St Austell: Wikis


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Coordinates: 50°20′17″N 4°47′42″W / 50.338°N 4.795°W / 50.338; -4.795

St Austell
Cornish: Austol
High Cross Street, St Austell - - 1313370.jpg
High Cross Street
St Austell is located in Cornwall
St Austell

 St Austell shown within Cornwall
Population 22,658 (2001)
OS grid reference SX011524
Parish St Austell
Unitary authority Cornwall Council
Ceremonial county Cornwall
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ST. AUSTELL
Postcode district PL25
Dialling code 01726
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament St Austell and Newquay
List of places: UK • England • Cornwall

St Austell (Cornish: Austol) (pronounced /sənt ˈɔːstəl/) is a town and civil parish in Cornwall, UK. The population of St Austell was 22,658 (according to the 2001 census), larger than any other town in Cornwall (including the city of Truro, the county town, which had a population of 20,920).

St Austell itself has a town council, following the start of the unitary authority in Cornwall in April 2009. Three further civil parishes of St Austell Bay, Carlyon and Pentewan Valley were created from the unparished area.[1]



One of the earliest references to St Austell is in John Leland's Itinerary, where he says "At S. Austelles is nothing notable but the paroch chirch".[2]

Holy Trinity Church, St Austell

Not long after William Cookworthy discovered china clay in Tregonning, the same mineral was found in greater quantity in the hills north of St Austell town.[3] Clay mining soon took over from tin and copper mining as the principal industry in the area, and this eventually contributed enormously to the growth of the town. The clay industry really only came into its own during the mid 19th to early 20th century, at a time when the falling prices of tin and other metals forced many mines to close down or convert to clay mining. The success and high profitability of the industry attracted many families whose breadwinner had been put out of work by the depression in the local metal mining industry, and increased the population of the town considerably. This meant that more shops and businesses took root, providing more jobs and improving trade. This, along with other factors, led to St Austell becoming one of the ten most important commercial centres of Cornwall.

Church history

The church was originally dedicated to St Austol, a Breton saint associated with St Meven, but is now dedicated to the Holy Trinity. By 1150 it had been appropriated to the Priory of Tywardreath by the Cardinhams: this continued until 1535. There was originally a Norman church here, of which some remains may be seen. The present church is of the 15th century and is large because the mediaeval parish was also a large one: the tower is impressive. All four outside walls bear sculptural groups in carved niches: the Twelve Apostles in three groups on the north, east and south; the Holy Trinity above the Annunciation and below that the Risen Christ between two saints on the west. The tower can be dated to between 1478 and 1487 by the arms of Bishop Courtenay, and the walls are faced in Pentewan stone.[4]

On the south side of the church, a formerly separate chantry has been incorporated into the church when it was extended. (The chantry itself was abolished in 1543.) There are holy wells at Menacuddle and Towan.[5] In the 19th century the following parishes were created out of St Austell parish: St Blazey (1845); Charlestown (1846, Treverbyn (1847), and Par (1846 out of St Blazey and Tywardreath).

A new rural deanery of St Austell was established within the Diocese of Truro in 1875.


The was formally a Quaker burial ground at Tregongeeves, just outside the town on the Truro Road. It was covered by about 6 feet of earth removed from the building of the new road in the 1960s. A high stone wall bounds the remaining acre of land; access can be gained through a wrought iron gate. About 40 of the headstones from Tregongeeves were removed and are now located at the Friends meeting house in the High Street in St Austell, just below the high wall which surrounds St Austell railway station. That meeing house is still in use.

Economy, industry and health service

Due to mechanisation, the china clay industry now employs only just over 2000 people, a mere fraction of the workforce in the early 20th century.[citation needed] However, the industry still achieves a higher annual output than ever before.[citation needed] The town's economy is supported by its town centre shops and supporting businesses.

The St Austell Brewery, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2001, supplies cask ale to pubs in Cornwall and the rest of the UK. They are best known for their flagship beer, St Austell Tribute; a number of other ales are brewed but are rarely seen outside Cornwall. St Austell Brewery's original brewery 'The Seven Stars Inn' still stands today in the main town on East Hill.

