© Cornish Mexican Cultural Society

Building on Cornwall's International Heritage

The Cornish Mexican Cultural Society

Sociedad Cultural Cornish Mexicana



Richard Williams MBE died on Thursday 4 October 2012 after a long fight against cancer.

He developed a deep affection for Mexico, particularly Pachuca and Mineral del Monte, and established the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society with chapters in both countries. He also established an organisation within Mexico to protect and promote the shared heritage of “Mexico’s Little Cornwall”.

Richard was proud to have been a Cornish miner, working himself underground at South Crofty.  He owned and operated a quarry in north Cornwall and became the Manager for Tolgus Tin, a tin streaming works, when it was owned by Madame Tussauds. He took the operations at Tolgus to the leading edge of tin flotation technology.

In the late 1990s Richard enrolled for a new Masters course at the Camborne School of Mines in Industrial Heritage Studies and it was during this course that it was recognised that the Heritage Lottery Fund application which Richard had prepared for the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall’s museum in Penzance was exemplary.  Subsequently Richard formed “Industrial Heritage Consultancy” which acted for The Trevithick Trust for many years doing funding and design packages for Cornish Engines in Pool, for Tolgus Tin, and the china clay museum at Wheal Martyn.

In 2000 Richard achieved his lifetime ambition of purchasing his own Cornish Tin Mine, previously known as Wendron Forge, but for the last 30 years known as Poldark Mine.  Richard formed a company to take over the property and he put all of his efforts into developing this into one of the most atmospheric tourist underground mine experiences in Europe.

At the entrance to his mine a large granite outcrop was found containing circular depressions where ancient miners had ground tin from the adjacent stream.  This is now a scheduled monument.

He worked tirelessly to have the historic Wendron Mining District included in the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site which was inscribed by UNESCO in 2006.

In 2011 Richard was delighted to have been appointed by the Queen as a Member of the British Empire for “services to UK/Mexico relations”.

Richard doggedly refused to allow his illness to affect his vision for Poldark Mine or his drive to continually reinforce the links he forged between the United Kingdom and Mexico.

He was a member of The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage and attended conferences in Greece, Russia, Hungary and Cuba. He made a major contribution by drawing up the rules for the operation of TICCIH Sections and contributing to both the TICCIH Mining Section and to the development of the European Mining Network (MINET).

Richard was a polymath with a keen interest in mineralogy, having published a book on Cornish minerals, and he was a collector of mining memorabilia.  

He will be sadly missed by many people around the world but particularly in his native Cornwall and in his “Mexico’s Little Cornwall” where, over the last 14 years, he has gained the highest of respect.