Frank Parkyn

Frank Parkyn 1850 – 1940

Frank Parkyn was born in Lerryn in July 1850, and the 1851 census shows him aged 8 months, living at Collon Farm with his parents Francis and Margaret, and siblings Mary Catherine (1843) and Anne (1846).
His mother, Margaret (Banks), originally came from Kendal, Westmoreland,but it is not known how she and Francis met; although they were married in 1849 on the Wirral in Cheshire.
Francis Parkyn was one of the last “Merchant Princes” of Cornwall, who
traded in various commodities, especially wool from farms east of the river Fowey.

The 1861 census shows Frank as a scholar, still living with his parents, but the family had now moved to Mixton House in Lerryn. In the intervening 10 years, there were 3 other children William B. Parkyn (1852), Frances M (1854) and Isabella (1857).

In 1871 the family was still at Mixton House, and had been joined by the youngest offspring, Agnes C. Parkyn, born in 1862 when Francis was 45,and Margaret was 43! By this time, Frank’s occupation was shown as farmer’s son and merchant, so following in father’s footsteps at the age of 21.

Margaret Parkyn died in 1874, and Francis in 1875, so by the time of the 1881 census, Frank was still living at Mixton House, along with eldest sister Ann, who was head of the household, and younger
sisters Frances and Agnes.
His occupation was then shown as China Clay manufacturer employing 29 men and 4 boys, so by this time, his business enterprise was well on its way.

Strangely, there don't seem to be census records for him in 1891 or 1901, and yet Frank acquired “Penquite”, near Golant, towards the end of the 19th century.
In the 1901 census, there is no Head of the House, but the first person in the list of occupants is Frank’s elder sister Annie, who is shown as “living on her own means”. Bearing in mind that Frank never married, perhaps Annie was looking after the house for him
whilst he was out of the country on business.

Frank moved in to Penquite in 1902, and the 1911 census
shows him living there accompanied by 2 domestic servants.

And so to details of Frank’s business in the China Clay Industry, for which we are grateful to the China Clay History Society for providing the information.
In his youth, he was sent to live on Bodmin Moor because of indifferent health. He began prospecting there in the 1870s at Durfold and Blisland, later at Temple and the Glynn Valley, and by 1894 had also acquired a pit at Cardinham. However, these pits, together with several other small pits on Bodmin Moor, did not survive beyond the early 20th century.
So, Frank began to carve out a position in the industry when he expanded his interests to the St Austell area. By 1879 he was tenant of Biscovillett (on the eastern fringes of Blackpool), and in 1881 he formed a partnership with Woodman Peters. In 1884 the partners took leases at Blackpool and North Halviggan. Shortly afterwards, they leased Pentruff and Cocksbarrow pits, and Alseveor became another pit operated by the firm. Frank Parkyn directed sales and business management, and Woodman Peters was production manager.

In 1911, Woodman Peters died, but the partnership carried on for another 45 years, maintaining the name of Parkyn and Peters throughout. Woodman Peters’ share was, after 1911, held by members of his family, but Frank Parkyn was the most prominent figure in the firm.
It was the operations at Blackpool, now one of Imerys’ 3 “super pits”,
which became the core of Parkyn and Peters’ business. Although the
partnership occupied 6th or 7th place in the production league table of firms in the first half of the 20th century, it – or rather Frank Parkyn – was not minded to join in the spate of amalgamations and take-overs which began in 1919, or to join in the various “Associations” ( effectively, and quite literally, price fixing cartels) which were set up and collapsed with great frequency in that period. This steadfast protection of his independence by Frank Parkyn extended to a refusal to consider conversion of the partnership into a limited company, and to a determination to keep his distance from what was to become English China Clays, although they eventually acquired all the interests after his death.

Frank Parkyn was a caring employer, and it is reported that he was frequently more interested in the well-being of his employees, horses and machinery, than with maximising his profits. He was reluctant to
lay off men when trade was depressed, and the esteem in which he was held by his employees was demonstrated by more than a hundred of his staff walking in procession from his house in St Austell to the funeral service at St Mewan church, when he died at the age of 90 on 13th September 1940.

In his obituary in the Royal Cornwall Gazette, mention is made of his
70-year interest in Lerryn, where he had inaugurated the Regatta, and he was secretary for many years from 1870 onwards.
He gave a section of woodland by the riverside, laid it out as an attractive Tivoli Park, and presented it for use as a pleasure ground. Among the many organisations which enjoyed his patronage as a
vice-president was St Austell Hospital Saturday Association, and he was a good friend to several local cricket clubs. He was the
oldest serving Past Master of Restormel Lodge of Freemasons at Lostwithiel.

 

1964. Mixton House, built by Frank Parkin Senior. Then the home of 'Granny' King (botanist, ex-Leeds University) and Mr Kellaway (musician).

1960s. Lerryn Tivoli Park. Arches above Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn.  Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by
1960s. Lerryn Tivoli Park. Arches above Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block. [LER-57-280]
1960s. Lerryn Tivoli Park. Arches above Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block. [LER-57-280]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn.  Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by
1960s. Tivoli Park. Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-281]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Pond constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-281]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Bathing Pool constructed by Frank Parkyn.  Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by
1960s. Tivoli Park. Bathing Pool constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-282]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Bathing Pool constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-282]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Entrance and Quay constructed by Frank Parkyn.  Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by
1960s. Tivoli Park. Entrance and Quay constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-283]
1960s. Tivoli Park. Entrance and Quay constructed by Frank Parkyn. Land taken from woodland and levelled building created by "Job Creation " in depression 1922/3. Tregoose was originally recreation block [LER-57-283]
   Tuesday, 12 December, 2017    © Lerryn History Society 2017