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Series Four: Sources from Record Offices in the United Kingdom

Part 2: Papers of Harvey & Co of Hayle from Cornwall Record Office

This fourth series brings together significant records relating to the industrial revolution from record offices all over Britain.  We commence with papers from Cornwall Record Office in Truro. 

Part 2 completes coverage of the papers of Harvey & Co of Hayle, who were one of Cornwall’s most important industrial concerns,  The correspondence covers mining (Cornish and foreign), shipping (deep-sea and coastal), and engineering.

The company was founded in 1779 by John Harvey, a village blacksmith who set up a foundry to supply water pipes for the tin mines.  To ensure a regular supply of pig iron he bought his own ship.  To fill the ship up on its outward voyages he started to trade agricultural produce.  Because this demanded more voyages he also started to import Welsh coal and timber for the mines.  And so the company grew -- by 1847 Williams’ Commercial Directory described the Company as “Millers, Engineers, iron founders, iron and coal merchants, Ship-builders, ship-owners Ironmongers, Wholesale grocers, Tea-dealers, and General merchants and Rope-makers.”

Their papers provide a view of the Industrial Revolution in microcosm and show how a small local company grew to be an international concern, with steamships sailing around the world and with contracts to drain the polders in the Netherlands and to supply engines to mines in Mexico.  They also contain important records relating to Richard Trevithick, an inventor who made considerable improvements to Watt’s steam engine. 

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