Copper Mine National Park, Virgin Gorda
The ruins located on the southeastern point of Virgin Gorda, were declared a BVI National Park on March 28, 2003. The honourable Ralph T. O'Neal, then Chief Minister, and several other government dignitaries revealed a lovely plaque, set in local stone found at this location to commemorate the event.
The Copper Mine was constructed in 1837 and its first shaft was sunk in 1838. In two separate periods over the next 24 years, 36 Cornish miners from England extracted ore from this site with the indispensable aid of some 140 BVI workmen. The mine was finally abandoned in 1862 and has stood as testament to these industrious men ever since.
The shaft was driven by a coal powered, steam engine of Cornish design. The miners extracted the precious ore, send it by ship back to South Wales and would return with provisions, wood for construction, pay for the workers and coal with which to power their steam engine. Records reveal that by 1860, the shaft had reached a depth of 240 feet below sea level!
Parts of the original stack, the engine house and the main building are all that remain. The Copper Mine Committee in cooperation with the National Parks Trust, have undertaken to reconstruct this site using the footprint of the buildings and plans developed by archaeologists familiar with the work of these Cornish miners and their engineers.
To this day, you can still see the rich veins of copper which attracted the miners to this ruggedly beautiful point and its spectacular views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The coppermine road leading to this historic site was originally built by the miners, allowing them to haul their ore to Spanish Town for shipment to South Wales. Along the road, visitors will see a great view of Fallen Jerusalem!
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Launched: October 14, 2004 - Last Updated: January 27, 2014