Cask Banks

You will see three cask banks here. They are raised roughly-triangular areas with retaining stone walls approximately 800mm high, perfect for loading and unloading casks directly from horse-drawn wagons. The one to the north (furthest away from the harbour) was built around 1850 and the middle and southern ones (nearest the harbour) were built around 1908.

Originally china clay was dried at the quarries to the north of St Austell, packed in small barrels and carried to Charlestown on horse-drawn wagons. On arrival at the port the casks were loaded onto the low bank (cask bank) to the north-east of the inner basin until they were ready to be loaded onto ships.

With the opening of two new clay dries in Charlestown in 1906 and 1908 the amount of space for the clay which still arrived dried and in casks was limited so two further casks banks were built closer to the harbour.  The ‘new’ casks banks were built to make it as easy as possible to load and unload from the wagons, with triangular indents for the wagon to back-into for this purpose and also to avoid blocking the road for other traffic.