many wars of the 20th century.

"Thank-yous" inside St Euny ChurchThen it was into the church for the “thank-yous” from Revd Olive Stephens, an introduction to the art and exhibits on display, a final song from the Red River Singers and a spot of Cornish dancing culminating in a riotous circle dance around the pews!

Circle dancing!