The subject is St. Austell for today's post. I remember when I moved near to the town, back in 1975, it was a busy bustling place. I thought it was great. It had lots of 'proper' shops: greengrocers, butchers, a supermarket, departmental store, clothing outlets, pubs, restaurants and so on. A thriving town.
Somehow things changed and the town went downhill. I even heard people calling it St. Nasty.
But, hopefully, things are improving. St. Austell has some interesting bits and pieces, despite some of the shops being empty because of the coronavirus. But lets be optimistic.
Lets see the good. There is some interesting stuff in town, like the new Clay Planet sphere created by Marion Brandis - as shown in the photos above and below. This is made from local china clay (kaolin).
China clay was known as white gold, as it made many wealthy and provided work for local people. The demise of the china clay industry had a detrimental effect on the town.
Let's look at some of the things to see in St. Austell. There are examples of ceramic art, often almost hidden away. One very big example is the honey bee mural below made up of over 11,000 handmade tiles.
And next we have 'As Below So Above' created by artist Matt Davis. The white signifies the local china clay. It looks a bit wobbly because it includes a mirror. There is more ceramic artwork later in the post.
St. Austell church, but more on this later.
As for shops in town, several have closed because of the coronavirus. But, as for the one below, would you go for a body piercing in a place called ouch! ?
At least there is up to 50% off at the next shop. Snag is it has closed down! Was previously a combined Burtons and Dorothy Perkins.
Back to ceramics, below are two photos of the 'Seed Bank' by Cleo Mussi.
Moving on to St. Austell's old Market House. It was being renovated at the time I snapped the photo, so only part of the building on display.
This is how it looked in the late 1800's.
Another photo of St. Austell church.
If we look down from the church pathway we can see the White Hart Hotel. This was originally the town house of Charles Rashleigh - born 1747. This is the 'Charles' as in Charlestown.
Also looking down from the church grounds we can see the Red Bank, completed in 1898, and constructed of red brick with terra-cotta detail.
Okay, while still in the church area something interesting, well two things. Firstly The Ancient Mengu Stone (or Men du). For details of the stone see my blog post here.
Secondly the hidden stone (below) from 1734 which states: Here lyeth the body of Mary Harris who died the 7th of June 1734 aged one and twenty. Full story on my blog post: The Mystery of the Hidden Stone Tablet at St.Austell Church
Let's now go back to porcelain art. Here are a few more examples to be found in the town centre
Moving on to the new(ish) town square there are shops and a Costa for coffee.
Some of the poppies are porcelain.
If we meander back to the Fore Street we see a different side of the Clay Planet sphere I mentioned at the beginning of the post.
Mustn't forget this mural by Janet Shearer with Daphne Du Maurier on the balcony. The people in the China Cafe are all residents who lived in or near St. Austell
So all in all St. Austell isn't too bad after all and look at all of the places we can visit nearby.
Villages and Towns like
and various beaches of course and a coastal path and so on and so on.