Skip to content
Home » Blogs » The Lidjessy silver-lead mines in Turkey

The Lidjessy silver-lead mines in Turkey

    Americans, William Sachtleben and Thomas Allen about to go underground at the Lidjessy Mine in 1891

    Not so Turkish Delight!

    Everyone has heard the old adage, ‘Wherever there is a hole in the ground, there’ll be a Cornishman working at the bottom of it.’ Looking at my map of the nineteenth century mining world, that comment certainly does not seem to be too wide of the mark. The stories of Cornish mining colonies such as Moonta, South Australia, Grass Valley, California, Real del Monte, Mexico, or Johannesburg, South Africa, are well known. But the Cornish went to some very remote and out of the way places too, and those histories have not been recorded. Until now. I am keen to highlight the less well known places to attract the Cornish miner, and the latest ‘spot’ to go red on my world map of destinations is Lidjessy in Türkiye (Turkey).

    © Dr Sharron P. Schwartz


    The discovery of some amazing images in the UCLA Online Archive (including the one above) spurred my interest in the Lidjessy silver-lead mines which are some 80 miles inland from the Black Sea port of Giresun. I was intrigued to learn that these mines had a particularly strong connection with my home town, Redruth, as several men either went there to inspect the mines, or to begin their mining careers working with, or under, world famous mine managers and engineers such as Frederic Cresswell and William Harper Twelvetrees. 

    The terrain was brutal – 6,000ft above sea level – where the mercury could plummet to -15 in the winter, causing the dressing floors to cease operation. There were no proper roads to begin with, meaning access was via mule along a narrow trail where rivers in spate had to be forded. The countryside was infested with bandits during the late-1880s and inter-ethnic strife was never far from the surface, which resulted in the Armenian massacres of the mid-1890s. The Cornishmen who served out their contracts at Lidjessy with the Asia Minor Mining Company undoubtedly danced to the strains of Karadeniz Kemençesi music with one eye over their shoulder!

    Click here to find out more about these remarkable mines and the Cornishmen who worked at them.

    “Not so Turkish Delight!”

    Specialist in Cornish Mining Migration - Sharron P Schwartz

    Dr. Sharron Schwartz

    Specialist in Cornish Mining Migration and transnational communities

    Leave a Reply