02 February 2024

Mineworkers’ Smallholdings within the Tamara Landscape Partnership area

A report has recently been produced looking at mineworkers' smallholdings in the Tamara Landscape Partnership area, within and around the Tamar Valley. 

While metalliferous mine sites with their component Cornish-type engine houses and other features are somewhat recognisable within the landscapes of Cornwall and west Devon, former mineworkers’ smallholdings are much less so. These are often mistaken as simply small fields, or clusters of small fields, associated with commercial farming.

Historically, these smallholdings comprised small subsistence farms whereby mineworkers would manage a small landholding of perhaps 3 to 5 acres in size, to grow fruit, vegetables and perhaps raise chickens or pig. In this way the income of the mineworker would be greatly supplemented by the efforts of the family at home.

This new study was commissioned by the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Office on behalf of the World Heritage Site Partnership, the Tamara Landscape Partnership and the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The research provides an excellent ‘snapshot’ of smallholding mineworkers living in the Tamar Valley in the mid-nineteenth century and the exhaustive genealogical detail contained with the respective case studies will be of considerable benefit to those undertaking genealogical research into families that have links with the valley and also those wishing to interpret this aspect of mining history.

Please view the report - ‘Mineworkers’ Smallholdings within the Tamara Landscape Partnership area’ - here

For more information on the Tamara Landscape Partnership scheme, please visit https://tamaralandscapepartnership.org.uk

This research was made possible through support from the Heritage Fund.