Project aim

Reaching out to a more diverse range of people by overcoming barriers, offering new opportunities, extending our activity programme and creating better facilities, whilst preserving parts of the rich industrial heritage at Wheal Martyn.


The Clay Works project is a key part of our ambitious plans, set out in our Masterplan developed in 2017. The project will be instrumental in realising our aims to broaden our audiences and grow visitor numbers, both of which are important to further the reach of the charity and ensure that the collections and buildings in our care are effectively preserved and accessible for the long term.

The practical delivery of the four year project commenced in April 2018 and involves the preservation of historic buildings, creation of an activity/learning space, creation of a gallery for temporary exhibitions, new interpretation and displays and an extensive programme of engagement activity.

Key elements include:

  • Restoration of a large proportion of the Pan Kiln roof and the Mica Dry building – both part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument at Wheal Martyn
  • Creation of a gallery for temporary exhibitions within the historic Mica Dry building, enabling a changing exhibition programme for a wide audience
  • Creation of a learning and activity space, providing modern facilities for visiting schools and an inspiring space for hands-on activities and workshops
  • Creation of outdoor learning spaces within two former settling tanks
  • Creation of a fully accessible visitor route through the historic buildings for the first time
  • Training for volunteers in historic building conservation techniques, in partnership with Cornwall College
  • Upgraded interpretation in the Pan Kiln and new displays in the Mica Dry Linhay on the theme of transporting china clay
  • A series of temporary exhibitions
  • An Exhibition and Engagement Officer to deliver a programme of targeted engagement activities and exhibitions for families, children and young people, the local community and people with a range of access needs
  • Extended formal and informal learning opportunities, including enhanced schools programmes
  • Citizens Curators and Young Curators opportunities to engage a wider range of people with the work of the museum
  • Creation of new volunteer teams to help preserve the buildings and deliver the Species and Habitat Management Plan
Mica Dry at Wheal MartynSite of new learning space at Wheal MartynPan Kiln at Wheal Martyn

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Working with us

We are pleased to be working with the following companies to deliver this exciting project:Clay Works project at Wheal Martyn - clearing the site

  • Heritage Cornwall Ltd. – Main contractors for Phase One and Phase Two of the restoration and building works
  • Far Post Design – Design of new interpretation
  • Phil Collins Associates – Evaluation consultants
  • Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects Ltd – aAchitects
  • Martin Jury – Quantity Surveyors
  • Cornwall Archaeological Unit – Archaeologists

Our funders

We are grateful to a wide range of funders who have made this project possible:

  • National Lottery Heritage FundClay Works project at Wheal Martyn
  • Arts Council England
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • Historic England
  • The Pilgrim Trust
  • The Wolfson Foundation
  • Cornwall Council
  • Pennon Environmental Fund (Viridor Credits)
  • Imerys Minerals Ltd
  • Cornwall Heritage Trust
  • The Hobson Charity Ltd

We are also very grateful to Imerys Minerals Ltd. for their considerable in-kind support.

National Lottery Heritage Fund logo Garfield Weston Foundation logo Cornwall Council logo Foyle Foundation logo
Arts Council England logo The Wolfson Foundation logo Historic England logo The Pilgrim Trust logo
Pennon Environmental Credits logo Imerys Minerals logo Cornwall Heritage Trust logo