Panoramic view of the geodesic biome domes at the Eden Project


As in much of Cornwall and neighbouring counties, tourism is increasingly important to St Austell's economy. Tourists are drawn to the area by nearby beaches and attractions such as the Eden Project, sited in a former clay pit, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Summer visitors to the town make a big contribution to the local economy.[citation needed] The China Clay Country Park, in a former china-clay pit two miles north of the town, tells the story of the men, women and children who lived, worked and played in the shadow of the clay tips around St Austell.

St Austell is home to several public houses, numerous high street retailers, and several independent shops, many of which cater for tourists.


St Austell has a very large Masonic presence. The Masonic Hall in South Street is home to four Craft Lodges: Peace & Harmony Lodge No. 496 which was formed on 23 March 1844, and its three daughter Lodges established over the years: Tewington Lodge No. 5698, consecrated in March 1938; Carlyon Lodge No. 7392, consecrated in November 1955 and St Denys Lodge No. 8250, which was consecrated in January 1969.[6]

Other Masonic bodies meeting in St Austell are: Mount Edgcumbe Royal Arch Chapter No. 496, formed in 1874; Tewington Royal Arch Chapter No. 5698, formed on 11 November 1987; St Austell Mark Master Masons Lodge No. 275, consecrated on 22 February 1881; St Austell Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 275, formed on 22 September 1962 and the St Austell Rose Croix Chapter No. 744, consecrated on 16 October 1973.[7]

Newspaper and radio

The main weekly newspaper for the town is the St Austell Guardian, which is part of the Cornish Guardian series published by Cornwall and Devon Media Ltd. The newspaper has a long history in the town and operates from offices in the centre of the town in Fore Street.

St Austell has a second weekly newspaper, the St Austell Voice, published every Wednesday, with offices at Truro Road, close to the town centre.

St Austell is also home to Radio St Austell Bay, a local radio station which broadcasts from studios at Tregorrick Park, St Austell. Radio St Austell Bay launched in January 2008 to a potential audience of approximately 30,000 in the St Austell area from Trewoon in the west to Tywardreath in the east.

Community hospital

St Austell has its own hospital, St Austell Community Hospital, formerly called Penrice Hospital. The hospital is only a minor injury unit, and the main Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, Truro handles more serious cases.

Development and redevelopment

Work began in 1963 on the pedestrian precinct which included shops, offices and flats: the design was by Alister MacDonald & Partners and the materials reinforced concrete with some stone facing.[8]

The town centre recently underwent a £75 million redevelopment process. The redevelopment attracted heavy opposition from its outset, with the main argument coming from Friends for a Better St Austell. In August 2007, developers David McLean and demolition team Gilpin moved onto the town centre site to complete the preparation, with the Filmcentre which was originally an Odeon cinema dating back to 1936, being demolished in late September/early October.

In October 2007, the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and project developers David McLean announced that the new development would be named 'White River Place'. It was also announced that 50% of shop units had been leased to high street stores,[9] with New Look, Peacocks, Bonmarché and Wilkinson opening new stores. This would mean New Look relocating from its current premises in Fore Street and the return of Peacocks to St Austell following the demolition of its old store to make way for the new development.

In October 2008 it was announced that the developer David McLean Developments had gone into administration and concern was expressed that this could jeopardise the completion of the project [10]

In December 2008, the new White River Cinema opened its doors for the first time: the cinema is techncially advanced and the first purpose-built cinema in Cornwall for over 60 years.

In late October 2009, White River Place first opened its doors to the public. At the same time, a weekly local produce market started, located on Market Street between St Austell Market House and the Parish Church, which takes place every Saturday, between 10.00hrs and 15.00hrs.

The Torchlight Carnival took place on 21 November 2009 to huge acclaim, and is due to be repeated on 20th November 2010. Both these initiatives were spearheaded by the new Town Council, which was responding to public demand voiced through a survey conducted prior to the establishment of the Town Council. The Market House CIC was also involved and is the lead partner in establishing the produce market in St Austell.


