21 October 2022

The Spectacle of Cornish Mining Heritage Brought to Life

On Thursday 20th October the living legacy of metal and china clay mining in the Luxulyan and Charlestown Area of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site was celebrated as the outcomes of a multi-year interpretation project were highlighted at a launch at Wheal Martyn Clay Works.

A project, that has seen Cornwall Council working in partnership with Wheal Martyn, the Friends of Luxulyan Valley and the Cornwall Heritage Trust, has produced new information boards along a waymarked trial in the Luxulyan Valley, a new Luxulyan Valley Guidebook, and has transformed the internal space along with installation of a ‘sculptural’ external display at Wheal Martyn, which acts as an Area Centre for the World Heritage Site. 

The event on 20th October brought together representatives from the organisations involved and the local community, to highlight the achievements and encourage others to venture to either of the contrasting locations to explore the new information and find out how geology and resulting industry links them so intimately. 

Along with speakers from the Wheal Martyn and the World Heritage Site team, the event heard from former Chief Geologist at English China Clay and Visiting Professor at Camborne School of Mines, Colin Bristow, remarking in his talk, how the impressive black and pink luxullianite boulder now proudly on display at the museum relays a story of the area's place in history. 

The event included the home-school group that regularly use Wheal Martyn and who have enjoyed interaction with the new audio-visual and life-sized elements of the installations. Recently, the new displays have contributed to the groups learning about the life of Joseph Treffry and his innovative influence on both mining and quarrying industries in the area.  

Mayor of St Austell, Cllr Andrea Lanxon said, “the new exhibits are really interesting for both future generations to find out about the past, but also for people who remember working in the industry, to understand how it all came about through both the natural geology and the visionary work of a few powerful people”. 

Cllr Dave Crabtree, Chair of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Partnership said, “The Luxulyan and Charlestown Area of the World Heritage Site contains so many hidden gems, Wheal Martyn and the Luxulyan Valley are two of these – the new interpretation boards and displays provide a great educational resource and I would encourage anyone to go and have a look”.

To find out more about Wheal Martyn Clay Works, please see: Wheal Martyn Clay Works

For more on the Friends of Luxulyan Valley, please see: Friends of Luxulyan Valley 

For Cornwall Heritage Trust, please see: Cornwall Heritage Trust