The Cornish China-Clay Industry

A.L. Rowse finds that for more than 200 years Cornwall has been making an important contribution to British pottery.

The china-clay industry of Cornwall It had its small beginnings with Cookworthy’s and west devon is a unique extractive discoveries of the perfect components for making industry and also, with its production of hard china—which had been a secret of the two million tons of china-clay and china-stone a Chinese for centuries—from the 1750’s.

It is a year, an important one in the nation’s economy. fascinating industry; many people who know the West Country must be aware of it from the immense white sand-hills and the deep pits beside them which have turned the hinterland of St. Austell into a lunar landscape of strange beauty.

The industry has been going for two hundred years, and yet this is the first time that there has been a history of it.1 It should be said at once that, though written by an outsider to the area, it is a completely satisfactory job, thorough and competent, accurate and reliable, with a grasp of the technical operations that is much to be commended in a lady.

Mr. and Mrs. D. B. Barton are newcomers to Cornwall; with the extraordinary body of work they have already accomplished—a splendid history of the famous Cornish Beam-Engine, another of the Tin Industry, their work on Railways—their sheer North-Country energy puts the local inhabitants to shame. Already on their way to becoming the Sidney and Beatrice Webb of Cornish historiography, in another few decades, if they are patient, they may even be ‘adopted’.

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