St Austell railway station

St Austell railway station was opened by the Cornwall Railway on 4 May 1859 on the hillside above the town centre. Two branch lines west of the town were later opened to serve the china clay industry; the Newquay and Cornwall Junction Railway which is still partly open, and the short-lived Trenance Valley line.[11] The independent narrow gauge Pentewan Railway ran from West Hill to the coast at Pentewan. The Cornish Main Line in St Austell is quite renowned for its viaduct which passes through the Gover Valley and Trenance areas of the town. the original timber structure was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it was 115 feet (35 m) high, 720 feet (220 m) long on 10 piers; it was replaced by a new stone viaduct in 1899.[12][13] There was a siding located west of the viaduct. In the early years trains from St Austell had to push wagons over the tall, curving viaduct to shunt this siding. The Great Western Railway's instructions stated that: "Trucks may be pushed from St Austell to the Siding, but when this is done the speed of the Train between the two places must not exceed 8 miles an hour, and the head Guard must ride on the leading vehicle, unless it be a bonnet end one, in which case he must ride in the first low sided vehicle from it, to keep a good look out, and be prepared to give a signal to the Driver either by Day or Night, as may be required". Train servcies today operate west to Truro and Penzance, and east to Plymouth and London. There are also three services on most days to the North of England and Scotland.[14]

The town's bus station faces the entrance to the railway station to offer an easy interchange between buses and trains. National Express coach services call here, a dedicated link operates to the Eden Project, and local buses operate to villages such as Fowey and Mevagissey. The town can be accessed by the A390 which by-passes the town to the south on its way from Liskeard to Truro, or by the A391 from Bodmin, or by the A3058 from Newquay. In addition there are the B3273 to Mevagissey, the B3274 to Padstow and the A3082 to Fowey.


Speedway racing first took place a venue called Rocky Park, under the name "St Austell Gulls". The sport was a hit during various years, between 1949 and 1963 at the Cornish Stadium – now Stadium Retail Park, home of Cornish Market World. The sport returned to the area in the late 1990s, in the Clay Country Moto Parc, located at Old Pound, Nanpean. The club operated as the St Austell Gulls for four years, until the club changed ownership, and moved up a league to the Speedway Premier League, re-formed as the Trelawny JAG Tigers, until site owners Imerys Minerals Ltd ended the lease. Speedway has not been held in Cornwall since. Many attempts have been made to re-introduce the sport, but none have got past planning permission. The two highest profile bids were at Par Moor Motor Museum and St Eval Raceway. The owner of the land for the Par Moor bid confirmed that he would rent the land for speedway but locals objected. The St Eval bid failed after residents expressed fears about noise.

Stock car racing, promoted by 1950s Kiwi Speedway star Trevor Redmond, ran side by side with speedway on numerous occasions. In stock car racing, mostly running under the Brisca banner, numerous championships were run there, including the World Championships. It closed its doors in 1987.

St Austell Football Club was formed on 17 September 1890. In 1908 the club won its first trophy: the Cornwall Charity Cup. The club achieved some success in the late 1920s and 1930s, winning the Senior Cup and Charity Cup twice. In May 2009, the team won the Senior Cup with a closely fought 3–2 victory over Saltash United.[15]


Most of the shops on the old high street near the centre occupy original buildings either in renovated or modified form.[citation needed] Notable Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail designed many of St Austell's buildings and houses, including the Thin End and the Moorland Road terrace (originally known as Work House Lane, said work house having since been razed to the ground by arsonists).[citation needed] Of other notable architects from St Austell, John Goode contributed considerably during the 1970s to residential developments in the area.

Pevsner remarks in his guide to Cornwall that the following buildings are notable:[16]

  • The Parish Church (see Church history above)
  • The Town Hall, in Italian Renaissance style, 1844
  • Friends Meeting House, 1829, a plain granite structure
  • White Hart Hotel: once contained panoramic wallpaper of the Bay of Naples by Dufour (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • Holy Well at Menacuddle.
  • Three buildings of the 1960s: Penrice School, 1960; Public Library, 1961; Magistrates' Court, 1966.


St Austell has two comprehensive schools, Poltair School, formerly the grammar school, and Penrice Community College. Brannel School is in the St Austell area but not in the town itself.

Cornwall College St Austell is a Further & Higher Education institution incorporating the former St Austell Sixth Form Centre and Mid Cornwall College of Further Education. The College is based at John Keay House, which is also home to the college group's headquarters.

St Austell has 8 primary schools: Charlestown County Primary School, Bishop Bronescombe School, Carclaze Community Infant School, Carclaze Community Junior School, Mount Charles School, Pondhu Primary School, St Mewan Primary School, and Sandy Hill Community Primary School.

