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09.05.05
£1 million heritage project on target

A massive £1 million pound project to refurbish and re-launch Cornwall's Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum as the China Clay Country Park is nearing completion. Work at the 26 acre site just outside St Austell, which includes a brand new state of the art visitor centre complete with interactive displays and children's outdoor challenge course is nearing completion.

Home of the UK's only china clay museum, it is hoped that the refurbished and re-named China Clay Country Park, which has undergone a major image overhaul, will pull in thousands of visitors interested in learning more about Cornwall's long association with 'white gold'.

According to China Clay Country Park Chief Executive David Owens, everyone at the centre is now looking forward to the work being completed and the doors being fully opened. "We are absolutely delighted that, in the 300th anniversary of the birth of William Cookworthy who pioneered the china clay industry, we are embarking on a new era. Work is right on schedule and we are now looking forward to offering a superb day out for all the family at what will be an outstanding venue," he said. "Our aim has been to make it an even more interesting, exciting and enjoyable experience and we are sure people will agree we have more than achieved that."

The attraction has been given a new name 'China Clay Country Park' to go with its new face and enhanced visitor attractions, which include a new cafe which will use locally sourced ingredients and a shop selling a range of goods including ceramics from around the world. It has also undergone an image overhaul, had new marketing materials produced and has launched a new web site.

Interactive displays in the new visitor centre will tell the story of Cornwall's china clay industry and show how men, women and children worked for twelve hours a day for the equivalent of 50p. A new gallery has also been created tracing how clay was discovered in Cornwall in 1746 by William Cookworthy and the industry's impact on what is now known as China Clay Country. During the year there will be additional exhibitions by local artists, potters and photographers.

The project has had investment of £769,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £299,871 from Cornwall's Objective One European Regional Development Fund, and grants from the trustees of Wheal Martyn, Restormel Borough Council and Cornwall County Council.

Mr Owens added: "Our intention is to create a museum for the local community to be proud of and one that fully celebrates our unique industrial and cultural heritage, but which also provides a day out for both local people and tourists. We want visitors, young and old, to go away feeling they have enjoyed an experience that has been both stimulating and enlightening."

The new visitor Centre is due to open in early June.

For further information contact the China Clay Country Park on 01726 850362; or Graham Buckley of Mercury Public Relations on 01872 561120.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the China Clay Country Park through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

The China Clay Country Park is located two miles north of St Austell.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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