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Feock Trails - History Information

Restronguet Creek


Penpoll smelting works

On the South side of the parish an arm of the Restronguet Creek runs north from the village of Point to the bridge at Penpol, with deep water on the east side of it. In 1817, Sir William Lemon of Carclew leased 8 acres of Penpol Croft, with stone quarries, to John Swan, gentleman of the parish of Feock, to erect and build a quay or Wharf, with storehouses, to be called Lemon Quay; and in November l8l8 there was an advertisement in the West Briton that "Prime Welch 'Coal" was available at the newly erected Quay in Restronguet Creek, adjoining Penpol, called Lemon Quay. In January 1818 John Swan & Co. advertised that they are ready to receive copper ores to be shipped to Wales (for smelting) and open for purchase of coal brought back in the ships carrying ore.

Penpoll Tin Smelting Company Sign.

The Penpoll Smelting Works were built soon after, because in April 1827 John Swan "is now ready to receive samples of Lead Ore for assaying, and to treat for purchase"; but in 1828 he was involved in a lawsuit with Viscount Falmouth and was made bankrupt within the bankruptsy sale. He is described as "of Truro, Merchant" supplying mining and building requisites such as coals, timber, iron, candles, leather, Bridgewater bricks, tiles and laths. The sale was held at Pearce's Hotel, Truro, now "The Royal", on September 22nd and describes the Works: -

"the newly erected Lead Smelting Works contains Calcining Furnaces, 2 Flowing Furnaces, 3 Refining Furnaces, with all necessary Working Tools Moulds, Test Rings etc. and stock of bone ashes. In complete repair and calculated for smelting 180 tons of Lead a month".

Lemon Quay was also to be sold and details could be obtained from Mr. Wm. Penrose of Tregie, Feock. In 1829 creditors received 10s0d in the £ and another 2s0d in 1831.

In 1829, William Stevens of Feock, Yeoman, leased a piece of land "on the beach under Penpol estate" With liberty to erect and build a mill on the plot of ground nearest to Lemon Quay. The Walls to be stone and the roof slate and to erect a Dam or Weir across Penpoll Creek and hatching and sluices convenient for a pond for scouring the channel in front of Lemon Quay. The Mill has disappeared but 'Bone Mill Pond' still exists, with stepping stones replacing the sluices, and is used as winter quarters for boats.

In 1830 the Lead Smelting House lease was drawn up between Sir Charles Lemon and William Penrose of Tregie and R. & W. Michell (a Truro partnership with an interest in the Calenick Tin Smelting Works and also suppliers of mining accessories) but on 28th March 1838 (according to the monumental tablet in Feock Church) William Penrose died suddenly and the lease was changed, The Michell family continued, Juliana, the Widow, took William's place and William Stephens joined them. The copy of the lease in the Whitford papers is engrossed the Penpol Head Smelting Works.

An accident reported in the West Briton on May list 1840 gives a picture of the works. 'On Tuesday evening last, Mr. Trewhella, clerk to Mr. Knight, brewer in Truro, was returning from Point when his horse fell over a plank projecting in the road in front of the smelting works - he was severely injured - but prompt assistance - gives hope of recovery. The place is dangerous at any time, but the road having been repaired with slag from the furnaces, its boundaries are very indistinct, and at night the danger is increased by sudden flashes of light when the fire is stirred".

A school must have been established in connection with the works, because in the report of the Trelissick Tea Treat (W. B. l. 7. 1848) "The scholars from the school at Point, established by Mr. Michell on the British & Foreign system, came in Waggons with banners'. The first Penny Readings were held in support of the library connected with the School. "Mr. H. B. Champion, the manager, for the opening reading selected a beautiful tale Written by Mr. John Harris, the Cornish poet, entitled 'Nat Moss' which was exceedingly well received. All the other pieces elicited the approval of all concerned. The readings will be continued fortnightly".

In 1870 and 1880 there are other leases between Arthur Tremayne of Carclew (Sir Charles Lemon died in l868) and the London based Penpoll Tim Smelting Company, who had possession of all the land running down to the creek, together with the bone mill and the upper mill pool, except for a piece of land retained "for the purpose of building a schoolroom.

By comparing the maps of 1845 and 1880, it can be seen that the Penpoll Company had set up a new and extended works. The figures published for the fortnightly Tin Ticketing’s (established in 1887) show there to have been keen buyers whenever the price dropped slightly and willing to pay above the average to snatch high grade ore from their 4 or 5 competitors. In the following years tin production in Cornwall declined and the company built new smelting works near Liverpool. In 1921 they paid the Tremaynes £500 to be released from their repairing contract and left Penpol.

At some time before 1880 arsenic flues must have been erected; there were two chimneys on the high land behind the works to get rid of the fumes and in 1924; Mr. Fred L. Morcom had a tribute pitch from the Tremaynes to carry away arsenic from these flues.

Little remains now, but traces can still be seen. At the foot of the hill below Point Green is the oldest quay, built before 1800 and called Daniell's Quay, which was the terminus of the Devoran and Chasewater Railway. There is still quay walling all the way along the river bank, almost up to the Bone Mill Pond this was Lemon Quay and Smelting House Quay. The brick built house on the lower road near Point Green is reputed to be built with the bricks from the chimneys. There is still slag on the beaches on both sides of the creek.

Our resource in this section is taken directly from Feock Local History written by the Feock Local History Group 1975. A full series of articles produced by the group can be viewed on the Feock Trails Historical Reference Library option within the Parish website. 


NOTE: As been mentioned, the Penpoll Tin Smelting Company built a new smelting works in Bootle, near Liverpool, at around the turn of the century. This, in its time, became the largest Tin Smelting works in Europe, bringing in ores from South America. In 2002 plans were put forward for regeneration of the site which was described as "formerly a clay pit, the Penpoll Smelting works, the Penpoll Works (Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), another engineering works and subsequently the Penpoll Industrial Estate".

A development of 64 semi-detached homes was proposed, which was supported by neighbouring "Klondyke Residents Association". The application was initially recommended for refusal due to concerns over the contamination of the site from smelting wastes. In 2008 the Liverpool Echo reported a legal dispute over the 515 acre plot which might lead to the developer taking on Sefton Council in a trial which could cost the taxpayers up to £1.7m; however, the situation would appear 'resolved' in 2009 and it is believed that the development went ahead.

Written and compiled by Phil Allen


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