Tourist Information in Cornwall
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St. Austell Town Information




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This popular resort was literally built on clay. In fact, local deposits of china clay were so crucial they ousted tin and copper as the area’s most important minerals and created huge wealth in the 19th and early 20th centuries, making St Austell one of Cornwall’s most vibrant commercial centres.
 
 

St. Austell Railway Viaduct - Photo © Crispin Purdye
St. Austell Railway Viaduct -
Photo: Crispin Purdye CCL

St. Paul's Parish Church - Photo © Pam Brophy
St. Paul's Parish Church -
Photo: Pam Brophy CCL

Today, tourism forms a major part of the local economy thanks to glorious local beaches and St Austell’s proximity to top attractions such as the Eden Project – created inside a former clay pit - and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

The oldest modern structure here is a small granite bridge that has existed since the days of Henry VIII. Other buildings of note include the 13th century church and the Menacuddle Holy Well.

These are all pre-dated by the prehistoric hillfort of Castle Dore. It is thought to have been the castle of King Mark of Cornwall and is associated with King Arthur and the legend of Tristram and Isolde.

The impressive St Austell brewery is housed in a building designed by Inskipp & Mackenzie in London. Lethbridge of Plymouth was the contractor and the buildings were erected for around £7000 - £8000.
The town houses many buildings designed by the famous Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail.

Silvanus Trevail (often misspelled as Sylvanus Trevail by many people) was born in Luxulyan in October 1851. He rose to become Mayor of Truro and, nationally, President of the architects' professional body, the Society of Architects.

More importantly perhaps, he was Cornwall's most famous architect, certainly of the 19th Century. Following the Education Act of 1870 which created Board Schools, Trevail designed around fifty such schools throughout the county.

He was also largely responsible for putting Cornwall, and particularly Newquay, on the tourist map, designing many of the major coastal hotels including those at Tintagel (King Arthur's Castle), St. Ives (Carbis Bay), The Lizard (Housel Bay), Falmouth (Pendennis) and Newquay (Atlantic & Headland).

Red Bank at St Austell
Members of the STS outside the 'Red Bank' in St Austell


He also designed private houses, chapels, churches, banks and several libraries and institutes. In the cases of churches and chapels, he often also helped the congregations with their fund-raising or, as in the case of Temple in the heart of Bodmin Moor, gave his services free.

In his buildings he showed an exceptional flair in the choice of material, using satisfying combinations of granite and other stone. His close association with the brick and quarry tile works at Ruabon in North Wales gave him the opportunity to use their red brick and terracotta for window surrounds or indeed whole buildings.

For more information on his work in this town and elsewhere, visit the Silvanus Trevail Society website which we gratefully acknowledge as source for this information.