Truro facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsTruro
Truro Cathedral overlooking the city
|OS grid reference|
|• London||232 miles (373 km) ENE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Truro ( Cornish: Truru) is a cathedral city and civil parish in Cornwall, England. It is Cornwall's county town, sole city and centre for administration, leisure and retail trading. Its population was 18,766 in the 2011 census. People of Truro can be called Truronians. It grew as a trade centre through its port and as a stannary town for tin mining. It became mainland Britain's southernmost city in 1876, with the founding of the Diocese of Truro. Sights include the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro Cathedral (completed 1910), the Hall for Cornwall and Cornwall's Courts of Justice.
The origin of Truro's name is debated. It is said to be derived from the Cornish tri-veru meaning "three rivers", but references such as the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names reject this theory. The "tru" part might mean "three", though this is doubtful. An expert on Cornish place-names, Oliver Padel, in his book A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-names, wrote that the 'three rivers' meaning is "possible". Alternatively the name may derive from *tre-uro or similar, i.e. the settlement on the river *uro.
The earliest records and archaeological findings of a permanent settlement in the Truro area originate from Norman times. A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who for his services to the court was granted land in Cornwall, including the area surrounding the confluence of the two rivers. The town grew in the shadow of the castle and was awarded borough status to further economic activity. The castle has long since gone.
Richard de Lucy fought in Cornwall under Count Alan of Brittany after leaving Falaise late in 1138. The small adulterine castle at Truro, Cornwall (originally the parish of Kenwyn), later known as “Castellum de Guelon” was probably built by him between 1139-1140. He styled himself "Richard de Lucy, de Trivereu". The castle later passed to Reginald FitzRoy (also known as Reginald de Dunstanville), an illegitimate son of Henry I, when he was invested by King Stephen as the first Earl of Cornwall. Reginald married Mabel FitzRichard, daughter of William FitzRichard, a substantial landholder in Cornwall. The 75-foot (23 m) diameter castle was in ruins by 1270 and the motte levelled in 1840. It is today the site of the Crown Court. Reginald FitzRoy confirmed c1170 in a charter to the burgesses of Truro the privileges which had been granted by Richard de Lucy. Richard held ten Knights Fees in Cornwall prior to 1135 and at his death a third of his considerable total holding remained in Cornwall.
By the start of the 14th century Truro was an important port, due to its inland location away from invaders, prosperity from the fishing industry, and its new role as one of Cornwall's stannary towns for assaying and stamping tin and copper from Cornish mines. The Black Death arrived, and with it a trade recession, resulting in a mass exodus of the population; and the town was left in a very neglected state.
Trade gradually returned and the town became prosperous during the Tudor period. Self-governance was awarded in 1589 when a new charter was granted by Elizabeth I, which gave Truro an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.
During the Civil War in the 17th century, Truro raised a sizeable force to fight for the king and a royalist mint was set up. Defeat by the Parliamentary troops came in 1646 and the mint was moved to Exeter. Later in the century Falmouth was awarded its own charter giving it rights to its harbour, starting a long rivalry between the two towns. The dispute was settled in 1709 with control of the River Fal divided between Truro and Falmouth. The arms of the city of Truro are "Gules the base wavy of six Argent and Azure, thereon an ancient ship of three masts under sail, on each topmast a banner of St George, on the waves in base two fishes of the second".
Truro prospered greatly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Industry flourished thanks to improved mining methods and higher prices for tin, and the town attracted wealthy mine owners. Elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses were built, such as those seen today on Lemon Street, named after the mining magnate and local MP Sir William Lemon; Truro became the centre for high society in the county, being mentioned as "the London of Cornwall".
Throughout those prosperous times Truro remained a social centre, and many notable people hailed from it. One of the most noteworthy residents was Richard Lander, an explorer who discovered the mouth of the River Niger in Africa and was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Henry Martyn read mathematics at Cambridge, was ordained and became a missionary, translating the New Testament into Urdu and Persian. Others include Humphry Davy, educated in Truro and the inventor of the miner's safety lamp, and Samuel Foote, an actor and playwright from Boscawen Street.
Truro's importance increased later in the 19th century and it had its own iron smelting works, potteries, and tanneries. The Great Western Railway arrived in Truro in the 1860s with a direct line from London Paddington, and the Bishopric of Truro Act 1876 which gave the town a bishop, then a cathedral. The next year Queen Victoria granted Truro city status.
