About Redruth

Engine House
Set in the dramatic valley between the hilltops of Carn Brea, Carnmenellis and Carnmarth, Redruth’s geography is both impressive and integral to its mining heritage. Located on the Great Flat Lode, a rich and accessible body of copper and tin ore, and just three miles from port of Portreath, Redruth was home to the full range of mining society. Walk along the residential areas to the south of the town centre, and you will be welcomed by the grand Victorian architecture which was home to mine owners and others who had profited from Cornish tin. Staying in the south, along the Falmouth Road you can see the award-winning restorations of miner’s cottages – a scene replicated throughout the town. The three Town Trails highlight places of huge importance to the World Heritage Site and the mining industry generally, each with their own story to tell. The Mining Exchange building in the town centre, for example, was the place for trading and exchanging copper and tin and the only mining exchange outside of London. The exchange had an ingenious way of capitalising on the fervour and chaos of the trading process – they fined mine captains for swearing, all proceeds went to fund the Miners' Hospital! The iconic town clock has also seen its fair share of action – up until 1841 it was used as police cells, and in 1904 the tower was raised by a whole storey so that miners at the top of town could see the clock and get to work on time! For details of the town trails, see here.
Redruth’s most famous resident was William Murdoch, a pioneering inventor that was brought here by the mining industry in the 18th century. His inventions are numerous, but perhaps most significantly he was the first to use gas lighting indoors, which revolutionised the way Britain produced goods and gave the country a head start during the Industrial Revolution. Murdoch House was the first building in the world to be lit in this way, and the Murdoch Quarter part of town is named after him.
 
Nearby Carn Brea, Cornish for “Rocky Hill”, now displays a castle and monument which can be seen for miles around and provides a backdrop to Redruth’s townscape when looking to the west. As an important archaeological site, evidence of a Neolithic settlement dating from the 4th century BCE has been found, and mining is thought to have taken place here in the Bronze Age, as long ago as 2150 BCE – although Redruth itself is a newer settlement, tracing its roots back almost a thousand years to the 12th century. See more on the History of Redruth.

 

Miner's Cottages
The Leat

The Parish Church, St Euny, is located in the oldest part of the town, and can be accessed by a pleasant walk from the town centre along Church Lane, taking in the newly renovated Fairfield – home of Redruth's Plen-an-Gwari, an atmospheric and traditional Cornish open air theatre. Performances of Celtic plays, Shakespeare, poetry and many other acts are performed here throughout the year. Check the events page here.

In 2006 UNESCO granted selected areas in Cornwall and west Devon World Heritage Site status, in recognition of the importance of the industry and the landscape to humanity. Cornish tin provided extreme wealth locally, with Redruth once being one of the richest places in the country. The industry not only provided Northern Europe with its most precious metal, however, it also shaped the landscapes of Cornwall, and revolutionised the world for good through related engineering progress and inventions . The remnants of this once bustling industry are ever present in Redruth and the surrounding landscape.

The town is at the centre of the Mineral Tramways – trails which criss-cross the mining World Heritage Site, and offer breathtaking views of the Cornish north coast taking in sights from Newquay right down to St Ives. Cycling, horse riding, walking, etc. For more on the Mineral Tramways, see here.

For additional local information please contact the Redruth Visitor Centre.