St Austell is a town with a rich and deep history, which continues to grow and expand to this very day. From the China Clay industry to Town Centre redevelopment, via the Eden Project, there's a lot that you might not know about this area!Statistics
In 2010, the overall population of the St Austell area was recorded as 30,800 people, with approximately 20% of the male population and 19% of the female population between the ages of 20 and 40. The numbers reflect a population increase of 8% since the 2001 census. Current statistics suggest an average house price in the local area of just under £200,000, with an average salary reported as being in excess of £19,000 pa.History
During the 1500s, St Austell was described by antiquary John Leland as having nothing notable other than the Parish Church! Today, this could not be further from the truth. The church itself still stands, a main focal point of the town centre for almost 850 years, but there are many other prominent features and locations that have contributed to the local scenery and beauty.
The discovery of China Clay deposits in the 1700s would prove to be of vital importance to the town in the mid 19th and early 20th Century. It was at this time that the decline in metal mining, such as copper and tin, created an increased importance in the clay mining industry. Those who had previously lost their jobs were able to find work in the town, which in turn increased the population and brought several other businesses and shops to the area.
Historic landmarks are located throughout the general area, such as the White Hart Hotel. This Georgian building dates back to the 17th Century, and was originally built as a residence for Charles Rashleigh, founder of Charlestown. Panoramic Wallpaper depicting the Bay of Naples in this building is now on shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.The Town Centre
Work on the original town centre, a pedestrianised high-street, began in 1963. The design allowed for commercial and residential opportunities, with shops, offices and flats available. Even today, these opportunities remain available, although the increase in population along with a change in consumer demand meant that expansion was both required and inevitable.
Over the past few years, the town centre has undergone a massive renovation, which has brought several new retailers to the area. The creation of White River Place, as it is known, first began in 2007 and over the following years led to the arrival of several renowned high street brands in the town, including Costa Coffee and GAME, while also allowing other established retailers such as Superdrug to move into larger, more suitable premises.
In addition to this, the redevelopment led to the creation of the first purpose-built cinema in Cornwall for over 60 years. White River Cinema replaced the previously demolished Film Centre, bringing state of the art 3D cinema technology and high quality seating to the area.Tourism and Entertainment
For over 150 years, St Austell Brewery has been at the heart of the South West pub industry. Their flagship ale, Tribute, has won awards throughout the UK since its creation in 1999, and it serves over 170 locations throughout the South West. The original brewery, the Seven Stars Inn, survives to this day in the main town, as does Tregonissey House, where Sir William Hicks first plied his trade providing malt to the local alehouses. Nowadays, the main Visitor Centre offers employment options and visitor tours for those interested in learning more about the popular industry.
In 2001, the Eden Project opened its doors to the public. The tourist attraction brings in visitors from across the globe, primarily showcasing thousands of plant species within domes that emulate a multitude of environments. In addition to this, the venue has become a key part of popular culture within the entertainment industry, with scenes from the 2002 James Bond film, Die Another Day, captured at the location. In 2005, the venue hosted the Africa Calling concert that formed part of Live 8, while the annual Eden Sessions event has invited numerous popular artists from the worlds of music and comedy to the area, including the likes of Jessie J, Oasis, Mumford and Sons, Amy Winehouse and Eddie Izzard.
In the days before Eden, the Cornwall Coliseum in Carlyon Bay would be a regular stop for many of the hit artists of 1980s and 1990s. The Carlyon Bay area itself is due to undergo a massive renovation as a beach resort, a proposal which was approved in 2011 following its initial proposal in 2003.
Since 2010, the Torchlight Carnival has brought the town's local business and groups together in celebration, providing entertainment as well as a way of giving back to the local community.Education
The St Austell area features numerous options for primary and secondary education, with eight primary schools and two comprehensive schools in the local area. In addition to this, Cornwall College, the amalgamation of St Austell Sixth Form Centre and Mid Cornwall College of Further Education provides Further and Higher Education options to willing students.Sport
Sport has played a huge part in the history of St Austell, with the local Rugby, Football and Cricket teams continuing to bring pride to the local area at locations such as Tregorrick Park and Wheel Eliza Cricket Park, the latter of which has even played host to Minor Counties matches.
In the past, motor racing events such as Speedway and Stock Car Racing have also called this town home, including the Formula 2 World Stock Car Championships that were held here in 1972. The Cornish Stadium is nowadays known as Stadium Retail Park, which plays host to Cornish Market World.Transport
The St Austell train station is located just a short walk away from the main town, providing regular services to the west and east. Up to three services to the North of England and Scotland also operate per day. Meanwhile, the town's main bus station is located directly opposite the train station, allowing for easy connections on journeys, plus access to National Express services.
Air travel is also conveniently located, with Newquay Airport approximately 15 miles away and offering regular services throughout the UK and Europe.