EAST CORNWALL MINING HISTORY ASSOCIATION
Miners Cottages at Luckett
The miners’ cottages in Luckett are the last to have survived in Cornwall just as they would have been during Cornwall’s mining boom period in the mid-1800s. They offer a unique insight into the social history of Cornwall's mining heritage, with their earth floors and cramped and basic living conditions of the miners and their families even in times of relative prosperity. Records show each cottage housed a large family and lodgers in two tiny rooms, and shared a two-seater privvy out the back. It is no wonder that in times of hardship so many miners left Cornwall to find work abroad. You can find some more photographs on this page.
The lower, smaller cottage was the first to be built. It has one tiny room above the other with no link between them. The downstairs room has just an earth floor and one small open cooking hearth. The upper room was accessed separately from the top of the bank. Beyond a porch and lobby lay one tiny room with thick cob-like mortar on its curving walls.
When the second cottage was built, it butted onto the porch at the south end so it all sits on top of the bank as a single-storey two room cottage, with a lean-to at the south uphill end. (Interestingly enough the bank originally enclosed the Duchy Deer Park of Kerrybullock and the bluebell wood acquired with the cottages is a surviving remnant of the deer park.)
The second cottage has a central front door facing the road with a room on either side, but if one is in the north room, one can walk into the upper floor of the first cottage.
The lean-to at the south end appears to have been part of the original build, perhaps as a vegetable store off the kitchen with cloam oven (now blocked up). A later Victorian ‘Callington range’ is now to be found in this room. The lean-to might have been re-roofed in the C20th using second-hand timber and corrugated iron sheets. Behind it is a corrugated shed containing the privy, complete with wooden seat.
It is known that at one time 14 people lived in these cottages even before mining really developed. At the peak of the mining period, over one hundred people lived crowded in Luckett just in the stretch of road from these cottages to the centre of the village.
For years the cottages belonged to the farm opposite and were used for wet weather shelter activities and the garden has only been abandoned for the last 10 to 15 years. It is believed that Aubrey Penny, the son of the farmer, was born in the upper room in the early 1900s, because the farm was being renovated. In the Second World War it might have have been used for temporary lodgers.
It was when the Duchy of Cornwall submitted a planning application to convert and extend the cottages that moves were made to save them and ECHMA was born.
The aim is to restore the buildings and garden enough for people to be able to visit and get a feeling for what life might have been like to live in them, and to explain about the mining in this area. People will be able to visit in small groups since the cottage are fragile, and by prior arrangement ,so that parties can be properly guided round and given the full history.
Essential works on the cottages have now been completed, so current restoration will see them through any wet and windy weather over the winter months. All materials will carefully match the originals. Full restoration works should follow next summer, if all funding is in place by then—or sooner if possible!
Back to Home Page
Back to Projects Page