Museum illustrating the history of china clay extraction in Cornwall since it was discovered in the county in 1746
China Clay is decomposed granite, which is found in very few places around the world. The deposits in Cornwall and Devon are the largest. The clay is used in papermaking, paints, porcelains, dyes and cosmetics.
China clay was discovered in Cornwall by Cookworthy in 1746. By 1850, there were seven thousand employees in the St Austell district, extracting, transporting and exporting the clay. Production methods have changed considerably due to advances in modern technology, but the industry was one of Cornwall's largest employers for many years.
The Wheal Martyn China Clay Heritage Centre offers an interesting insight into what was one of the most important industries in Cornwall. There are audio-visual displays and a fascinating tour of the 19th century clay works, where there is a working water wheel.
The centre has a children's play area, an adventure trail older children and scenic picnic areas, making it an ideal venue for the whole family. There is also a tea room and gift shop and the site is open throughout the year.