The former mining village of Polgooth is located two miles south of St Austell. Historical records of mining in Polgooth go back to 1593, and by the eighteenth century the Polgooth mine was the richest mine in the UK, said by some to be 'the greatest tin mine in the world'. By 1800 more than a thousand people were employed in the mine in conditions that would be considered barbaric by today's standards and a community of miner's cottages had grown up around the slag heaps and engine houses that scarred and dominated the landscape.
During its heyday Polgooth's shareholders included the engineers James Watt and Matthew Boulton, the Industrialist John Wilkinson, local entrepeneur Charles Rashleigh, who built Charlestown so that the tin could be exported, landowner Henry Arundell and potters Josiah and John Wedgewood.
In 1836 the South Polgooth mine opened to the west of the village, producing not just tin but also copper, wolfram, arsenic and zinc. Mining activites in the nineteenth century were dogged by fluctuations in the falling price of tin and the Polggoth mine was eventually closed in 1894.
The population of Polgooth fell dramatically until the 1960s, when Polgooth's proximity to St Austell, Truro and the South Cornish coast led to the construction of numerous bungalows and suburban residencies. Traces of the once-flourishing mining industry can still be seen in the survival of the old count house, one of the old engine houses and a stamping mill, all of which have been turned into private houses. Also of interest is the Polgooth Inn which dates back to the sixteenth century.