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.

Rare Post Boxes

A few years ago I wrote my first post about post boxes – the ones you post letters in, not the mailboxes that belong to a house – and how many different ones there are. Recently I tracked down a couple of  Queen Victoria post boxes in my area and even more exciting (I know, it’s the nerd in me) I found a rare Edward VIII post box in the village where my daughter lives, so I got her to go and photograph it for me.

Britain got her first post boxes during the 1850s and shortly after the Post Office quickly settled on using the cipher of the reigning monarch on all letter boxes.

Cast Iron Queen Victoria Wall Mounted Post Box (1837 – 1901)

St Michael’s Mount Wall Mounted Post Box

VR stands for Victoria Regina, Regina being Latin for queen, denoting that Queen Victoria was monarch when the box was installed.

Below is the VR cipher that is found on Victorian pillar boxes – this one is located in Penzance. And if you look at my original post you will see the more elaborate VR cipher on the Penfold boxes.

Below is an example of the short-lived King Edward VIII – EVIIIR – cipher. King for less than a year, (Jan – Dec 1936) these are the rarest of the royal ciphers to locate.

So the only monarch I am missing from my collection is one from the reign of Edward VII  (1901 – 1910). There are several in London and also Norfolk and Merseyside, but only one in Cornwall. Looks like I am going to have to track that one down!

There are over 800 different types of post boxes in the UK alone. Perhaps you have an unusual one to share? If you do then please post it and link to this one in the comments or via a pingback. I’d love to see it.

Flashback Friday #39

This is a fairly recent post from 2019 about the place where I live in response to a Lens-Artists’ challenge about the word ‘Magical’ posted on my Cornish blog – Cornwall in Colours

My Magical Place

Summer already seems long ago; the year has swiftly embraced autumn. The light is subtly different now. The sun is lower in the sky and shadows are longer and hard-edged. There is warmth in a sheltered spot, but an underlying chill lies in the air like a harbinger of winter.

The country lanes are no less interesting with the hips and haws and berries, wild flowers turning to seed; the bracken copper brown. On a clear day Trencrom hill still affords the most wonderful views to the Celtic Sea in the west and Mount’s Bay in the south.

Last week’s “micro harvest moon” (so named because it is the smallest it has been for a while on account of being at its furthest point in its orbit around the earth) appeared tiny and bright in our cloudless sky. So bright it kept waking me up during the night as it rose around sunset and set at sunrise. By early morning it had changed from being silvery white to golden yellow before sinking behind Trink hill. At the same time I saw the most wonderful saffron sky at dawn on my early morning trip to the bathroom and once again chastised myself for not yet having gone up onto ‘my’ hill to see the sun rise. In contrast the evening skies have been glowing red and orange and purple or more subtle peach and lilac. My favourite time of the year for sky watching is here.  From my magical place. Home.

This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Flashback Friday #33

Going back to 2015 now and a visit to the Tate Gallery. Despite having a local’s pass I haven’t been back for a couple of years (most of which it has been closed due to the pandemic), but hopefully once St Ives is less crowded I can return. Of course there are many more photos of St Ives on my Cornwall blog which I began when we moved there in 2016.

Painting St Ives

All these images were taken through the windows of the café located on the roof of the Tate, St Ives. A slight glass distortion effect has been applied. The reflections are original 🙂

Porthmeor Beach and St Nicholas Chapel
Porthmeor Beach and St Nicholas Chapel
St Ives Harbour and Bay
St Ives Bay and Smeaton’s Pier
St Ives Bay and Wild flowers
St Ives Bay and Wild flowers

This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Flashback Friday #26

I first came across this National day of celebrating the Cream Tea back in 2015. A perfect way to celebrate all things summery and delicious. (June 25 2021)

National Cream Tea Day June 26 2015

There seems to be a national day for anything these days and I’d love to know who decides on what and when, but as a cream tea aficionado how can I let this one pass without a mention?

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”
~ Henry James

And surely there is a no more perfect one than the cream tea – whether Devon style (with the jam on top) or the Cornish style (with the cream on top) what matters most is the freshness of the ingredients. Light melt-in-the-mouth scones, fruity fresh strawberry jam, and lashings of golden crusted clotted cream. Are you drooling yet?


The Waymarker, near Constantine, was named champion of the ‘Truly Cornish Clotted Cream Tea‘ in 2014 but I am doing my best to seek out decent rivals 🙂

Where and what is the best afternoon tea you have experienced? My most memorable is High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe – tiny crust-less sandwiches, Petit fours, scones, cakes and Earl Grey tea served on Stanley Terrace with spectacular views of the Victoria Falls bridge down the Batoka Gorge with the spray rising from The Falls.

This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.