The start of the 20th century saw a decline of the mining industry; however the city remained prosperous as instead of its previous role as a market town Truro became the administrative and commercial centre of Cornwall, and saw substantial development. Today, Truro is still the retail centre of Cornwall but, like many other cities, faces concerns over the replacement of many of its renowned speciality shops by national chain stores, the erosion of its identity, and also over how to accommodate expected growth in the 21st century.
Truro is located in the centre of western Cornwall, about 9 miles (14 kilometres) from the south coast on the confluence of the rivers Kenwyn and Allen, which combine to become the Truro River, one of a series of creeks, rivers and drowned valleys leading into the River Fal and then to the large natural harbour of Carrick Roads. The river valleys form a bowl surrounding the city on the north, east and west and open to the Truro River in the south. The fairly steep-sided bowl in which Truro is located, along with high precipitation swelling the rivers and a spring tide in the River Fal, were major factors in the 1988 floods which seriously damaged the city centre. Since then, flood defences have been constructed around the city, including an emergency dam at New Mill on the River Kenwyn and a tidal barrier on the Truro River.
The city is surrounded by a number of protected natural areas such as the historic parklands at Pencalenick, and larger areas of ornamental landscape, such as Trelissick Garden and Tregothnan further down the Truro River. An area south-east of the city, around and including Calenick Creek, has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Other protected areas include an Area of Great Landscape Value comprising agricultural land and wooded valleys to the north east, and Daubuz Moors, a Local Nature Reserve alongside the River Allen close to the city centre.
Truro has mainly grown and developed around the historic city centre in a nucleated fashion along the slopes of the bowl valley, except for fast linear development along the A390 to the west, towards Threemilestone. As Truro has grown, it has incorporated a number of other settlements as suburbs or unofficial districts. These include Kenwyn and Moresk to the north, Trelander to the east, Newham to the south, and Highertown, Treliske and Gloweth to the west.
Demography and economy
The Truro urban area, including parts of surrounding parishes, had a 2001 census population of 20,920. By 2011 the population, including Threemilestone, was 23,040. Its status as the county's prime destination for retail and leisure and administration is unusual in that it is only its fourth most populous settlement. Indeed population growth at 10.5 per cent between 1971 and 1998 was slow compared with other Cornish towns and Cornwall.[out of date]
Major employers include the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Cornwall Council and Truro College. There are about 22,000 jobs available in Truro, but only 9,500 economically active people living there, which make commuting a major factor in its traffic congestion. Average earnings are higher than elsewhere in Cornwall.
Housing prices in Truro in the 2000s were 8 or more per cent higher than in the rest of Cornwall. Truro was named in 2006 as the top small city in the United Kingdom for rising house prices, at 262 per cent since 1996.
Truro's most recognisable feature is its Gothic-revival Cathedral, designed by architect John Loughborough Pearson and rising 76 m (249 ft) above the city at its highest spire. It took 30 years to build, from 1880 to 1910, and was built on the site of the old St. Mary's Church, consecrated over 600 years earlier. Enthusiasts of Georgian architecture are well catered for in the city, with terraces and townhouses along Walsingham Place and Lemon Street often said to be "the finest examples of Georgian architecture west of the city of Bath".
The main attraction for local residents in the region is the wide variety of shops. Truro has various chain stores, speciality shops and markets, which reflect its historic tradition as a market town. The indoor Pannier Market is open year-round with many stalls and small businesses. The city is also popular for its eateries, including cafés and bistros. Additionally, it has emerged as a popular destination for nightlife with many bars, clubs and restaurants opening. Truro is also known for the Hall for Cornwall, a performing arts and entertainment venue.
The Royal Cornwall Museum is the oldest and premier museum in Cornwall for exhibitions detailing Cornish history and culture, with a wide range of collections such as archaeology, art and geology. Among the exhibits of the museum there is the so-called Arthur's inscribed stone. Truro is also noted for its parks and open spaces, including Victoria Gardens, Boscawen Park and Daubuz Moors.
Lemon Quay is the centre of most festivities in Truro, which attracts visitors year-round with numerous different events.
In April, Truro prepares to partake in the Britain in Bloom competition, with many floral displays and hanging baskets dotted around the city throughout the summer. A "continental market" also comes to Truro during the season and features food and craft stalls from all over Europe including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece.
The Truro City Carnival takes place every September over a weekend, including various arts and music performances, children's activities, a fireworks display, food and drinks fairs, a circus, and a parade. A half-marathon also takes place in September, organised by Truro Running Club, with hundreds of participants running from the city centre into the countryside towards Kea, returning to finish at Lemon Quay.
