The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (Cornish Mining) today became a World Heritage Site, recognised as having cultural importance on a global level.
The decision was taken by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania following a submission by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on behalf of the World Heritage team.
Cornish Mining represents one of the longest histories of industrial heritage conservation in the world and is unique in being the first of its kind concerned with the mining and ore processing of tin and arsenic, together with copper and other industrial metals. Through these advances the industry contributed substantially to the industrial revolution in the rest of Britain.
Over 70 organisations have been involved in putting the bid together, which was the largest and most complex application ever submitted by the UK Government. Cornish Mining now joins the ranks of world-famous sites such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon.
The World Heritage Site covers mining landscapes dating from 1700 to 1914, when deep hard-rock mining was developed locally and major technological developments within the area helped to transform mining both locally and worldwide.
Made up of ten distinct areas where the physical remains of mining from this period are best represented, the Site includes the mines themselves, the remains of the early infrastructure and the surviving evidence of its social and economic consequences including distinctive settlement patterns.
Adam Paynter, Chair of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Partnership, said: “This is fantastic news and I am over the moon that our bid has been successful. A lot of organisations and people have been involved in the bid and I am delighted everyone’s hard work has been rewarded in such a fabulous way.
“World Heritage Inscription seeks to identify, protect and preserve the world’s cultural and natural heritage considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape now officially belongs to the world and we are the custodians charged with ensuring our heritage is preserved for the enjoyment of future worldwide generations.”
“We should all be amazingly proud that UNESCO has recognised the important role Cornwall and West Devon’s mining history has to play in the world’s arena, asking it to join the ranks of places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia that make up our world’s heritage.”
Nick Johnson, World Heritage Site Bid Manager said “This Inscription recognises that the cultural identity of Cornwall and West Devon was transformed by mining during the 18th and 19th Centuries. For a time the region was the world’s greatest producer of tin and copper and the Inscribed area provided the essential raw materials for the industrialisation of the world. This took on global significance as a result of the mass migration of miners overseas.
“175 locations worldwide have known Cornish mining connections, in America, Australia, Mexico and Spain substantial mining landscapes survive. But as importantly so do the cultural traditions of Cornish mining including its family names. An estimated 6 million people worldwide are descended from migrant Cornish; we hope to use the Inscription of Cornish mining as the impetus for further reconnecting this extended world family.”
Stephen Gill, a Chief Planning Officer who sits on the WHS Officer Working Group added: “This is fantastic news. I am absolutely delighted for everyone on the team who has worked so hard pulling the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage bid together.
“Nominated for its cultural landscape, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape offers a real insight into our heritage and how mining in this area of the south west helped to shape the future of the industry across the world.
“World Heritage status brings opportunities to build on the environmental, economic and social well-being of the area and its wider hinterland, particularly through sustainable tourism with its all year round attractions. The status puts us on the World map as a place of international significance. Along with bringing a sense of pride to the community, the economic benefits will be huge.
“Evidence from other World Heritage Sites prove that the status brings in more visitors and more money which in turn will lead to more jobs as well as protecting existing jobs too. It’s already been estimated that the new status will bring in an extra 60,000 visitors to Cornwall and West Devon every year.
“We now look to the future of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape as a unique area to be protected and conserved for generations to come.”
The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site bid was prepared on behalf of the UK Government - The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and funded by The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Partnership, which includes: Cornwall County Council, Devon County Council, West Devon Borough Council, The Objective One Partnership, South West of England Regional Development Agency, Kerrier District Council, Penwith District Council, Carrick District Council, Restormel Borough Council, Caradon District Council, North Cornwall District Council, English Heritage, The National Trust, the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as numerous others.
Notes for Editors:
For further information please contact:
Beverly Skilton, Cornwall County Council:
01872 322512 or 07800 610 688 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Miles, Devon County Council Media and PR Officer:
01392 383290 email@example.com
Alison Stoneham, West Devon Borough Council Media Officer:
01822 813648 firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed site includes mine sites and mining landscapes where there has been an exceptional survival of the physical remains. These are largely late 18th century, 19th century and in a few instances, pre-1914 mining remains. Ten areas have been identified as best representing the many different facets of Cornish and West Devon mining:
Luxulyan Valley and Charlestown
The Tamar Valley and Tavistock.
For more information log on to www.cornish-mining.org.uk
More information relating to World Heritage is available at http://whc.unesco.org/