That Sinking Feeling!

Karen Branson

12 March 2003 05:19

Seriously Speaking.....

Does anyone know why mine shafts in St. Ives are now collapsing after all these years? On the Belgian coast there has been recent subsidence due to wood pillars supporting underground tunnels, built during WW2, rotting and collapsing. Are the wood supports, in the St. Ives mines, now rotting and collapsing or is there another reason such as the water table?


Karen Branson

Vile Jelly

12 March 2003 15:39

To be honest, I don't really know.

I'll post this on the site to see if anyone else has any more meaningful contributions but a couple of educated guesses would be:-

The mines have been there for donkeys' years and properties have been subsiding for just as long (my current lair has a bit of a lean to one corner but according to surveyors it's settlement that occurred after the place was built and has long since stopped, rather than subsidence). Loads of properties in St. Ives are similarly 'slightly bent out of shape'. But back in the olden days people built smaller houses and were a bit more careful where they put them. However, in the last century the value of property down here and the growth of the population has meant that people have taken to stuffing properties down anywhere they can fit them. Most of top St. Ives (Ayr, Penbeagle, etc.) and Cardboard Bay are twentieth century creations.

I think that maybe with the spread of building and media it may just be a case of the problem being more widely reported rather than increasing in frequency. There haven't been any 'My god St. Ives is going to disappear down a big hole' stories in the news so it doesn't look like the authorities think the problem is growing alarmingly.

On the other hand, we have had the flooding of the Stennack (first time for 100 years) so maybe the water movement is opening things up. They certainly seem to think that the shaft they are trying to fill in at the very top of the Stennack was opened up a couple of years ago by increasing water flow through the river.

I'll let you know if any more holes appear (if we get 4,000 we'll be able to fill the Albert Hall!) ..... unless I fall down it, in which case I may be unavailable for comment.

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