Clay Journeys – From Cornwall to the World

image of ship in cornwall distributing clay

A new exhibition, “Clay Journeys – From Cornwall to the World”, will be opening at Wheal Martyn on 17 February. The Exhibition, which is free to enter until September, explores the huge lengths that people went to, and the ingenuity required, to transport china clay from Cornwall to the world.

The global success of the china clay industry, and the resulting need to transport larger quantities of clay further afield, posed a challenge: how to get the bulky clay from where it was produced to where it was needed? The exhibition will explore the developments in transport over land and sea which were required to meet this challenge.

The exhibition will also display items from Wheal Martyn’s collection as well as loans from Fowey Museum, the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, the Historic Port of Charlestown and private lenders.

Jo Moore, Curator at the museum, said “This subject is such an important aspect of the china clay industry and it was fascinating to research. We are very grateful to those who have lent items for the displays and to our volunteers. Mike Grigg of the museum’s China Clay History Society was really generous with his extensive knowledge and Carol Weir’s help with many aspects of the exhibition has been brilliant.”

Why not pop into the museum and learn all about the story of Cornwall’s largest mining industry, an industry still alive today. The centre is open daily with the café and shop free to enter. Do you live in Cornwall? Wheal Martyn’s Cornwall Resident’s pass remains available from the museum at a reduced 12 month price until the end of February. All you need to bring along is proof of address.

As a charity Wheal Martyn relies on the support of regular visitors to ensure our heritage is fully preserved and provides opportunities for education and creativity for our communities.

For more information about the exhibition call 01726 850362 or email

Limbo Landscape Lab

As part of the Heritage Futures research project ( led by the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute at Penryn, environmental artist Antony Lyons ( is developing an exhibition ‘Limbo Landscape Lab’ which will be on show in the grounds and historic buildings at Wheal Martyn from 14 July to 4 November 2018.

The artist-in-residence project will include works which explore changing, post-industrial landscapes and have been inspired by research carried out through the Heritage Futures project which has involved PhD student, Robyn Raxworthy working closely with Wheal Martyn and the China Clay History Society over the last three years at their archive.  Robyn has been able to utilise the extensive first-hand china clay industry knowledge of the Society’s volunteers as well as the wealth of information contained in the archive.

The exhibition is being delivered as part of a wider project called ‘Evening In Arkadia’ funded by Arts Council England and supported by Heritage Futures and the University of Exeter, which will include installations in Suffolk and Portugal which explore other transitional landscapes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *