North Quay walls, steps, former stables and sluice and adjacent road bridge
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- North Quay, Hayle, TR27 4BL
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- Statutory Address:
- North Quay, Hayle, TR27 4BL
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
Quay walls, steps, former stables, sluice and road bridge of C18 and C19 date with later rebuilding and restoration.
Reasons for Designation
North Quay walls, steps, former stables, sluice and road bridge at Hayle, Cornwall are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a robust C18 quay structure with strong regional distinctiveness built using substantial quantities of good quality Cornish granite and scoria block materials; * as an uncommon survival of C18 and C19 quay walls with a flight of steps; the C19 sluice and bridge add to the interest, indicating the regular changes made to the harbour and its structures to continue their effective use; * the former stables, although ruinous, is a rare surviving C19 quayside structure and the exposed rail tracks and surfacing illustrate its former industrial character.
* as an historically significant quay of mid-C18 origin that is integral to understanding the development of Hayle into a major industrial port and an internationally renowned centre for the production of steam pumping engines.
* together with the other four principal quays in Hayle (all separately listed at Grade II) North Quay forms a group of historic built structures that despite re-use and alterations continues to be an important element of this historic mining port.
The Hayle Estuary was an important focus for trade and the movement of people and ideas in the prehistoric period, but rapid decline set in during the later medieval period as the estuary became choked by silts from tin extraction along the valleys feeding into it. From the mid-C18 this decline swiftly reversed as Hayle serviced the tin and copper mining industry of West Cornwall. Hayle and Copperhouse developed around two rival foundries owned by the Cornish Copper Company and Harvey’s (of Hayle).
The eastern section of North Quay, then known as Riviere Quay, was built in around 1740 by John ‘Merchant’ Curnow and his business partners. Following Curnow’s death in 1780 the quay was purchased and extended by the Cornish Copper Company and was used to store and tranship ore and imported coal. The company developed the quaysides along Phillack Creek at the same time as canalising part of the creek to allow vessels access to Copperhouse Docks, adjacent to the Copperhouse Foundry.
The Hayle Railway line opened in 1837, with its terminus at Foundry Square. The route between Hayle and Redruth took the line along the north side of Copperhouse Creek and there were additional stations at the Steam Packet Hotel (on North Quay) and Copperhouse. Historic mapping shows that from the 1840s and into the early C20 a rail system was established on North Quay to transport goods back and forth to the main line.
The decline in mining-related industries by the late C19 impacted on Hayle and the two foundries, although Hayle Foundry continued in use into the 1980s. New industries were established, however, and many of these were sited on or adjacent to North Quay: including the National Explosives Works on Hayle Towans (1888-1919); the Electricity Power Station on the Towans (1910-1977); a glass factory on the site of a former calcining works (1917-1925); a magnesium and bromine plant (opened by ICI in 1940); and an oil depot operated by Esso. For most of its history there were few buildings on the quay as it was mostly used to store ore or imported coal in hutches, secure open-walled enclosures open to the quayside. Set further back from the quayside is a building of 1888, probably the former stables to the Steam Packet Hotel (now demolished) which stood to the south-east. The former stables are ruinous in 2018. Other buildings of unknown use were shown on the western end of North Quay on the 1842 Tithe Map, but had been removed by 1907.
In the early C20 Hayle diversified into ship-breaking, light engineering and general cargo shipping, but these also underwent serious decline. North Quay, however, continued to operate and was extended with a north return wall in the late C20. The extension used mid-C19 granite sleeper blocks from the wharves rail system. In 2018, the quay is largely cleared pending redevelopment.
The sluice at the eastern end of the quay was built after the 1811 acquisition of the freehold of Riviere lands on the north side of Copperhouse Creek by the Cornish Copper Company. It improved the sluicing capacity of Copperhouse Pool and was designed to keep the waterside channel alongside North Quay clear of silts. It had some later C19 adaptation and is shown on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1907 with an adjacent slipway. The arch under the bridge was sealed and part of the sluice channel infilled with concrete by the late C20. In the C21 the concrete infill was removed and steel railings inserted above the sluice.
Quay walls and steps of mid-C18 date extended in the C19 and late C20; an early-C19 sluice and attached road bridge; and a C19 former stables building.
MATERIALS: the quay walls are built of granite interspersed with Killas rubble stone and copper slag blocks (scoria) with granite copings and dressings, and iron cramps. The north return wall is of granite sleeper blocks. There are iron mooring posts and rings. The sluice and bridge are built of scoria and local stone with late-C19 coursed stone additions.
PLAN: the quay walls are linear and extend approximately 470m from west to east with a return to the north at the west end. To the east, set back from the quay walls is a late-C19 building, probably a former stables.
DESCRIPTION: the quay walls are slightly battered with granite coping and have localised areas of rebuilding and repair of C19- to C21 date. The copings were restored in the early C21. There is a flight of granite steps to a return in the central section of the quay wall, and there are a small number of historic mooring posts and rings to the quayside.
The former stables are rectangular on plan and roofless with four openings facing the quayside. In front of the stables is a section of brick surfacing and railway tracks preserved within the C21 surfacing.
The former sluice at the east end of the quay is attached to an early-C19 bridge. The bridge traverses the stream that the sluice once controlled, which served the Copperhouse Pool and Canal. It has a coursed rubble stone west portal with a scoria arch. The east portal to the bridge is almost infilled by landscaping on the east side of the road although a rubble stone pier projects above the modern surfacing and a narrow gap that marks the location has C21 railings. To the west of the bridge is a coursed stone wall with a small opening at its foot under a flat lintel. This wall spans the channel to the sluice between the splayed scoria walls to each side (North Quay and Custom House Quay). Modern railings are fixed to the top of the wall and are not of special interest. The sluice channel is lined by rubble stone and scoria walls.
Books and journals
Beacham, P, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Cornwall, (2014), 233-239
Buck, C, Fleming, F and Johns, C, 'Cornish Ports and Harbours: Hayle' (2016), Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council and Historic England
Cahill, N and Cornwall Archaeological Unit, ‘Hayle Historical Assessment Cornwall’ (2000)
Gillard, B and Newell, K, ‘Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey: Hayle, Truro’ (2005), Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council
Sather, K and Associates, ‘Hayle Harbour Cornwall Conservation Management Plan (draft)’ (2005)
Wessex Archaeology, ‘Hayle Harbour Phase 1 Infrastructure Archaeological Recording at North Quay’ (2013)
Wessex Archaeology, ‘Hayle Harbour Railway North Quay Hayle Harbour Cornwall: ‘Heritage Statement for Phase 1 Infrastructure Works’ (2010b)
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing