Site History (1)
The Union Tin Smelting Works are located at Weir Quay next to the River Tamar and were in operation as a tin smelter from 1849 to 1896. It is understood this is one of only two tin smelters in the country. Smelting is the process of extracting a metal from its ore and uses heat and a reducing agent, like coal, to remove these other elements from the metal. The tin smelter was originally one of two adjacent smelters, including a silver/lead smelter to the west and together they formed the Tamar Smelting Works. In 1849 Tamar Silver Lead Mining Co set up a separate company, The Union Tin Smelting Company, to specialise in smelting tin and a specialist smelting works was constructed next to the existing silver/lead works.
Site History (2)
When the site was used as a smelting works the ores would have been brought in carts from the quay, to the west of the site, up an adjacent lane and deposited at the entrance gate and yard to the west of the smelting house. The weighing machine for the ore was originally located in this yard; although demolished, its original location can be discerned from a square mark in the surviving cobbles. The ore would then have been taken around the corner through the smelting house where the ore would be heated in reverberatory furnaces to extract the tin. The extracted tin would be stored in the adjoining buildings; unmanufactured metals in the store to the west and manufactured tin in a strong room on the east side next to the assay house, where the metal was tested for tin content. In 1854 the silver/lead works closed and in 1863 the tin smelting works followed suit.
Site History (3)
The tin works were reinstated in 1870 under the Tamar Tin Smelting Company and soon after the smelting house was enlarged to the east. The tin smelter was in use until 1896 when it stopped production. In later years the site was used as an estate workshop, until the end of the First World War, and the tin smelters were used as vats for manufacturing jam! Locally grown strawberries that fell short of being able to be sold at Covent Garden would have been delivered to the site ready to be turned into jam. After the jam factory closed, over the years the entire site fell into severe disrepair and was used for storage purposes. In March 1977 the site was listed as part of a World Heritage Site.
Recent History (1)
Our vendors started the restoration of the smelting works in the early 21st Century, and have worked very closely with English Heritage and the local planning department to ensure integrity of the site is maintained. The site was slowly cleared revealing the former buildings and walled gardens/yards and in early 2008 Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent was granted for the change of use of the former Count House into a 2 bedroom reverse level residential dwelling.
Recent History (2)
In early 2009 Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent was granted for change of use for the existing yard. This involved rebuilding what is now the workshops, potting shed, open fronted garage, 2 storey wash house and the gatehouse/store. Further repairs were made to parts of the boundary walls. In May 2013 Planning Permission was sought for conversion of The Jam Factory into additional residential accommodation. Over recent years our vendors have persevered and meticulously spent time restoring the various buildings and installing all services and a sewage treatment plant. Not only have the buildings been worked on but the grounds have been landscaped and improved. The transformation has been a credit to our vendors and the local contractors who worked closely with them.
The Tamar Union Smelting Works is approached from a quiet parish road onto a driveway for several vehicles. From here a view is enjoyed over adjoining countryside and woodland. The original Works pond is fed by a well and is now ornamental, with surrounding lawns and flowerbeds. The leat flowing by no longer feeds the site as it has been directed to The Works main drain. A brick paved pathway passes a newly installed bulk LPG facility and leads to the detached Utility House which has been divided into a utility room, WC, storage cupboard and houses the LPG gas boiler.
The Count House
The Count House has been converted into a reverse level 2 double bedroom dwelling. Approached up original stone steps to the open plan reception space which has been divided into 2 separate areas. The sitting area is a dual aspect room with bespoke wooden glazed windows, a solid oak floor with underfloor heating and a contemporary log stove. A staircase with glazed balustrading gives access to the ground floor accommodation. To one side of the staircase is the kitchen/dining area with a range of hi-gloss units incorporating integrated appliances and a large breakfast bar. Above the kitchen is an impressive mezzanine floor, currently used as a home office, dominated by one of the wooden A frames within the vaulted ceiling. The ground floor has solid ash flooring throughout with underfloor heating, two double bedrooms and a large family bathroom with separate double shower cubicle.
The Smelting House
Adjoining The Count House is The Smelting House which is a double-height building with an expansive hipped roof with original timber roof structure. Originally this roof would have had two large chimneys in the centre which no longer exist. The large intact timber queen-post roof structure is supported by two rows of cast-iron beams, some of which have a date stamp of 1849. The room would have contained three furnaces where the ores would have been heated to produce the tin. To the rear are numerous square windows which are all currently blocked-up. Feature oval openings with brick quoins are located at either end of the building. The front elevation has windows with timber louvres and large wooden doors leading out to an enclosed cobbled courtyard with further gates to the road. The majority of this building has original granite stone flooring. This huge space offers endless possibilities including storage, display of vintage motor vehicles or boats or conversion into further accommodation (subject to planning and listed building consents).
The Jam Factory
Adjoining The Smelting House is The Jam Factory which has been partially converted into residential accommodation. A new roof has been built along with rebuilt external stone walls with hung slate. Bespoke double glazed wooden sash windows are in place along with a block and beam floor. Underfloor heating has been installed on part of the ground floor with an LPG gas fired boiler. This building requires further works to complete the conversion but it is intended to be reverse level maximising the first floor views towards the River Tamar. Once completed, the ground floor could contain 3 bedrooms, family bathroom and en-suite.
Surrounding The Jam Factory to two sides is an enclosed courtyard area with location of former weighing scales and gates to the road. Leading from this area is a detached 2 storey Wash House. Rebuilt along with the rest of the yard, this building has a new roof and rebuilt external stone walls. The first floor has been divided into a shower room, WC and changing area, all requiring completion. Heritage roof lights and original openings complete the look. A staircase leads down to the ground floor which is used for storage and contains the air pump for the sewage treatment plant (STP). Large double doors lead out to the sizeable and level rear yard which could be turned into an enclosed walled garden.
To one side is a recently installed underground sewage treatment plant for the whole site. This yard area has separate road access with additional off road parking, where the Open Fronted Garage, separate Potting Shed and Extensive Workshops are located. Formerly derelict, our vendors rebuilt these using traditional materials. Beyond these buildings is a detached Gatehouse/Store which was fully restored in 2008 and was the first building to be converted at the site. The Gatehouse/Store is currently used as a workshop with power and light connected.
Adjoining open countryside, at the up-hill end, is ample off-road parking for several vehicles where the pond, areas of lawn and a brick path create a lovely welcome.
To the Northern side of the site is an elevated garden with vegetable patch, plus a sloping deciduous woodland beyond. Over the years our vendors have created various pathways through the woodland which is a real haven for local wildlife.
Mains electricity. Bulk LPG storage tank. Mains water. Private drainage (STP) with licence to discharge.
Council Tax Band
Our vendors have advised that they will be submitting a planning application for change of use of "The Jam Factory" from ancillary residential to a holiday let. (May-18)