A – Z of Locations: T is for Truro

During this year I shall be posting photographs from places around the UK, many of which have not been published before. Where I have previously blogged about a location I will provide a link to the post, though you won’t be able to comment on it as I restrict comments to six months.

T is for Truro

Truro  is the only city in Cornwall and the centre is, by city standards, quite a small one. Bodmin is still the county town and St Austell is the largest. For locals, Truro is the place you come to shop, study or have a good night out (and, rather less appealingly, to go to hospital). However, the city employs more people than other towns, with the major employers being the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro College and Cornwall Council so it is very busy.

Some cobbled streets remain (Pydar Street)

Look out for the leats along the streets; locally known as kennels, these Victorian channels that once kept the streets clean and the horses watered. There are some attractive Georgian buildings and some cobbled streets, but the layout of the city is very confusing.

Truro cathedral (the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary) has one of the tallest spires of any church the UK. It is largely Victorian and Edwardian and was built after Truro had already gained city status in 1877.

Back in the past Truro was a market town and port and then became one of Cornwall’s five stannary towns, where copper and tin were brought to be assayed.

Coinage Hall: The current building was built as the Cornish Bank in 1848 on the site of the old Coinage Hall where twice yearly tin was brought here to be assayed and taxed.

In spite of its early history, few very pre-18th-century buildings remain today, and most of the town centre dates from Truro’s Georgian, Regency and Victorian heydays. Lemon Street in particular has some very fine Georgian houses.

And one of the most puzzling streets I came across is Walsingham Place, a curious curved late Georgian terrace with lions. Apparently it began life as Caribee Island, a very boggy place; the name is thought to derive from the Caribbean, due to the large number of slave ships docking in Truro’s port. It wasn’t until the 1800s after Lemon Street was completed that Walsingham Place was constructed.

In 1851 it was reported that Walsingham Place was home to clerks, a wheelwright, butcher, wine and spirit merchant, ironmonger, fancy chair maker, English teacher, and the wife and family of an Inland Revenue officer called Mugford. Gradually the private residences changed to business premises, with the last domestic dweller thought to have moved out around ten years ago.

Walsingham Place with lions

And the lions? Well they were added in 1960  by architect John Crowther, but I have no idea why.

The Lions

For a more detailed walk around Truro please click here.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

13 thoughts on “A – Z of Locations: T is for Truro”

  1. Yet another city I’ve never visited: but then I’ve only visited Cornwall once – it’s so far from Yorkshire! It looks somewhere interesting to include in our trip if we venture south-west again.

    1. Cornwall is a long way from anywhere! We usually based our holidays close to Truro as it is convenient for the north and south coast beaches and west to Penzance, east to Bodmin.

  2. I’ve been to Truro. We visited friends who live there and spent a very interesting day exploring. You’re right about the confusing layout, we had no idea where we were. But we did enjoy our day there very much.

  3. The lions aren’t they a symbol of the monarchy? Lion heads are placed outside the Palace. The King of the Beasts. I do like the look of the old bank and the cobblestones ( I never wear stilettos)

  4. Truro looks very attractive. I’ve only visited Cornwall once (so far) but would like to return, so perhaps I’ll get to visit it in the future.

  5. The words leat and stannary are both new to me.

    The American Heritage Dictionary has this to say about tin:

    “During the Bronze Age, the civilizations of the Near East and the Mediterranean area depended on relatively few sources to provide the tin needed to make bronze. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, writing in the 1st century BC, explains that much ancient tin came from deposits in Cornwall in Britain. From there, it was shipped through Gaul to supply the rest of the Mediterranean world.”

    1. Yes, Cornwall was once a thriving county, until tin deposits were found elsewhere in the world. Now it is one of the poorest regions in the UK and northern Europe.

  6. When we holidayed in Penryn during my childhood, we always visited Truro at least once. I haven’t been back there since the 1990s, an aborted vsit due to heavy rain during a June holiday in Looe.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

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