Wheal Martyn holds a unique collection of artefacts and archives as the only china clay museum in Europe, probably the world. Preserving a significant part of Cornwall’s industrial heritage and history of English China Clays (in the late 1980s a UK top 100 company and leading exporter), Wheal Martyn also provides a focus for culture within the ‘Clay Country’ keeping alive the heritage of local bands, choirs and chapels which are fast disappearing.

With the 19th Century decline of tin and copper mining, the Cornish china clay industry grew rapidly, outstripping those industries in size, economic contribution, development of technology and research. For over 100 years the key industry in Cornwall, china clay production far exceeded all metalliferous mineral production. Writers including Jack Clemo and painters (from 10th century with Farington, Mitchell and Allom) have been inspired by the china clay landscape. The heritage of an industry of such significance to Cornwall and its people is provide by Wheal Martyn through its collections.

Object collection

The archive

Built heritage