Clayworks! Project Wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support

Clayworks! Project Wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support
Wheal Martyn

By: Jan Horrell
Added: 24 February 2016

Clayworks! Project Wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support

Wheal Martyn Trust is delighted to announce that it has secured initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Clayworks! Project at Wheal Martyn Museum near to St Austell.

The museum is the UK’s only China Clay museum, as well as the Scheduled Ancient Monument which makes up a large proportion of the site, the Trust owns and looks after a large collection of items associated with the china clay industry. Today the museum, which is sited on 26 acres of land, offers visitors the opportunity to explore the China Clay industry with interactive exhibits, historic buildings, working structures and marked trails; it also offers a view into a working pit.

Development funding of £155,000 from HLF, along with funding from the Arts Council England and Imerys, will enable Wheal Martyn to develop its Clayworks! Project which will preserve the Mica Dry area of the museums historic buildings; this area is currently redundant and inaccessible to the public but offers exciting potential to consolidate and open up access by creating exhibition and learning space.

Volunteers and visitors will be engaged in heritage skills events, training and workshops with the aim to create a heritage skills volunteer team to be involved with Wheal Martyn for the foreseeable future. The addition of temporary exhibition space will provide more reasons for locals and visitors alike to return to the attraction as exhibitions change over time.

During the development phase the Trust will be employing a Project Development Officer who will be responsible for developing the project including the funding package, wide consultation and writing business and activity plans to submit a round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the full project.

Colin Vallance, Managing Director said of the success ‘The Wheal Martyn Trust is delighted to have secured support and development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it shows real confidence in our potential to conserve the heritage at Wheal Martyn and to create new space for visitors new and old to enjoy and learn about this fascinating part of Cornwall’s history.

Whilst developing the project further we will be working with various contractors, stakeholders and volunteers to inform the decision making process, including carrying out an access audit, archaeological assessment, habitat and species surveys and a museum master plan. There is a lot to consider and plan before we submit the second round in August 2017 and if successful the project will bring a new element to the museum for all visitors. We are now one step closer to making this project a reality and we are really looking forward to what the next 18 months will bring.’

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said ‘The China Clay industry has a significant history in Cornwall, with thousands of men working for it in the 19th century. Small villages were transformed with population booms and the Cornish Alps dominated the landscape. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Wheal Martyn Trust can now progress its plans to conserve its important Mica Dry and Pan Kiln, currently at risk, and open up the fascinating history of the china clay industry in Cornwall for the benefit of everyone.” 

For further information please contact Colin Vallance, Managing Director of Wheal Martyn Trust, on 01566 771930 or via email cvallance@swlakestrust.org.uk.