On Friday 30 July, HRH The Princess Royal visited Wheal Martyn Clay Works to celebrate and officially open the museum’s new facilities, as part of a visit to Clay Country which marked 275 years since the discovery of china clay in Cornwall.

The visit was hosted by Imerys Minerals Ltd. and included a tour of an active clay works at Littlejohns, just a few miles from the museum.

While visiting Wheal Martyn, Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to meet staff, volunteers and stakeholders and officially open the new facilities which include a dedicated activity and learning space, a gallery for temporary exhibitions (currently showing a new body of work, ‘Clay Country’ by artist Kurt Jackson), a fully accessible visitor route through the main historic buildings and a new transport exhibition.

These improvements and facilities were created as part of Wheal Martyn’s ‘Clay Works’ project, with a major grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and funding and support from a wide range of other organisations including Arts Council England, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Pilgrim Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, Cornwall Council, Historic England, Cornwall Heritage Trust and The Hobson Charity.

Colin Vallance, Managing Director of Wheal Martyn said: “We were delighted to be able to share our new facilities and ambitions for Wheal Martyn with HRH The Princess Royal.  Our wonderful new spaces provide more opportunities for our communities and visitors to get involved and learn from our important clay mining heritage.”

Photos by Sean Simpson