Rare Flash Photography Shows Cornish Miners In The 1890s Toiling Deep Underground

    The images show the perilous conditions miners operated in.

    In the 1890s photographer J.C.Burrow was commissioned by Cornwall's mine owners to showcase their technology in a series of illustrated guides.

    The images Burrow captured show the miners operating what was then state-of-the-art machinery deep underground.

    The black and white images also highlight the stifling conditions in which the Cornish miners worked.

    Burrow's pictures are some of the earliest examples of flash photography ever attempted in Britain.

    Burrow, with the help of the miners, used lamps filled with highly flammable magnesium powder to produce the flash.

    His pictures highlight how the mines were constructed and the precarious-looking wooden beams and ladders installed underground.

    However, capturing the images was difficult and time-consuming.

    Burrow wrote of the process: "It is a rather disheartening experience to find the results of a whole days work with an energetic band of helpers are not 'printable', but such experience was mine on more than one occasion."

    "The work, however is so full of interest, and its performance so productive of welcome enlightenment on many critical points, that I have no intention of allowing it to remain where it is."

    A copy of ‘Mongst Mines and Miners, Underground Scenes', by J.C. Burrow is expected to fetch £2,250 at an auction later this week.