Mining in this area has been written about as far back as 1720 and as suggested by their names both mines were owned by the Basset family the very influential landowners whose seat was at Tehidy.
Rivalry and boundary disputes existed between Wheal Basset, West Wheal Basset and South Wheal Francis but in 1896 the three mines merged to form the Basset Mines Ltd.
In his book “Mining in Cornwall” Vol. One. by J Trounson describes the stamps at the Basset Mine in the following way: “The rotative beam engine which drove these stamps was a very unusual one consisting of two engines joined together to make a double cylinder engine with cranks arranged at 90 degrees to one another thus making for easy starting as well as being a very powerful unit.”. Kenneth Brown and Bob Acton in their book “Exploring Cornish Mines” reports that this rotary beam engine eventually drove 96 heads of stamps.
The Basset mines were closed, due to a slump in the price of tin in December 1918 and miners returning from the Great War found themselves out of work. It is possible to see a date stone marked “AD 1854” in the granite ashlar bob wall at West Wheal Basset and today the old Basset Count House has been transformed into a restaurant.
Like South Wheal Frances, Wheal Basset and West Wheal Basset are part of the Great Flat Lode Trail for cyclists and walkers to explore. This trail circles Carn Brea hill and Carnkie, passing through Brea village, comes close to Troon in the west and Redruth to the east and contains a high concentration of historic mine buildings. It is dominated at its centre by the Basset monument on the top of Carn Brea. Plaques are provided giving information about the old mines and the activities of the time and there are even maps along the route to ensure no one gets lost.