Ball Clay Heritage Society

Ball Clay Heritage Society

The Society was formed in February 2000 to further understanding of the geology, occurrence and properties of the ball clays of Devon and Dorset and to preserve the history and heritage of clay production, transport and use, To that end, the Society is assembling an irreplaceable collection of artefacts, store of archive materials and a range of photographs, films and videos. After identification of suitable premises, the aim will be to establish a museum.

Meanwhile, we arrange talks, visits and a newsletter for our members and we are assembling a comprehensive oral interview archive from the people that worked in the ball clay industry.

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  • Candy's Pit, Heathfield - 1920s.

    The clay was cut into cubes about 9 inches square. In transport the edges were smoothed and the clay was sold by the 'ball', hence the name 'ball clay'. The tools used in cutting the clay are shown in the following slides.

  • Thirting iron.

    The thirting iron was used to cut the long scores and cross cuts. The typical clay worker on the right of Slide 1 is using a thirting iron to cut a long score.

  • Lumper

    The lumper was used to undercut the 'ball' so that it could be withdrawn. One is shown in Slide 1 leaning against the bench on the right of the picture.

  • Poge

    The poge had a curved metal spike on the end of a pole. The spike was stuck in the'ball', which was then lifted and put into the wagon. The clay worker on the left in Slide 1 is using a poge to load the wagon.

  • Tubil

    In underground mining, there was insufficient room to swing a lumper. The tubil was shorter in both shaft and blade and was used in a rather different way than the lumper.

Admission & prices

As we have no dedicated premises, this is not applicable. However, if you require further information or access to our collection please contact us by email or telephone.

Find us


The Ball Clay Heritage Society
Dunderdale Lawn,
Penshurst Road,
Newton Abbot

T: 01626 354404

Our videos Click on the play button below to view our videos

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Ball Clay Heritage Society

The Ball Clay Heritage Society
Dunderdale Lawn,
Penshurst Road,

Newton Abbot, DEVON