China Clay Dry

In front of you is what remains of the Lovering Clay Dry and its chimney stack constructed in 1906/08. This massive building dominated the village for many years before work ceased in 1968. It was left to deteriorate and a fire in 2005 destroyed much of the remaining structures. Planning permission for housing was eventually granted on this previously developed land but the approved plans had to retain an industrial feel and planning conditions were imposed to allow public access to what remained of the existing and historically important buildings.

You are now able to walk through the site towards the chimney at the far end, some residual walls, a settling tank and much of the linhay. The properties are privately owned and we ask you to respect the residents’ privacy whilst you are on site. Access is restricted to 9.00 to 17.00 daily. There is no access on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Food and drink for personal consumption cannot be brought onto the site.

Historically the clay slurry was piped by gravity from the clay works located to the north of the village. Settling tanks allowed the slurry to settle and thicken with clear water being drawn off from the top. One of these tanks can be viewed at the far end near the chimney stack. The slurry was then heated on an extensive tiled floor and the thickened clay was spread out and dried. Little remains of the tiled floor. The tall chimney stack provided a draught for the furnace and to discharge the fumes. The dried clay was then transferred to a linhay or storage area before being transferred in small trucks on rails through a tunnel to the harbourside and waiting ships. You can view the linhay and the outer wall of the dry as well as the remains of some of the rails and an example on one of the trucks.

The diagrammatic representation of the Lovering Clay Dry allows you to see the process from the arrival of the slurry through to the loading onto the boats.

If you have enjoyed your history walk around the village please consider making a small donation to help maintain the trail and the history of Charlestown. Thank you.