Truro celebrates the Christmas season with its Winter Festival, which includes a paper lantern parade known as the City of Lights Procession. Many local primary schools as well as colleges and community and youth groups join in the procession. Students at the local college in Truro have created large lanterns, complementing the work of the core artists team. There are Christmas lights throughout the city centre, as well a "big switch-on" event, speciality products and crafts fairs, late-night shopping evenings, various events at the Cathedral and a fireworks display on New Year's Eve. A Christmas tree is put up on the Piazza, and another outside the Cathedral at High Cross. A badly executed fundraising operation left the city with underwhelming decorations in 2005, but the 2006 Festival was much more successful: it featured extensive festivities and decoration including an artificial ski slope constructed on Lemon Quay.
Truro was temporarily the home to rugby union club Cornish Pirates, but the team is now back at its historical base in Penzance. Discussions are currently in progress about the possible construction of a Stadium for Cornwall, planned for Threemilestone. The town has an amateur rugby union side, Truro RFC (founded 1885), who are in Tribute Western Counties West and play home games at St Clements Hill, which has also hosted the CRFU Cornwall Cup on a number of occasions.
The city is also home to Truro City F.C., a football team in the National League South, the only Cornish club ever to reach this tier of the football pyramid. The club achieved national recognition when they won the FA Vase in 2007, beating A.F.C. Totton 3–1 in only the second ever final at the new Wembley Stadium, and becoming the first Cornish side ever to win the FA Vase. Cornwall County Cricket Club play some of their home fixtures at Boscawen Park, which is also the home ground of Truro Cricket Club. Truro Fencing Club is one of Britain's flagship fencing clubs, having won numerous national championships, and had three fencers selected for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. Other sporting amenities include a leisure centre, golf course, and tennis courts.
Truro is the centre of Cornwall's local media. The county-wide weekly newspapers, The West Briton and the Cornish Guardian, are based in the city and serves the Truro area with its Truro and Mid-Cornwall edition. The city is also home to the broadcasting studios of BBC Radio Cornwall, and the studios of the West district of ITV Westcountry, whose main studio is now located in Bristol after ITV Westcountry merged with ITV West, the studio in Plymouth was closed and Westcountry Live was replaced by The West Country Tonight.
A mummers play text which had, until recently, been attributed to Mylor, Cornwall (much quoted in early studies of folk plays, such as The Mummers Play by R. J. E. Tiddy – published posthumously in 1923 – and The English Folk-Play (1933) by E. K. Chambers), has now been shown, by genealogical and other research, to have originated in Truro, Cornwall, around 1780.
The Truro area has an oceanic climate similar to the remainder of Cornwall. The climate in the area sees even fewer extremes in temperature than the remainder of England and is marked by high rainfall, cool summers, mild winters and frosts being very rare.
|Climate data for Truro Camborne, elevation: 87 m or 285 ft (1981-2010) extremes (1979-present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.5
|Average high °C (°F)||8.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.8
|Average low °C (°F)||4.6
|Record low °C (°F)||-9.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||121.4
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||16.4||12.7||12.5||11.7||10.4||8.6||9.8||10.3||11.0||15.7||16.3||15.8||151.2|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: KNMI|
Roads and bus services
Truro is 6 miles (9.7 km) from the A30 trunk road, to which it is linked by the A39 from Falmouth and Penryn. Also passing through is the A390 between Redruth to the west and Liskeard to the east, where it joins the A38 for Plymouth, Exeter and the M5 motorway. Truro as the southernmost city in the United Kingdom is just under 232 miles (373 km) west-south-west of Charing Cross, London.
The city and surroundings have extensive bus services, mainly from First Kernow and Transport for Cornwall. Most routes terminate at Truro bus station near Lemon Quay. A permanent Park and Ride scheme, known as Park for Truro, opened in August 2008. Buses based at Langarth Park in Threemilestone carry commuters into the city via Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, County Hall, Truro railway station, the Royal Cornwall Museum and Victoria Square, through to a second car park on the east side of Truro. Truro also has long-distance coach services run by National Express.
Truro railway station, about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the city centre, is on the Cornish Main Line with direct links to London Paddington and to the Midlands, North and Scotland. North-east of the station is a 28-metre-high (92-foot) stone viaduct with views over the city, cathedral and Truro River in the distance. The longest viaduct on the line, it replaced Isambard Kingdom Brunel's wooden Carvedras Viaduct in 1904. Connecting to the main line at Truro is the Maritime Line to Falmouth in the south.
