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Camborne Tourist Information

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Camborne Town

Together with its neighbouring town Redruth the two have combined to become the largest urban population in the county.
In the 19th century the area was the most intensely mined in the world, to this day it is littered with old mine workings.
The county had well over 300 mines and together produced two thirds of the world's copper and tin. This was a time of great prosperity with 50,000 people employed in the industry. Unfortunately, from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century most mines closed due to extensive mineral deposits being found in the Americas, South Africa and Australia. This brought about a mass exodus of Cornish Miners who emigrated to places that required their expertise. Hence the saying, 'look down any pit in the world and you will find a Cornishman.
To export all the minerals, the north coastal port of Portreath was developed. This is some 3 ½ miles from Camborne. It was developed in the mid 18th century with copper being exported and coal imported, mainly from Wales. In 1809, the new harbour was connected to the mines by the first railway in Cornwall.
In the early 18th century before the mining industry, Camborne was a small village surrounded by moorland, the rapid expansion of the mines can be seen with the numerous terraces of small mining houses, very similar to the houses in the clay area around St Austell.
A 'Town Trail' now guides visitors around this historic town pointing out the many interesting buildings that could easily be missed amongst the town's now busy streets.
With mining being the town's main livelihood for several hundreds of years it was only natural that it became home for the 'School of Mines'. (Now at nearby Penryn). The school has an impressive Geological Museum and Art Gallery displaying minerals and rocks from all over the world. The School of Mines is now part of the Exeter University having a worldwide reputation of excellence. Full details available on: www.uec.ac.uk/csm/

A statue of Richard Trevithick (1771 -1833) stands outside the town library. Not only was he an accomplished wrestler (known as the Cornish Giant) but also an inventor. He was responsible for developing the high pressure steam engine, the screw propeller and an early locomotive that predated Stephensons rocket by 12 years. He also invented a high pressure steam carriage known as 'Puffing Devil', this completed a test run up Camborne Hill on Christmas Eve 1801, a popular local song remains popular today, the words include:

'Going up Camborne Hill, coming down,
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down,
The horses stood still,
The wheels went around,
Going up Camborne Hill coming down'.

This great man was born in 'Trevithick Cottage', now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. Trevithick died penniless and is buried in an unmarked grave in Dartford, Kent
There is a festival held each year in his memory, this is on the last Saturday in April and includes, model exhibitions, vintage vehicles, Bal Maidens and miners dance led by the town brass band, performances by local male voice choirs, plus a host of other entertainment. Further information can be seen on: www.trevithick-day.org.uk
Camborne was also home to various important industries, this included the world renowned foundry of 'Holmans'. Founded in 1801 was Cornwall's largest manufacturer of industrial equipment, even making guns during the 2nd world war. At one time employing 3500 men, the factory kept going until 2001.
Today, Camborne is a bustling town and improved considerably since it was by-passed. It provides a good selection of shops and all main services.
The town itself has very little accommodation of offer, most of this lies in the surrounding villages and tourist resorts.
These include: Portreath – Gwithian, Hayle and St Ives.