St. Austell, Cornwall
Town of St. Austell, Cornwall
St Austell ("Saint Ostel", Cornish: Sen Ostell) is a town in Cornwall, England, UK. St Austell has a population of 22,658 (2001 census), larger than any other town in Cornwall.
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After William Cookworthy discovered china clay in Tregonning, greater quantities were found 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 a major contributor to the growth of the town.
The clay industry was at its peak during from mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Due to mechanisation, the china clay industry now employs a mere fraction of the workforce in the early 20th century.
Like much of Cornwall, 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.