June 2022

Our mission is to provide a place for everyone to celebrate, discover and learn about Cornwall’s china clay industry past and present – even if a visitor can’t get to us in person.

We've just released a virtual tour and new drone footage enabling more people, particularly those who are unable to physically visit, to explore our beautiful historic site, museum galleries and collection.

The interactive 360o virtual tour allows you to take a virtual stroll through the museum’s buildings following the historic trail into the Victorian clay works. The virtual tour makes the museum spaces more accessible for people with hidden conditions such as autism and virtually accessible for people with physical disabilities who may not be able to explore the full extent of the site because of its size and historic nature.

To accompany the virtual tour, we've also released a beautiful short film that captures the majesty of the huge china clay pit located at the top of the site. The film was captured by Duncan Scobie of Granite Ocean Film, a local drone videographer. His footage dramatically shows the vast depth and scale of the modern china clay industry in Cornwall. The film will also be featured as an exhibit at Wheal Martyn for all to enjoy.

Gemma Martin, Education Officer at Wheal Martyn, said: “The virtual tour is a perfect way to explore the site and see some of your favourite spots at Wheal Martyn. It also takes away the stress of the unknown – some of our visitors have found it really useful to familiarise themselves with the site so that the whole family are comfortable with visiting Wheal Martyn for real. And for those who can’t make it up the slope through our woodland to see the working pit, the film finally makes it accessible to all.”

The virtual tour and drone film are the two key outcomes from a project developed through the British Science Association Community Buddy project, funded through UK Research and Innovation. Gemma Martin worked with Professor Katherine Willis, Professor of Smart Cities and Communities at the University of Plymouth, to explore how technology can improve access for those with hidden disabilities and enable visitors to experience museums in different ways.

The 3600 virtual tour was developed by Chris Wood, Director of Ocean 3D Ltd, a Cornish 3D Virtual Reality scanning business that specialises in supporting organisations to be autism friendly and accessible for one and all.

Both the virtual tour and the drone film are now available to visitors to Wheal Martyn Clay Works and on their website at www.wheal-martyn.com/virtual-tour. The virtual tour can be accessed on most smartphones, tablets and desktops connected to WiFi or 4G with no need for a headset.