Truro's first railway station, at Highertown, was opened in 1852 by the West Cornwall Railway for trains to Redruth and Penzance, and was known as Truro Road Station. It was extended to the Truro River at Newham in 1855, but closed, so that Newham served as the terminus. When the Cornwall Railway connected the line to Plymouth, its trains ran to the present station above the city centre. The West Cornwall Railway (WCR) diverted most passenger trains to the new station, leaving Newham mainly as a goods station until it closed in 1971. The WCR became part of the Great Western Railway. The route from Highertown to Newham is now a cycle path on a countryside loop through the south side of the city. The steam locomotive City of Truro was built in 1903 and still runs on UK mainline and preserved railways.
Air and river transport
Newquay, Cornwall's main airport, is 12 mi (19 km) north of Truro. It was thought in 2017 to be the "fastest growing airport" in the UK. It has regular flights to London Heathrow and other airports, and to the Isles of Scilly, Dublin and Düsseldorf, Germany.
There is a boat link to Falmouth along the Truro and Fal four times a day, tide permitting. The fleet run by Enterprise Boats as part of the Fal River Links calls on the way at Malpas, Trelissick, Tolverne and St Mawes.
Major proposals include the construction of a distributor road to carry traffic away from the very busy Threemilestone-Treliske-Highertown corridor, reconnecting at either Green Lane or Morlaix Avenue. This road will also serve the new housing planned for that area.
As of 2008[update] major changes are also proposed for the city centre, such as pedestrianisation of the main shopping streets and beautification of a list of uncharacteristic storefronts built in the 1960s. Also, new retail developments on the current Carrick District Council site and Garras Wharf waterfront site will provide more space for shops, open spaces and public amenities and also turn rather ugly areas of the city into attractive new destinations. Along with the redevelopment of the waterfront, a tidal barrier is planned to dam water into the Truro River which is currently blighted by unsightly mud banks which appear at low tide.
Controversial developments include the construction of a new stadium for Truro City F.C. and the Cornish Pirates, and the relocation of the city's golf course to make way for more housing. A smaller project is the addition of two large sculptures in the Piazza.
A free grammar school associated with St Mary's Church was endowed in the 16th century. Its distinguished pupils have included the scientist Sir Humphry Davy, General Sir Hussey Vivian and the clergyman, Henry Martyn.
The former Truro Girls Grammar School was converted into a Sainsbury's supermarket.
Educational institutions in Truro today include:
- Archbishop Benson – A Church of England voluntary aided primary school
- Polwhele House Preparatory School — since the closure of Truro Cathedral School educating also the 18 boy choristers of Truro Cathedral
- Truro School — a public school founded in 1880
- Truro High School for Girls — a public school for ages 13–18
- Penair School — a state co-educational science college for ages 11–16
- Richard Lander School — a state co-educational technology college for ages 11–16
- Truro and Penwith College — A further and higher education college attached to the Combined Universities in Cornwall
- University of Exeter Medical School
- See also: Category:People from Truro
Public thinking, public service
- Sir Henry Killigrew (c. 1528–1603), Cornish diplomat and an ambassador
- Owen Fitzpen (1552–1636), philanthropist and merchant seaman, led a successful slave revolt in 1627 to free captives of Barbary pirates, memorialised on a plaque in St Mary's Church.
- John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor (1606–1685) a politician who fought for the Parliamentary cause
- William Gwavas (1676–1741), barrister and writer in the Cornish language
- Edward Boscawen (1711–1761), Royal Navy admiral, eponym of a cobbled street at the centre of Truro and a park
- Samuel Walker (1714–1761), evangelical clergyman, curate of Truro from 1746
- Richard Polwhele (1760–1838) a clergyman, poet and historian of Cornwall and Devon
- Charles Sandoe Gilbert (1760–1831), druggist and historian of Cornwall
- Hussey Vivian, 1st Baron Vivian (1775–1842) a senior British cavalry officer
- Henry Martyn (1781–1812), Cambridge mathematician and missionary in India and Persia, who translated the Bible into local languages
- Thomas Wilde, 1st Baron Truro (1782–1855) Lord High Chancellor, 1850 to 1852.
- Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds (1786–1861) senior Royal Navy officer
- FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan (1788–1855) a senior Army officer and MP for Truro in 1818 & 1826.
- Richard Spurr (1800–1855), cabinet maker and lay preacher imprisoned for Chartism. A large allotment in the town was dedicated to him in 2011.
- Major-General Sir Henry James (1803–1877), a Royal Engineers officer and DG of the Ordnance Survey 1854–1875
- Richard Lemon Lander (1804–1834), explorer in West Africa. A local secondary school is named in his honour and a monument to his memory stands at the top of Lemon Street.
