As the talk on William West at Luxulyan approaches, so this blog moves on from his days with Samuel Grose to his involvement with with one of the most influential industrialist of Cornwall. This was an involvement that would lead to the famous Austen engine trial at Fowey Consol’s .
From 1831 onward, Treffry and West’s success became intertwined, and therefore, to gain an understanding of how their two lives crossed paths I have dipped into “The king of Mid Cornwall” by John Keast and pulled out some key dates from Treffy’s life and linked them with William West’s timeline.
These dates do not represent a full account of Treffry’s life, but will a give a framework onto which to add other facts.
Joseph Thomas Austin
The King of Mid Cornwall
J.T Austin, later to be named Treffry, was a remarkable figure. He man
aged to transform a relatively small and financially decaying estate until a large industrial and commercial empire. Treffry created an integrated business whose influence spread outwards from Fowey to dominate mid-Cornwall. It was a business that included transport links, mines, quarries, ships and manufacturing.
He was baptized at St. Andrew’s Church Plymouth. The Austens Came from Great Deviock in St. Germans Parish, but later settled in the Friary Plymouth. Joseph’s Father Jacob was a brewer, his mother was Susanna Treffry of Place Fowey.
His father died.
His Mother inherited estate from her brother.
Austen was sent to Exeter college Oxford.
His sister Sarah died, leaving Joseph as the only child
Matriculated from university
Gifted at mathematics and drawing
Managing the estate in the early years
He came of age, and was managing the family estate, which was not in a good condition.
Austen left Oxford without taking a degree.
He obtained the interests from his cousins of the Place Estate.
Austen Became involved in an unsuccessful attempt to move post office packet station from Falmouth to Fowey, he helped boat’s crew to survey harbour.
Austen was speaker at political meeting organised by Colman Rasheigh for political reform
He purchased Penventinue farm from the Boconnoc Estate. With it came the area of Caffa Mill where he built a lime kiln salt cellars. This was the site of Austn’s first commercial ventures. He built first ships here, and in later years built waterwheel to power an incline up to to a field near kiln 360ft above sea level; limestone, manure and sea sand used the same route.
Early evidence of Austen investing in mining ventures.
Active member of Friends of freedom and The Reform Society.
Austen buys shares in Wheal Treasure, this would later develop into Fowey Consols.
Time started to be taken up with parliamentary elections.
Wheal Treasure closed.
- Austin was running out of cash, farming was going through bad period, but he had put his property in good order. Some building work undertaking himself.
- Wheal Treasure re-opened along with adjacent mines
- Large amount of tree planting conducted on his estates, trees from Kelso in Scotland.
- Wheal Treasure, Wheal Fortune and Wheal Chance combined as Fowey Consols.
Route of a tramway surveyed between Lanescott mine and Fowey.
Work stated by Austen at Par Harbour, and its associated Par Canal.
Riots at Lanescott mine.
Contract signed by William Petherick for Austen’s engine.
- Austen’s engine set to work.
- Austin proposed a suspension bridge across the River Fowey as part of a new Torpoint to Truro road. William West had previosely visited Sunderland to inspection bridge there as an example of what could be achieved.
Engineer James M. Rendel produces survey of proposed new coast road.
- Deal signed to extend Fowey Consols at Carrogat.
- Fowey Consols at its peak of success.
William West became the mine’s sole engineer
The Victorian era starts
A name is changed
- J.T Austen changes his name to J.T Treffry, the family name.
- Austen purchases Newquay Harbour.
- The building of the Luxulyan Viaduct commenced..
- Par Consols started.
West installed a long stroke engine at Wheal Treasure.
Work started on Carmears incline
West started his long association with the South Caradon Mine.
Work started on building the Par Lead smelting works.
- Treffry Viaduct completed.
- Treffry starts suffering ill health.
Plymouth Breakwater lighthouse completed using granite from Treffy’s quarries.
- The West Fowey Consols mine opened.
- The Newquay railway act is passed
- Treffry is Chairman of newly formed Cornwall Railway. He convinced the committee to use Brunel as its engineer.
- An 80″ engine set to work at Par Consols by William West.
- New Cornwall railway bill passed, with the route engineered by Brunel.
- Treffry is in poor health.
Work started on The Cornwall Railway.
- First Cargo from East Wheal Rose to Newquay harbour along the Newquay railway.
- Branch opened to Hendra Downs.
Treffry’s era ends
Newquay and Cornwall Junction Railway construction started.
- Fowey Consols failed
- South Fowey Consols founded
Cornwall Minerals Railway’s Act of Parliament was laid
Contents of Treffry’s Estate
This list is extracted from his estate act 1853, as reproduced in “The King of mid-Cornwall”. An idea of the range of Treffry’s interests can be gained from this list.
- Tramway and Branches
- Smelting works
- Candle factory
- Coal, Iron, Timber, granite, clay and claystone dealer
- Lime burning
- Ship owner
J.T. Austin (Treffry) had a major influence on the success of William West of Tredenham, and his life story and works is one that deserves further exploration. Among the events listed above are many that tempt me to discover more. Unfortunately distraction will not get the talk researched, so this blog will therefore return to him in the future. Meanwhile on to the next topic….Fowey Consols I suspect.