Par Village

In 1849 the Parish of Par was a hive of industry, the hub of which was the Port of Par.   The people enjoyed a fair degree of affluence due to the copper and tin mining industry.

In 1819 Joseph Thomas Austen whose mother was a Treffry of Place and who later took the name of Treffry by deed poll, took control of a group of five mines known as Fowey Consols which flourished under his control and were a major source of employment in the area.  In 1845 West Fowey Consols Mine came into production just below Roselyon. The mine leat, carrying the water to work it, can still be seen running alongside St. Blazey Road.

The Port of Par owes its origin as a seaport entirely to the perseverance of the late Joseph Thomas Treffry, who constructed the breakwater and quays and converted this place from an open bay into a safe port. He connected the port with the mines by railways and canals, undertakings which were further developed by his Trustees.   Treffry’s many business interests had brought a new prosperity to Par and St. Blazey and both villages underwent a major building programme and it was at this time that the cottages in Par Green were built.

Par Harbour, which had started as a port to export copper, had gradually attracted the China Clay trade, small quantities having been shipped since 1830 when Bodelva and Carvear pits opened up.  Between 1840 and 1856 the tonnage had risen to 15,000 tons and by 1866 to 38,000 tons.  The copper industry by this time was rapidly in decline. 

Boat yards and sail lofts prospered in Par, building mainly small cargo schooners, barques and sailing barges for the coastal and channel trades.  The boats were made entirely of locally produced and processed materials using local firms which in turn provided more local employment.

1867 was a bleak year, due to the collapse in the copper market.  Fowey Consols Mine, which had employed 1,680 people, closed.  A couple of smaller mines remained at Pembroke and East Crinnis.  Some of the unemployed were absorbed by the tin industry which was enjoying a brief revival but by 1873 many Cornish miners were emigrating to Canada, Australia and South Africa to find employment there.

By 1877 there were no mines working and the China Clay Industry was going through a bad patch.  Gradually though, the Clay Industry enlarged and employed greater quantities of men and the boat building business still prospered.  Many fishing vessels used the harbour and imports of coal, slate, timber and other goods brought additional shipping trades.

The last century saw the tonnage of China Clay shipped through Par, greatly increase.  Sail gave way to Steam and Diesel power although sailing vessels were still using the Port of Par up to the 1920’s.  A Brick Works was started at Par after the First World War using harbour mud mixed with china clay waste and many houses of the period were made with Par Bricks.

The major local sources of employment in the Parish in the 20th century were the China Clay Industry and the Railways.  For this reason, Par Station was a very busy place (in the early days Par Station was the postal address for Par).  Par still contains the branch line for Newquay - a popular route with a seven days a week service.

The greatest change to the Par area was the closure of Par Harbour to shipping. China clay is now shipped from Fowey with no working ships coming in to Par.  The last clay ship left Par in November 2008.

The railway and china clay industries have suffered many cut backs over the years but the population of Par continues to grow.  Housing areas still expand with residents commuting to places of work outside Par.