- John Lander (1806–1839), printer and explorer with his brother Richard Lemon Lander
- Charles Chorley (c. 1810–1874), journalist and man of letters
- William Bennett Bond (1815–1906), Canadian priest and second primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
- Alexander Mackennal (1835–1904), nonconformist minister
- Silvanus Trevail (1851–1903) local architect and mayor of Truro
- Joseph Hunkin (1887–1950), Bishop of Truro from 1935 to 1950
- James Henry Fynn (Finn, 1893–1917), recipient of the Victoria Cross
- Barbara Joyce West (1911–2007), second-to-last survivor of the RMS Titanic
- Alison Adburgham (1912–1997), social historian and fashion journalist, died in the town.
- Hugh Clegg (1920–1995), academic, founded the National Board for Prices and Incomes (1965–1971)
- David Penhaligon (1944–1986), politician, Liberal MP for Truro 1974–1986
- Paul Myners, Baron Myners, (born 1948), businessman and politician
- Mark Laity (born c. 1962), NATO spokesman and former BBC correspondent
- NneNne Iwuji-Eme (born c. 1978), British diplomat, UK High Commissioner to Mozambique
- Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, (1979–2009), a British Army bomb-disposal expert
- Giles Farnaby (c. 1563–1640), composer and virginalist
- Samuel Foote (1720–1777), actor and playwright
- Henry Bone (1755–1834), porcelain, jewellery and enamel painter
- Joseph Antonio Emidy (1775–1835), former slave from Guinea turned violinist
- Charles William Hempel (1777–1855), organist of St Mary's Church, Truro, and poet
- Nicholas Michell (1807–1880) a Cornish writer, best known for his poetry
- Charles Frederick Hempel (1811–1867), organist and composer
- Walter Hawken Tregellas (1831–1894) professional draughtsman and historical and biographical writer
- Francis Charles Hingeston-Randolph (1833–1910), cleric, antiquary and author
- Henry Dawson Lowry (1869–1906), journalist, short story writer, novelist and poet
- Hugh Walpole (1884–1941) novelist, who attended a preparatory school in Truro
- Maria Kuncewiczowa (1895–1989), Polish writer living in Truro after WWII. Her novel Tristan 1946 was set here.
- Margaret Steuart Pollard (1904–1996), poet and translator lived in Truro from 1930s
- William Golding (1911–1993), novelist, playwright and poet, gained the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983. Born in St Columb Minor, he returned to live near Truro in 1985.
- Alison Adburgham (1912–1997), author, social historian and fashion editor of The Guardian
- Irene Newton (1915–1992), artist
- Catherine Grubb, artist (born 1945), lives in Truro.
- Roger Taylor (born 1949), drummer from the rock band Queen
- Robert Goddard (born 1954), novelist, lives in Truro.
- James Marsh (born 1963), film director and Academy Award winner
- Ben Salfield (born 1971), guitarist, lutenist, composer and teacher, has lived in Truro since age of nine.
- Paul Kerensa (born 1979), comedy writer and stand-up comedian
- Brett Harvey (born c. 1980), film writer and director based in Cornwall
- Calvin Dean (born 1985), award-winning actor
Science and business
- John Vivian (1750–1826) industrialist in Swansea, descendant of the Vivian family
- Elizabeth Andrew Warren (1786–1864) a Cornish botanist and marine algologist
- Charles Foster Barham (1804–1884), physician and writer on public health
- Edwin Dunkin (1821–1898) an astronomer and the president of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Henry Charlton Bastian (1837–1915), physiologist and neurologist
- Edward Arnold (1857–1942), a publisher, founded Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd in 1890.
- Elsie Wilkins Sexton (1868–1959) a zoologist and biological illustrator
- Nick Nieland (born 1972), javelin gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
- Matthew Etherington (born 1981), former professional footballer with 426 club caps, he played for West Ham and Stoke City.
- David Paynter (born 1981), former first-class cricketer
- Tom Voyce (born 1981) former rugby union footballer with London Wasps and England
- Annabel Vernon (born 1982), retired rower, team silver medallist at the 2008 Summer Olympics
- Chris Harris (born 1982), international speedway rider
- Gemma Prescott (born 1983), Paralympic track and field athlete
- Darren Dawidiuk (born 1987), rugby union footballer
- Craig Alcock (born 1987), professional footballer with 300 club caps
- Matthew Whorwood (born 1989), Paralympic swimmer, bronze medallist in two Paralympic Games
- Matthew Shepherd (born 1990), rugby union player
- Alex Quinn (born 2000), racing driver
Images for kids
River Kenwyn which converges with the Allen to become the River Truro
Truro Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.