White River Place is new home for iconic china clay monitor
Mon 7th August 2017
An iconic symbol of Mid-Cornwall’s china clay mining
industry is to take centre stage as a new piece of public art in St Austell’s
White River Place Shopping Centre.
Apprentices at Imerys Minerals have restored one of
the company’s decommissioned monitor jets which is being installed in White
River Place as a celebration of the past, present and future of the industry
and its links with the town.
Monitor jets are used to wash china clay from the
surrounding rock with a powerful stream of high-pressure water and continue to
be used in pits across Mid-Cornwall.
Last year’s Whitegold festival of clay, held in the
town, saw Imerys organise a temporary exhibition of a monitor in White River
Place, which attracted considerable interest from people visiting the town
Following this, the company spoke with White River Place and the St
Austell Bay Economic Forum about donating a permanent exhibit.
Steve Turpin, Engineering Manager at the Imerys
engineering facility at Drinnick, said: “Imerys is delighted to be donating this
monitor to the town.
“It is very fitting that people coming to White River
Place will be able to see and touch one of the work-horses of a proud industry
which over many years has, and continues to, shape the Cornish economy, its
cultural identity and the town of St Austell itself.
“Apprentices Jack Farley and Ollie Worton worked on
the project to refurbish the monitor and prepare it for public exhibition and
their names are now on a plaque on the monitor. They should be very proud of
their achievement and the skills they have learned during this restoration.”
The china clay monitor is being installed in the
square outside the Halifax bank, close to the pedestrian entrance to the White
River Place car park.
Richard Hurst, White River Place Centre Manager, said:
“We were very pleased to support the inaugural Whitegold and to host many of
the events, including the temporary exhibition of the monitor which was a star
attraction for adults and children alike.
“It’s a real thrill to be able to go one step further
and, with the support of Imerys, to have this wonderful piece of engineering
art permanently on show as a tribute to the industry which has shaped this area
and its people and indeed gave its name to the Centre itself.”
The Whitegold festival is just part of a wider
initiative - the Clay Town Vision - brought forward a diverse group of business
leaders, community groups, artists, heritage organisations, educational
institutions and local politicians under the leadership of the St Austell Bay
Economic Forum (SABEF).
The Clay Town Vision seeks to develop an ambitious
cultural, environmental and commercial vision built around the celebration of
its clay industry heritage and an ambitious plan to make St Austell world-renowned
for its ceramic arts.
James Staughton, SABEF Chairman, said: “St Austell has
a huge amount to be proud of, and in particular its world class clay industry.
So as well as showcasing the past and present of clay there is a real
opportunity to use the material which has defined the area to drive future economic,
social and cultural regeneration and to grow an international reputation as a
centre for ceramics and clay arts and crafts.”
This year’s Whitegold festival takes place on Saturday
September 30 2017. For more information go to: www.whitegold.org.uk