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The North Quay Chimney | Notes from the Archive | Hayle Pump

As reported in The Hayle Pump October 01, 2012

Notes from the Archive

The North Quay Chimney

Glass making in Hayle is often overlooked by the Historians researching its industrial past in favour of the more obvious employers such as the Cornish Copper Company and Harvey and Co.

The Cornish Glassworks (1917-19) and its successor, The Pentowan Glass Works (1920-25) were very short lived enterprises using sand from Hayle Towans and china clay waste from St Austell. Due to the chemical properties of both these components they could only produce dark coloured glass, the high percentage of iron producing dark brown or dark green tints which only had limited sales as beer bottles for the local Hayle and Redruth Breweries.

The Cornish Glass Works utilised the furnace chimney of the previous owners of the site, the Pentowan Calcining Works which for fifty years refined arsenic extracted from the spoil heaps and abandoned workings of the nearby Wheal Lucy tin mine.

The Pentowan Glass Bottle Co. was more ambitious in its approach to problems than its predecessor. They installed a furnace capable of producing ten tons of molten glass and improved the output of 300 gross of 12 oz bottles per week (43,200 half pint bottles, Ed.) with an additional plan to recycle glass as a raw material, which would allow the Bottle Co. to also produce glass for manufacturing jam jars, medicine and sauce bottles.

Unfortunately, it also failed to be viable and closed in 1925.

After the Pentowan Glass Bottle Co. closed, the buildings were abandoned and, with the exception of the chimney, were later demolished by ICI. who used the site to build the Associated Octel Bromine Extraction Plant in 1939. This was SGP3, a secret war project that ran until 1945 producing the “anti knock” additive for aviation fuel. ICI. retained the chemical works in Hayle until 1973 when the plant was closed and, with the exception of two buildings on North Quay, was totally demolished.

Hayle Archive

Editor.-In 2011/2012, North Quay was extensively razed and rebuilt for regeneration purposes, but the Chimney is one of the historic artefacts that has been retained for future generations.