Two historic buildings at the heart of Cornwall’s industrial mining heritage will be given a new lease of life following a Council bid for more than £1.1m in European Funding.

The £1,126,248 grant from the ERDF Convergence Programme will go towards conserving and bringing back into economic use the Count House and Carpenters’ Shop complexes at King Edward Mine near Camborne.

The Council, which owns the derelict listed Grade II* buildings, is contributing up to £800,000 towards the scheme from its capital programme.

Using local distinctive building techniques and materials, the two buildings will be refurbished to create nine workspace units. This will also remove the Count House complex from English Heritage’s national 'Heritage at Risk Register'.

The units will be marketed to businesses within the 'creative industry sector',

King Edward Mine, the former home of Camborne School of Mines, was bought by Cornwall Council in 2009 and is leased to a local charity to run as a mining heritage attraction.

The site is recognised as having 'Outstanding Universal Value' as the best preserved mine within the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (WHS) for the pre-1920 period. The entire complex is within the WHS and includes sixteen buildings listed Grade II* and South Condurrow Stamps Engine House which is listed Grade II.

“World Heritage Site status for Cornish Mining brings with it international accountability and the responsibility to ensure that sites such as King Edward Mine are preserved,” said Cornwall councillor Julian German.

“Investing in the conservation and refurbishment of our historic industrial buildings so that they find new economic uses not only safeguards their future, but contributes to the local economy and often in the most deprived areas of Cornwall. The project will provide high quality, distinctive accommodation just outside Camborne, supporting the knowledge economy and creative industry sector.”

Tony Brooks, chairman, King Edward Mine, said: “This is great news, both for the site and also for the volunteer team that make King Edward Mine Museum what it is. The fact that the application has been a success is a reflection of the enormous amount of work that our partners the officers from Cornwall Council, Cornwall Development Company and our consultants have put into the project.

"For us it ticks all of the boxes – our historically important mine buildings will be conserved, work spaces will be created that we hope will be filled by local people and the income generated will be available to maintain the buildings.”

Francis Kelly, inspector of historic buildings for English Heritage in the South West, said: “We are delighted to hear about the ERDF’s generous grant towards this important community project. King Edward Mine is a remarkable survival, now the oldest complete mining site pre-1920 left in Cornwall.

It is special to many people on account of it being a mine training school until 1995. Nearly all the buildings on the site are listed Grade II* and three are on our Heritage at Risk Register. Research commissioned by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund working with Oxford Economics and Colliers International reveals that rescuing historic buildings does have a positive impact on the UK’s economy and has the proven ability to contribute to growth.”

The King Edward Mine Workspace Project is the result of several years of planning and consultation, leading to the creation of a conservation management plan and master plan for the site. The Workspace Project is the first of two major capital projects identified by the Council, with the second focussing on conserving the core museum buildings and enhancing the visitor experience. Under the aims of this second project, two redundant listed Grade II* buildings on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register will be bought back into life as an exhibition space and new café.

Robert Webber, local Cornwall councillor said that the funding would support the economy of the local area, generate employment and "ensure that the remarkable mining heritage of the Great Flat Lode is preserved for future generations to enjoy and gain inspiration from".

Deborah Boden, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Manager, said: “Sympathetic reuse of mine buildings such as these is welcomed by the World Heritage Site Office as it ensures their future sustainability. This project will restore the Count House and Carpenters’ Shop complexes to a very high standard, and thereby enhance the rest of the site which is operated by volunteers as King Edward Mine Museum.”

Cornwall Council recommends that individuals and businesses interested in the new workspace accommodation should contact Tamsin Daniel (Economic Development & Culture) by emailing or calling 01872 224753.

King Edward Mine is located to the south of Camborne, between the villages of Beacon and Troon, towards the western end of the Great Flat Lode valley.

Following the establishment of Camborne Mining School in the late 1880s, the eastern section of South Condurrow Mine (1864-1896) was leased from the Pendarves Estate and renamed King Edward Mine (KEM) in 1901. Three years later after the mine was equipped with new surface machinery, buildings and a new Mill, it was successfully operating as a training facility (above and below ground) for students of Camborne School of Mines, the main practical mine training school in the country.

The complex of structures making up the core area of the King Edward Mine site are unique in that they were almost all constructed during a single development phase (1897 – 1907), each for a specific function. It is extremely rare that most of the original buildings have survived without significant modification. For this reason, many have been accorded designation as Grade II* Listed Buildings (the associated South Condurrow stamps engine house is Listed at Grade II, and the nearby Fortescue’s Shaft pumping and winding engine houses on Grenville United Mine are Scheduled Monuments). The site is also a key element of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in recognition of the very important role it played in the development of the Cornish mining industry.

In 1974, Camborne School of Mines relocated to Pool, however King Edward Mine continued to be partly used for mining tuition until 2005. During this period, part of the site which included the important mill complex containing rare surviving collections of original mine machinery and rare milling equipment, became redundant. A volunteer group was set up in 1987 to try to preserve these now redundant structures, to restore the mill and in time to open it as a museum, which they achieved in 2001.

In 2005 the team of volunteers became incorporated as King Edward Mine Ltd, a not for profit company limited by guarantee and later, were also registered as a charity. In 2009, to safeguard the site’s future, Cornwall Council purchased King Edward Mine from the Pendarves Estate and begun a process of master planning, involving the local community and stakeholders. This project is the first of two significant capital schemes that will secure the long-term future of King Edward Mine, now the oldest complete mine site left in Cornwall.