University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

St Just in Penwith: an Economic and Demographic Study

Symons, John C. (2007) St Just in Penwith: an Economic and Demographic Study. Masters thesis, Coventry University in collaboration with University of Worcester.

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The parish of St Just in Penwith is situated on the north coast of Cornwall close to Land's End. Throughout the nineteenth century its economy was dominated by the vagaries associated with the mining of copper and tin ores. Up to the 1860s it was an expanding economy resulting from these rich deposits, notwithstanding the high costs associated with hard rock mining, the ore being deposited in lodes embedded in the granite and surrounding greenstone of the region.
The aim of this dissertation is to analyse the changes that occurred during the century, evaluating the impact of the recession on the productivity of the industry and changes in the structure of the population. In particular the changes will be examined in the context of the theories of Thomas Malthus and E G Ravenstein.
During the first half of the century, the output of the mines, both in terms of value and quantity rose steadily, peaking around 1860. Following discoveries of easily worked deposits in the New World, and the increasing availability of recycled metal, the Cornish mining industry slumped. The number of working mines in St Just fell dramatically from a peak of 16 in the 1860s to four by the end of the century, bringing in its wake a sharp reduction in population and increasing social hardship. Further hardship was felt within the agricultural community which itself suffered in much the same way. The outcome for the community was the attraction the parish offered for fruitful employment and the 'pull' of immigration rapidly diminished in the second half of the century with an economy in sharp decline, and a population 'pushed' to look elsewhere for employment.
The dissertation opens with a broad discussion of the topography and geology of the parish, statement of the aims, and an outline of the theories of Malthus and Ravenstein. This is followed by a chapter devoted to the economy of the parish. The third chapter analyses the demographic changes resulting from the changing economy. The dissertation concludes with a summary of the findings, and how they support, or otherwise, the aims set out in the introduction.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:

The Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts was formerly the Department of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, mining industry, Thomas Malthus, E.G.Ravenstein, economic history, economic theory, nineteenth century, copper mining, tin mining, UK, social history, mining history
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Cathrine Lowe
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2008 08:36
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:49

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