Early Years

The Boom Years

About Redruth Town Trail

9 Turn left into Cross Street (a little way above the bottom of Fore Street). Round a bend is Murdoch House, now restored. William Murdoch came to Redruth in 1779 to work for the firm of Boulton and Watt. He experimented with coal gas as a means of lighting, and in 1792 used gas to light this house - perhaps the first building in the world to be lit in this way. In 1784 he built an original model of a steam-driven self-propelling locomotive.Murdoch House, Cross Street

Murdoch House (right) was built about 1660 on the foundations of the medieval chapel of St Rumon, built in 1400, and abandoned in the 17th century. As well as being more convenient for townspeople than the Parish Church of St Euny, it also served pilgrims going to and from St Michaels Mount. Stones from the chapel can be seen behind the ruined 'Druids Hall' beyond Murdoch House. The Hall was built in 1859 with a library and large assembly room upstairs, and was the centre of cultural life for many years, becoming Redruth's first cinema in 1910, and later a Bingo Hall. It was destroyed by fire in the early 1980s.

10 Join Penryn Street. Towards the viaduct on the right is the Old Court House, a fine granite building of l850 erected by Robert Blee, an inventor, whose initials and the date appear on the left hand side of the facade. On the left is the Baptist Church (1877) and between it and the viaduct the surviving section of a pre-Victorian building (once stables and a grain store) often used by travelling theatre companies. Edmund Kean appeared here as Shylock in 1828.

You go under the railway viaduct, built in 1887 to replace Brunel's wooden viaduct of 1852 which linked the West Cornwall Railway with the line to Truro. On the right is a GWR boundary stone in the ground. The key stones of the arches are 70ft above the street.

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