The Iron Foundry was established here in 1779. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution from around the mid-eighteenth century, Britain demanded the very best in engineering excellence and "Harvey's of Hayle" provided this, an put it at the heart of the wave of prosperity which placed this small Cornish port firmly on the national and international maps. Parts of the Clifton Suspension Bridge were made in Harvey's foundry and much work was carried out for the Cornwall Railway which opened in 1859.

Richard Trevithick's Cornish Beam Engine was developed here, as was his Steam Road Locomotive which was tested on Camborne Hill in 1801. Following the success in Cornish Mines, these beam engines and boilers were shipped around the world.

The 1830's saw expansion in Harvey's manufacturing from Cornish Shovels to Water Wheels and parts for ships. In 1830 the boilers for the 'Echo', and early steam-powered ships, were built in the foundry. In 1846 the first Iron Steamship, 'Prussian Eagle', was constructed, and a year later the foundry cast the blocks for the Danube Suspension Bridge.

John Harvey died in 1802, and he was succeeded by his son Henry, then aged 26, who presided over the company until his death in 1850. The company continued to be run by the family, but a letter dated 17th May, 1894 gave indication of impending closure with the company being concerned at the loss of jobs for 580 men and boys. The Foundry family closed in 1903, and with it came the end of an era.

The White Hart Hotel has welcomed travelling engineers since the days of the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a frequent visitor to Hayle in the booming years of the industrial revolution.

The White Hart Hotel today boasts 26 en suite bedrooms, an attractive bar and restaurant with some original wooden 'patterns' for making moulds for the old foundry, displayed on the walls. During renovations, great care has been taken to retain the grace and character of its classical proportions.