Copper Triangle Essay

961 words - 4 pages

Instead of a bath tub or shower washbasin's or a cast iron pot were used. The water had to be pumped from the water pump in the front garden. Many of the Cornish houses were built without a plan for a bathroom. Water was drawn from an underground tank and heated on the kitchen fire. The toilet/lavatory used were earth closets consisting of a plain wooden toilet seat and a long drop. Ashes from the house would have been poured tipped into the pit and squares of newspaper used instead of toilet paper. As the family grew it was common to extend the house. This can be seen because of the uneven roof extensions as the additional rooms were added on to the cottages which started off with only two rooms.Life during the copper rush was hard on the many families that lived there. Many of the men worked in the copper mines and did not see the light of day. A typical day started at 6:00 am and finished at 6:00pm when they would return home to their wives who looked after the home. Lunch would be a Cornish pasty which was cooked by the "missus". Young boys of ten and over would often join their fathers at the site and pick through the tailings for copper pieces of any value. These boys were often called young "picky boys". The young girls would stay at home with their mother and help with the domestics and looking after the kids. There were many cases when a mining accident occurred and father was killed. This would be a major economic loss and often when this happened, the women were lent pressing machines to help them earn money. If there was a young son he would be able to earn a little money working as a "picky boy" in the tailing heap. If their family was part of a guild they would receive a small amount of money to live off. If the mother died, often the younger family members would also die as father would be to busy working to look after his children. When we visited the cemetery at Moonta it was seen that the life expectancy of those living in the 1860's would be shorter. Many young children were buried with their mothers, often only a couple of weeks old. This would probably have been because of the difficulty of childbirth. All child birth's were natural and if anything went wrong often the mother and baby would die together. The most common reason of death would be from working in the mines, diseases due to poor hygiene and the death of a mother or father figure. The oldest age of death was 83 and the youngest a mere 2 weeks.The Wheal Hughes engine house (see appendix Five) is still standing to this day and is a constant reminder of the hard work that many of the Cornish miners had to endure to bring home...

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