Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum, St Austell

Wheal Martyn is the China Clay Museum in Carthew, Cornwall. It is set in a 26 acre site within two former china clay works, is a fully accredited museum and the only one of its type in Europe, probably the world. The site comprises two former Victorian clay works (‘Wheal Martyn’ and ‘Gomm’), an interactive discovery centre and country park and historic trail.

TEP was commissioned to develop a masterplan for the site, primarily in order to increase the visitor numbers and broaden the audience and appeal of the museum. The project was funded by the HLF and Arts Council England.

Proposals included improvements to the Discovery Centre and external terrace incorporating a new café and visitor orientation; conversion of one of the settling tanks to an indoor space; creation of an external orientation space; new archive building; car park improvements; more legible visitor flow linked to interpretation hubs which explain the process of the production of China Clay.

Within the ‘Gomm’ part of the site we have proposed a new events space, nature trail and viewing platform; discovery trail and a new iconic destination play facility built on the side of one of the conical tips and overlooking Lansalsan Lake.

Interventions have been costed at £12.5m and we conducted an options appraisal to prioritise these projects based on factors such as deliverability and impact on visitor numbers.