_Redruth is a town in Cornwall, on the route of the old London to Land's End trunk road (now the A30), and is approximately 9 miles (14 km) west of Truro, 12 miles (19 km) east of St Ives, 18 miles (29 km) north east of Penzance and 11 miles (18 km) north west of Falmouth. Redruth and Camborne together form the largest urban area in Cornwall._
_The name Redruth (pronounced 'Re-drooth') derives from its Cornish name, Rhyd-ruth. Rhyd an older form of 'Res', which is a Cornish equivalent to a ford (across a river). It is the 'ruth' (and not the 'Red' part of the name) which means the colour red.
The town has developed away from the original settlement, which was near where the present Churchtown (around St. Euny church) district of Redruth stands today. This location is a steeply wooded valley, with Carn Brea on one side and the now-called Bullers Hill on the other. The presence of shallow lodes of tin and copper lying east to west made it an advantageous site for extracting metals, including, tin, lead and copper. The first settlers stayed by a crossing in the river and started extracting metal ores, and this process turned the colour of the river red.
Historically, Redruth was a small market town overshadowed by its neighbours until a boom in the demand for copper ore during the 18th century. Copper ore had mostly been discarded by the Cornish tin-mining industry but was now needed to make brass, an essential metal in the Industrial Revolution. Surrounded by copper ore deposits, Redruth quickly became one of the largest and richest mining areas in Britain and the town's population grew markedly, although most miners' families remained poor.
In the 1880s and 1890s the town end of Clinton Road gained a number of institutions, notably a School of Mines and Art School in 1882–83, St. Andrews Church (replacing the chapel in Chapel Street) in 1883 and, opposite, the Free Library, built in 1895. The Mining Exchange was built in 1880 as a place for the trading of mineral stock. By the turn of the century, Victoria Park had been laid out to commemorate the Golden Jubilee and this part of town had taken on its present appearance — a far cry from the jumble of mining activity that had taken place there in the early 19th century. Redruth was making its transition from a market town dominated by mines and industry to a residential centre.
By the end of the 19th century, the Cornish mining industry was in decline and Britain was importing most of its copper ore. To find employment, many miners emigrated to the newer mining industries in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa. Cornwall's last fully operational mine, South Crofty at Pool between Redruth and Camborne, closed in March 1998.
Places of Interest
Murdoch House, and St Rumon's Gardens
The House now called Murdoch (or, sometimes Murdock) House in the middle of Cross Street was erected in the 1660s as a chapel and it afterwards became a prison. William Murdoch lived in it from 1782 to 1798. During this time, he worked on local tin and copper mines, erecting engines on behalf of Boulton and Watt . He fitted the house out with gas lighting from coal gas – this was the first house in the world with this type of lighting.
In the nineteenth century, the house was used as a tea room, run by a Mrs Knuckey. In 1931 Mr A Pearce Jenkin, a leading citizen of Redruth purchased the house and gave it as a gift to the Society of Friends (Quakers).
Murdoch House has since been fully restored and is now regularly used by the Redruth Old Cornwall Society, as well as the Cornish-American Connection and the Redruth Story Group. Next door are St. Rumon's Gardens.
Cornwall Centre and Mining Exchange
The former Post Office in Alma Place is now known as the Cornish Studies Centre: also housed there is the collection of Tregellas Tapestries which depict the history of Cornwall in embroidery. The Mining Exchange building is now used as a housing advice centre (it was built in 1880 as accommodation for share brokers).
The Tin Miner statue
The bronze sculpture of a Cornish miner that stands two metres tall and produced by Scottish artist David Annand was erected in April 2008. The sculpture was commissioned by the Redruth Public Realm Working Party's Mining Art Group to represent the history of the men who worked down the tin and copper mines in the area.