St Austell

St Austell

infobox UK place
country= England
map_type= Cornwall
region= South West England
official_name= St Austell
latitude= 50.338
longitude= -4.795
population= 22,658 (2001 Census)
shire_district= Restormel
shire_county= Cornwall
constituency_westminster= St. Austell and Newquay
post_town= ST AUSTELL
postcode_area= PL
postcode_district= PL25
dial_code= 01726
os_grid_reference= SX011524
cornish_name= Sen Ostell

St Austell ( _kw. Sen Ostell) is a town in Cornwall, England, UK.

St Austell has a population of 22,658 (according to the 2001 census), larger than any other town in Cornwall (including the city of Truro, the county's capital, which has population of 20,920).

As an unparished area, St Austell does not have a town council or parish council, however it is the site of Restormel Borough Council's headquarters.


The first detailed record of the town's existence comes from an account of a visit to the county by King Henry VIII. Despite mentioning it as being a town, he described St Austell as being little more than a small village surrounding a central church, whose only other notable feature was a small granite bridge (clearly far older than the other buildings) spanning the river (later to be known locally as "the White River" due to the effect of the drainage of micaceous waste water from the local clay industry). The bridge is still extant, and is believed to be either the oldest or one of the oldest standing structures in the town.The real name of the river is the Vinnick, possibly meaning 'weedy'.

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. Clay mining soon took over from tin and copper mining as the principal industry in the area, and this eventually became an enormous contributor 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 price 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 who had been put out of work by the depression in the local metalliferous mining industry, which increased the population of the town considerably. This increase meant that more shops and businesses took root, offering various products and services, thus 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.

Economy and industry

Due to mechanisation, the china clay industry now employs just over 3000 people, a mere fraction of the workforce in the early 20th century.Fact|date=April 2007 However, the industry still commands a higher annual output than ever before.Fact|date=April 2007 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.

Like 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. Visitors to the town make a sizable contribution to the local economy during the summer season.Fact|date=April 2007 The China Clay Country Park situated 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 is also home to Radio St Austell Bay, a community 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.

St Austell has a very large Masonic Presence in the town. The Masonic Hall in South Street, is home to four Craft Lodges, Peace & Harmony Lodge No.496 which was formed on 23rd March 1844 had made three daughter Lodges over the years, these are, Tewington Lodge No.5698 which was consectrated in March 1938; Carlyon Lodge No.7392, which was consecrated in November 1955 and St Denys Lodge No.8250, which was consecrated in January 1969 [(2001) Thread of Gold: The History of 250 Years of Freemasonry in Cornwall 1752-2002, Truro:Province of Cornwall, ISBN 0-9540850] . 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 11th November 1987; St Austell Mark Master Masons Lodge No.275, consecrated on 22nd February 1881; St Austell Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.275, formed on 22nd September 1962 and the St Austell Rose Croix Chapter No.744, consecrated on 16th October 1973 [Cornwall Masonic Yearbook 2007/2008]

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. It also has a comprehensive website with news updated daily at

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


The town is currently going through a £75 million redevelopment process. The redevelopment has attracted heavy opposition since the beginning, with the main arguments coming from [ Friends for a Better St Austell] . Marks and Spencers' Food Hall has been confirmed by the St Austell Redevelopment team as one of the companies interested in a part of the new development (Source from "Cornish Guardian", Date Unknown - Sorry!)

In August 2007, developers [ David McLean] and demolition team Gilpin moved onto the site to complete the preparation, with the Filmcentre, which dates back to the 1930s, being demolished in late September/early October.

In October 2007, the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) & project developers David McLean, announced the new development will be named 'White River Place'. Also announced (Cornish Guardian, 3/10/2007) is that 50% of units have been leased with high street stores, New Look, Peacocks, Starbucks & Wilkinson opening new stores. This would mean New Look relocating from its current premises in Fore Street & the return of Peacocks to St Austell following the demolition of its old store to make way for the new development.


St Austell railway station was opened by the Cornwall Railway on 4 May 1859 on the hillside above the town centre. Services operate to Plymouth, London Paddington, and the North, as well as other stations in Cornwall. The town's bus station, which is currently undergoing a redevelopment, 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 towns such as Fowey and Mevagissey.Currently, a temporary bus terminus is located at Palace Road, on the high level to the rear of the railway station.


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 and 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 for a) Par Moor Motor Museum - the owner confirmed that he would rent the land for speedway, however locals objected, and b) St Eval Raceway, where again the management came across local residents who didn't want the noise the sport brings. Speedway in St Austell is completely non-existent now, and will remain so until planners, club owners and residents can agree on a location. 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.


Most of the shops on the old high street near the centre occupy original buildings either in renovated or modified form.Fact|date=April 2007 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).Fact|date=April 2007 Of other notable architects from st. Austell, John Goode contributed considerably during the 1970's to residential developments in the area, many of which remain to this day. As well, as the achitctural company, two shops opened as side projects (a furniture shop and a fine goods shop) existed in the town up until the eighties, when they closed down.


St Austell has two comprehensive schools, Poltair School, formerly the grammar school, and Penrice Community College.

Cornwall College St Austell, is a Further & Higher education institution incorporating the former St Austell VIth Form Centre & 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 7 primary schools, Charlestown County Primary School, Bishop Bronescombe School, Carclaze Primary School, Mount Charles School, Pondhu Primary School, St Mewan Primary School, and Sandy Hill Community Primary School.

ee also

*Boscoppa, a district of St Austell
*Charlestown, the port of St Austell
*St. Austell with Fowey
*HMS St Austell Bay (K634)
*List of topics related to Cornwall
*Radio St Austell Bay


External links

* [ St Austell Town Website]
* [ Cornwall College St Austell Campus]
* [ St Austell Brewery]
* [ China Clay Country Park and Museum]
* [ St Austell Tourist Info]
* [ St Austell Guide]
* [ St Austell OCS]
* ['st%20austell') Cornwall Record Office Online Catalogue for St Austell]
* [ Carclaze Community Junior School]

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