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Latitude: 52.4118 / 52°24'42"N
Longitude: -3.8651 / 3°51'54"W
OS Eastings: 273236
OS Northings: 280948
OS Grid: SN732809
Mapcode National: GBR 91.P50Y
Mapcode Global: VH4FG.YMJZ
Entry Name: Mine offices at Llywernog Mine
Listing Date: 22 June 1995
Last Amended: 25 November 2004
Source ID: 16075
Building Class: Commercial
Location: Situated some 200m N of A44 at Llywernog, in centre of museum complex.
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Mine office building of c1869-70, also known as the 'count house', originally containing offices, a sixteen horsepower steam engine of 1870, and workshops for carpenters and blacksmiths.
Llwyernog mine was discovered in the C18, said to have been worked as opencast by Lewis Morris c1744-56. Noted by Meyrick in 1810 as being about 40 years old, then worked by William Poole. Leased in mid 1820s to the Williams family of Scorrier House, Cornwall, and worked in a small way (references to other lessees in 1840 and 1852) before 1861. The Llywernog United Mining Co.. formed in 1858 (also working the Ponterwyd and Bog Mines) was bought out by Clara United Mining Co.. in 1859. Pumping problems were not solved until a 40' (12.2m) water wheel was bought in 1861 from Bodcoll Mine.
The mine's period of prosperity was short, from c 1861-1874, constantly troubled by inadequate water supply to turn the wheels to drain the workings. There were 14 men working in 1867, 24 in 1872. Captain John Davis was mine manager 1867-72, Captain John Evans 1872-?75. John Balcombe, the entrepreneur involved in the Queens Hotel Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge Hotel (both bankrupt c. 1866-7), was managing director from c. 1863. The Clara United Mine created a new company, the Llywernog Mining Co.. in 1868, and a rich ore seam was found in 1869, but drought prevented its exploitation before steam power was installed in 1870. The new office building dates from 1869-70, and housed the engine.
In 1871 the mine reached its greatest depth at 72 fathoms (132m) but there were continuing problems with finance and the company was re-formed in 1872. Returns to the mining journals gradually ceased in 1873, but it seems that in 1874-5 Balcombe tried to revive the mine, buying a 50' (15.25m) wheel to replace the 40' (12.2m) wheel. The wheel was made at Llanidloes and was one of the largest in the region. The mine was also linked to a new leat of some six and a half miles (10.5km) built to bring water from the upper Rheidol valley to Llywernog and other mines, but nothing more is recorded of Balcombe's company.
Sporadic work c1882-91 is recorded. Reopened again 1907-10 by the Scottish Cardigan Mines Ltd but nothing was produced. The giant wheel was scrapped in 1953. The site was restored from 1973 by Peter Lloyd Harvey as a museum.
A 1949 photograph shows the derelict office building, the giant waterwheel in its raised wheel-pit to left, adjoining the rubble stone square base of the rock-crusher house. On the hill behind is the roofless ore-dressing shed.
Mine office building, coursed squared local sandstone with yellow brick dressings and hipped slate roof. Small yellow brick right end chimney. Two-storey, seven-bay front with brick quoins. The five centre bays are close-spaced with 16-pane windows above three broad doors alternated with two similar windows. Windows have small panes in fixed or tilting lights, slate sills, yellow brick cambered-headed surrounds with rusticated jambs. Board doors in similar surrounds, the right door split as stable door. Right bay has broader 16-pane window over square 20-pane window, left side has taller doorway with small brick-framed blank roundel over.
Left end adjoins wheel-pit for 50' (15.25m) wheel (listed with crusher-house). Right end wall has raised chimneybreast. Rear is built into the slope and has two first floor doorways and a small roundel to right. Three C20 skylights in roof.
Interior restored as museum. Smith's hearth at E end.
Included as a rare surviving lead-mine office and for group value with the other listed buildings at this well-preserved mine-site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Other nearby listed buildings