Redruth, Cornwall

Towards the southern tip of Cornwall, through the very center, sits the town of Redruth. If you go down on the train, say to Penzance or St. Ives, you’ll pass right through on a viaduct and see the town from on high. This is true tin mining country, with tin mines dotting the surrounding hills.

Historically, tin, lead and copper were the main metals found in shallow mines causing great wealth and employment for the area. Later on a copper ore boom was such an economic sensation that the Redruth became the wealthiest tin mining area in Great Britain. Many of the towns buildings were constructed in the boom era of the Victorian age. It was not long, however, before mining feel in decline and those hardest hit, the miners and their families, moved to find work, many eventually immigrating.

Places of Interest:

  1. Gwennap Pit: an impressive ‘natural’ amphitheater used by John Wesley. It is believed that the seating was constructed around a natural dip, but there is a theory that the dip came from an abandoned mine. The center never fills with water, thus adding credence to the theory. It holds approximately 2,000 people, in a round, and is fifty feet deep. The seats were carved in the early 1800s by local miners. This is worth a look, since it is very beautiful. It is still used today.
  2. Carn Brea & Monument: the highest point in Cornwall, sits just above Redruth. There is a monument at the top and can be seen from the town. Walk up to the top for some stunning views of the countryside.
  3. Carn Brea Castle: a 14th-Century granite castle sitting on Carn Brea hillside overlooking Redruth. It was built and owned by the Bassett family, whose wealth came from mining. It is now a restaurant. Both the monument and the castle can be seen from the train.
  4. Wheal Uny: above Redruth, following a footpath through fields, two wheals for mining sit above Redruth and can be seen from the train. Wheal Uny can be examined on all sides and from the inside. A simple plaque marks the wheal.

Pronunciation: I shouldn’t worry too much about pronouncing this one, as most everyone will know what town your are talking of and will also have an opinion on the pronunciation. Some will say Re-Drooth and some Red Ruth, which is how it’s pronounced on the train.

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