Redruth is an ancient Cornish tin mining town located within easy drive of the North Coast beach resorts of Porthtowan and Portreath. Today, Redruth is another "quaint old Cornish town" with a busy shopping centre and market but its past is steeped in the tin and copper mining history of old Cornwall.
Redruth Town Clock Tower © TAB
As is common in Cornwall, the parish church, dedicated to St Euny, is located some distance out of town and sits under the dominating shadow of Carn Brea, a rugged hill that towers 738 feet above sea level. Carn Brea is the site of many prehistoric remains and has an intriguing old castle and a 90 foot high granite obelisk dedicated to the memory of mine owner and philanthropist Francis Basset, Lord de Dunstaville. Today, the Basset family estate at Tehidy is open to the public and is a good place to take the family for a day out.
The area around Carn Brea is studded with preserved engine houses and other interesting relics of mining archaeology. Most of these sites have been incorporated into local history trails offering insights into working of the tin and copper mining industry. At the village of Pool on the Camborne road working Cornish steam engines can still be seen at the Cornish Mines and Engines museum.
In 1792 Redruth made its giant leap into history when Scotsman Richard Murdoch became the first man ever to light his house and office with piped coal gas. Today his house in Cross Street, Redruth has been restored and is home to the Redruth Old Cornwall Society and the Cornish-American Connection.
For those interested in Methodist history, the town contains several large old Methodist chapels and just out of town lies Gwennap Pit an open-air auditorium that preserves memories of the preaching of John Wesley.