Botallack has been referred to as the submarine mine, its ruined Cliffside engine houses perch remarkably close to the cliff edge and the tunnels extend under the sea. For this reason Botallack was well known and became almost a tourist attraction for royalty and adventurers. Royalty including Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort in 1846 and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in 1865,were among the famous visitors to go down the mine under the sea. Wilkie Collins the novelist wrote a terrifying account of his descent down into the mine in 1850. He reported that he could hear the roar of the surf above his head.
All miners faced the possibility of being injured or killed in the mine and many were blinded in blasting accident. At Botallack one such miner could not face life begging/hawking or help from the charity known as the parish relief and even though he was totally blind he continued to work underground to support his nine children. The book entitled Cornwall: Its Mines and Miners published in 1855 recounted that “such was his marvellous recollection of every turning and winding of this subterranean temple of human industry, that he became a guide to his fellow-labourers if by any accident their lights were extinguished.”
There was a widespread mine layout above the cliffs with eleven steam engines in 1865 and at this time Botallack employed 500 ‘persons’. Like many other mines in Cornwall the fall in the price of tin caused most of the mine to close in March 1895, although some workings still carried on in the shallow levels. Between 1907 and 1914 Botallack was reworked and arsenic flues and a stack were built on the cliff top. The ruins that are visible today show an arch carrying the flue which passes between the two main sections.