See also

St Austell Brewery


  1. ^ "Town and parishes to get councils". BBC News website. BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  2. ^ Leland, John (1964). "Part III". in Lucy Toulmin Smith. Leland's Itinerary in England and Wales. I. London: Centaur Press. pp. 202. 
  3. ^ Smith, John R. (1992). "Cookworthy and the Early Years". Cornwall's China-Clay Heritage. Twelveheads: Twelveheads Press/Cornwall Archaeological Unit. pp. 3. ISBN 0906294258. 
  4. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books
  5. ^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; p. 57
  6. ^ Williams, Richard Douglas, ed (October 2001) (in English). Thread of Gold: Celebrating the Unbroken History of 250 Years of Freemasonry in the Province of Cornwall. Truro: Cornwall Province of Freemasons. pp. 372. ISBN 978-0954085001. 
  7. ^ Cornwall Masonic Yearbook 2007/2008
  8. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 156-158
  9. ^ Cornish Guardian, 3/10/2007
  10. ^ Cornish Guardian, 27/10/2008
  11. ^ Bennett, Alan (1988). The Great Western Railway in Mid Cornwall. Southampton: Kingfisher Railway Publications. ISBN 0-946184-53-4. 
  12. ^ Binding, John (1993). Brunel's Cornish Viaducts. Penryn: Atlantic Transport Publishing/Historical Model Railway Society. ISBN 0-90689-956-7. 
  13. ^ St Austell viaduct on Wikimap
  14. ^ "National Rail Timetable 135 (Winter 2008)" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  15. ^ "Club history". St Austell AFC. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  16. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 156-158

Further reading

  • Hammond, Joseph (1897) St Austell: being an account of St Austell, town, church, district and people. London: Skeffington & Son
  • Rowse, A. L. (1960) St Austell: Church, Town, Parish. St Austell: H. E. Warne

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Eden Project
Eden Project

St Austell is a town in Cornwall, England. Many travellers are drawn to the area by attractions such as the Eden Project, a large-scale complex that emulates natural environments and houses plant species from around the world. The town is also known as the centre of the Cornish china-clay industry.

Get in

By train

The Great Western mainline connects St Austell to London Paddington via principle settlements including Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol and Reading. Other services are available to Cardiff. These services, along with all local services within Cornwall, are operated by First Great Western. Other train operators include Virgin Trains (which operate Cross-Country routes to the North of England and Scotland via Bristol and Birmingham) and Southwest Trains (who operate routes to London Waterloo). Train services are frequent with roughly one train every half hour in each direction during the week.

By car

St Austell is well connected by road. St Austell is joined to Cornwall's main road, the A30, by the A391 and to Truro by the A390 (westbound) and to Liskeard (and onwards to Plymouth) by the A390 and then the A38 (eastbound). To Newquay, the A3058 leaves St Austell in a North-Westerly direction.

By plane

Newquay International Airport is around half an hour by car away (or around £25 taxi fare). Newquay Airport is serves destinations including London (Gatwick & Stanstead), Dublin, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff.

By coach

The vast majority of National Express coach services stop at St Austell Railway Station, destinations include London and Penzance.

  • St Austell Private Hire, 0800 32 88 040, [1]. St Austell private hire is a minicab business based in St Austell. Cornwall. It has a large fleet of low emission vehicles up to eight seaters. The business services St Austell station, Duke Street taxi rank, High cross street taxi rank, The Eden Project and all of the attractions in mid Cornwall.  edit
  • The Eden Project, (Frequent buses are available from St Austell railway station (service T9) or a taxi from St Austell would cost around £6.50). Open Every day all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas day, 9AM to 6PM (Last entry at 4:30PM). Dubbed by many as The Eighth Wonder of the World, Eden is well worth a visit if you don't mind the theme park atmosphere.  edit


Whilst visiting St Austell and the Eden project there are many places to stay.

  • For luxury holiday cottages in the St Austell area, please visit Telephone 01803 855282. There is a variety of holiday cottages and apartments located within the town and close to many tourist attractions including The Eden Project.
  • Edenview Bed and Breakfast, +44 01726 852061 (), [2]. One of the closest bed and breakfasts to the Eden Project. This Eden project accommodation enjoys superb views of St Austell Bay and the surrounding countryside. The Truronian Eden branchline bus (T9) commutes past this B&B on its way to and from the Eden Project.  edit
  • Camping near the Eden Project at Penhale Caravan & Camping Park. Close to the Eden Project this Eden project campsite and caravan park offers beautiful sea views and the surrounding countryside. There are regular busses to the eden project. Tickets can be bought from the campsite to avoid queuing at the Eden Project.
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