PAR (Cornish : AN PORTH, meaning creek or harbour ) is a village and
fishing port with a harbour on the south coast of
Par is approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east of
It became developed in the second quarter of the nineteenth century when the harbour was developed, to serve copper mines and other mineral sites in and surrounding the Luxulyan Valley ; china clay later became the dominant traffic as copper working declined, and the harbour and the china clay dries remain as distinctive features of the industrial heritage; however the mineral activity is much reduced.
Par Harbour and the beach at Par Sands are south of the village, and the latter includes a large static caravan holiday park; another small beach is at Spit Point west of the harbour. Between these two beaches the South West Coast Path takes an inland diversion through the village.
Par lies in a triangle of streets which form a one-way traffic system. There is a variety of shops, a post office, a public house and other businesses.
* 1 Churches
* 2 Par Harbour and Canal
* 2.1 Joseph Treffry * 2.2 Par Canal
* 3 China clay * 4 The harbour today * 5 Railways * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
The church of St Mary the Virgin
The Anglican church of St Mary the Virgin at Biscovey was completed
in 1849. It was built mainly from the local reddish coloured Biscovey
slates. The parish of Par was formed out of parts of
PAR HARBOUR AND CANAL
Before 1800 the village was a small group of houses below the cliff overlooking the mouth of the River Par ; the river was crossed by a ferry. During the first years of the nineteenth century small scale workings of china stone , china clay (known as kaolinite outside the UK), copper and granite were developed. Par Harbour in the early 20th century
Joseph Austen, born 1782, was an important
To bring the copper ore to Par, Treffry built a canal from Pontsmill
to Par by canalising the river; he constructed a tramway on an
inclined plane from
Treffry later built a new tramway up the Luxulyan Valley to Molinnis, and extended it down from Pontsmill to Par, by-passing the canal; this further developed the importance of Par. However copper was exported to Swansea for smelting and coal for powering mine engines were imported from there; this involved a difficult sea passage around Land's End, and Treffry announced his intention to continue his tramway to Newquay, on the north coast of Cornwall. This was not achieved in his lifetime.
In the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century, the importance of copper working had seriously diminished, due to exhaustion and the availability of cheaper supplies of the mineral elsewhere in the world. At the same time, china clay (kaolinite) became ever more important, and industrialisation of the extraction and processing work took place. This mineral became the dominant outward traffic at Par, and clay dries were erected in the vicinity (at Par Moors and elsewhere), together with further expansion of the harbour.
The opening of the
In 1858 15,154 tons of china clay were shipped out of Par. By 1885
86,325 tons were being handled at Par, but by this time
The harbour developed a range of industrial facilities including a lead smelter with a 248-foot (76 m) high chimney known as Par Stack. This was used as a navigation aid by shipping until it was demolished in 1907.
THE HARBOUR TODAY
A 450-foot (140 m) breakwater encloses 35 acres (14 ha) of water
which is tidal with only 16 feet (4.9 m) depth of water and, unlike
Today china clay is piped to the harbour in slurry form; most is dried in large sheds before exporting either from Par or Fowey, the two being linked by a private road. One berth at Par can also load clay slurry into coasting vessels. The harbour also has a rail link that is used to carry away dried clay loaded in rail vans.
A major reduction in china clay operations, announced on 4 July 2006,
included proposals to close Par to commercial shipping and to close
some of the clay dryers. The closures took effect in 2007. There were
plans to re-develop the docks as part of the
The line of the former
The first railway in Par was the southwards extension of Treffry Tramways , a horse-operated mineral railway that connected Molinnis and pits and quarries in the Luxulyan Valley with Par. This opened in 1865, replacing the canal.
Treffry's tramway was taken over by the
Par harbour continued in importance in the twentieth century; the restricted railway facilities on the site led to dedicated shunting locomotives, such as Bagnall 0-4-0ST "Alfred" and "Judy" , being built specially for the work.
The railway line from Par to
Henry Jenner , A Handbook of the Cornish Language: Chiefly in
Its Latest Stages, with Some Account of its History and Literature,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1904 reprinted 2012, ISBN 978 1
108 04702 9
* ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200
John Keast, The King of Mid-Cornwall: the Life of Joseph Thomas Treffry (1782–1850), Truran, 1983, ISBN 978-0907566199