Tag Archives: Mining

Water, water everywhere…

If anyone was in doubt about the rates we are paying for water services in Cornwall, here’s a little revelation I had a few weeks ago talking to two lovely couples, one from Somerset, the other from Cumbria. The couple from Somerset pay £180 a year to their water provider, the couple from Cumbria £300 and we, in Cornwall pay up to £1200 a year?
What’s the rationale for such difference? Really… what?

As we know, Cumbria and Cornwall both have more water than Somerset in terms of lakes and beaches. Yes. Therefore more tidy up, more spending on xxx.
And clearly the usage in Cornwall rises massively during the silly season, likewise in visitor-rich areas such as the lakes in Cumbria.
It is still a massive disparity.

As we are talking water, why then, are places like Wheal Jane mine near Truro – an incredibly wet mine – under the auspices of the Environment Agency, looked after by (previously) Hyder Water, United Utilities and presently Veolia?

Is it that, with all their tireless work within Cornwall, SWW couldn’t compete with other operators around Britain? After all, they’re too busy fleecing the likes of me and you to worry about getting involved with dirty stuff! They can’t even dig the roads up anymore without farming it out to someone else!

The people of Cornwall are being taken for a ride, left, right and centre and the water problem is one of many.
I’m sure a better person than I, can and will answer the questions posed but really it comes down to the fact we’re all paying over the odds for services here in Cornwall (for the benefit of others) and water, that most of the time, tastes just like the water up Carn Brea swimming pool!


The Duke, the Statue and the Money

Some weeks ago, Charles Saxe Coburg-Gotha or ‘Windsor’ as he likes to call himself, aka The Duke of Cornwall, very ‘kindly’ sent a cheque, for an undisclosed amount (£500 according to An Helghyer’s sources) to the people raising money to erect a statue in memory and honour of the countless miners who lost their lives or suffered debilitating illness from their work underground in the St Just and Pendeen districts.

Now, the good people of St Just and Pendeen have, for years, been doing all they can to raise money to have made and erect this fine statue.
It is expected to cost around £40,000 and they, through various auctions, public events etc have raised thousands towards it but are struggling to reach the target.

My point, is this: I find it a bit sick that the Duke of Cornwall couldn’t have coughed up the remainder in order for this statue, which was first mooted in 2000, to be made.
Since the creation of the Dukedom in 1337, the successive Dukes have made a pretty penny out of Kernow over the years, with Charles being the latest leech.
For all the Duchy of Cornwall’s contemporary talk of a ‘Private estate’, anyone with an ounce of historical knowledge knows this to be blatantly not the case. (see here for more info)

In terms of why this is relevant to mining and a miners’ statue is as follows: for a five hundred year period, ‘tribute’ or ‘coinage’ was levied against the tinners of Cornwall by the successive Dukes of Cornwall. This meant vast sums of money worked for, by Cornishmen in blood and sweat, leaving the country and going into the pockets of the gad-about Dukes to lead excessive and lavish life-styles.

It has been worked out, that in today’s money, the revenue from tribute over the five hundred year period it lasted, is around £20 billion.

Even after tribute had ceased, vast sums still poured (and still does) from Cornwall to the Duke.
Edward Albert Saxe Coburg-Gotha (Edward VII) was Duke of Cornwall from 1841 until he became King in 1901. At 19, his wealth from the Duchy stood at, in today’s terms, £60,000,000. Huge amounts of Duchy income were spent on his gambling and the debts there accrued. In 1847, whilst the Cornish men, women and children from whom the spoils were drawn, were dying in the streets from starvation, the Duke was living it up, sailing down the Nile, accompanied by an entourage of boats containing some ten thousand pints of beer, three thousand bottles of champagne and four thousand bottles of claret!

And so to today. Ol’ Charlie can only spare a donation. You’d think that out of some sort of thought for the common man, whom over the centuries has created the wealth and paid for the homes this peculiar man now enjoys, he might see his way to shelling out forty grand (a paltry sum) in order to honour some of the bravest men who ever lived (and who actually knew what a hard day’s work was!).
Alas no. After all, he’s only the head of a Private Estate, isn’t he?