Redruth (Rysrudh) is a town and civil parish in the district of Kerrier (traditionally in Penwith Hundred), Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It lies approximately at the junction of the A393 and A3047 roads, on the route of the old London to Land's End trunk road, the A30. It is approximately west of Truro, east of St Ives, north-east of Penzance and north-west of Falmouth.
The name Redruth derives from its Cornish name, Rhyd-druth. Rhyd means 'Res', which is a Cornish equivalent to a ford (across a river). It is the 'druth' (and not the 'Red' part of the name) which means the colour red.
The town has developed away from the original settlement, which was near where the present Churchtown (around St. Euny church) district of Redruth stands today. This location is a steeply wooded valley, with Carn Brea on one side and the now called Bullers Hill on the other. The presence of shallow lodes of tin and copper lying east to west made it an advantageous site to extract metals, including, tin, lead and copper. The first settlers stayed by a crossing in the river and started extracting metal ores, and this process turned the colour of the river red.
Historically, Redruth was a small market town overshadowed by its neighbours until a boom in the demand for copper ore during the 18th century. Copper ore had mostly been discarded by the Cornish tin-mining industry but was now needed to make brass, an essential metal in the Industrial Revolution. Surrounded by copper ore deposits, Redruth quickly became one of the largest and richest mining areas in Britain and the town's population grew markedly, although most miners' families remained poor.
In the 1880s and 1890s the town end of Clinton Road gained a number of institutions, notably a School of Mines and Art School in 1882–83, St. Andrews Church (replacing the chapel in Chapel Street) in 1883 and, opposite, the Free Library, built in 1895. The Mining Exchange was built in 1880 as a place for the trading of mineral stock. By the turn of the century, Victoria Park had been laid out to commemorate the Golden Jubilee and this part of town had taken on its present appearance — a far cry from the jumble of mining activity that had taken place there in the early 19th century. Redruth was making its transition from a market town dominated by mines and industry to a residential centre.
By the end of the 19th century the Cornish mining industry was in decline and Britain was importing most of its copper ore. To find employment, many miners emigrated to the newer mining industries in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa. Cornwall's last fully operational mine, South Crofty at Pool between Redruth and Camborne, closed in March 1998.
One of the oldest known murder victims in England and Wales was a Redruth resident. Sarah Ann Burke (99), was attacked in her bed at a council-owned residential home on 20 December 1992. She died in hospital two years later. Dell Hampson, 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 27 July 1993 after being found guilty of Mrs Burke's murder. Two staff at the residential home were sacked for giving false evidence to police.
Redruth was the scene of another high profile crime on 31 August 2000. 36-year-old Lesley Ford and her four children were murdered by Lesley's husband Lee Ford (33), who had been having a relationship with stepdaughter Sarah Tranter (17). Their bodies lay undiscovered until 4 October that year. Ford was found guilty of all five murders on 24 May 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment at Bristol Crown Court. The trial judge recommended that life should mean life.
The House now called Murdoch (or, sometimes Murdock) House in the middle of Cross Street was erected in the 1660s. William Murdoch lived in it from 1782 to 1798. During this time, he worked on local tin and copper mines, erecting engines on behalf of Boulton and Watt . He fitted the house out with gas lighting from coal gas – this was the first house in the world with this type of lighting.
In the nineteenth century, the house was used as a tea room, run by a Mrs Knuckey. In 1931 Mr A Pearce Jenkin, a leading citizen of Redruth purchased the house and gave it as a gift to the Society of Friends (Quakers)..
Murdoch House has since been fully restored and is now regularly used by the Redruth Old Cornwall Society, as well as the Cornish-American Connection and the Redruth Story Group. Next door are St. Rumon's Gardens.
The bronze sculpture of a Cornish miner that stands two metres tall and produced by artist David Annand was erected in April 2008. The sculpture was commissioned by the Redruth Public Realm Working Party's Mining Art Group in response to comments received during the consultation process, that the town did not have anything to represent the history of the men who worked down the tin and copper mines in the area. David Annand was selected from over 70 artists who responded to an advert placed by Cornwall Arts Centre Trust, the project managers, for expressions of interest in August 2006. A shortlist of five artists was selected to create further drawings and models which were exhibited in the Cornwall Centre in December 2006 for public consultation. The feedback from the many visitors to the exhibition was overwhelmingly in favour of David Annand and one other artist. The final decision to commission David was taken by the Mining Art Group with the addition of young art ambassadors from Redruth School.
David Annand who lives in Fife, Scotland, has produced a wide range of Public Artwork throughout Britain. David said “What I felt was needed in Redruth is a tin miner with the accoutrements of the trade: one solitary figure standing holding his pole pick, with a fan of candles round his neck and the esoteric helmet and candle on his head. I have gone for the era that was before the carbide and the Davy or the battery lamps because this era had a more quintessentially Cornish feel. Also, I felt that the 'simplest is best' approach was needed.”
The general public's response has been mixed. Some have said that the statue looks as though the miner is about to launch himself into the air and down Fore Street. Others remain perplexed at the miner’s pose and angle. However, many have welcomed this addition to the public realm designs in the town, and feel that it should encourage casual visitors to learn more about this important aspect of the town’s and Cornwall’s heritage.
Redruth is a small commercial town, with a population recorded in 2001 of 12,352. It is twinned with Plumergat and Meriadec in Brittany, France and Mineral Point, Wisconsin in the USA, where Cornish immigrants built many of the stone buildings still standing. A museum organised by the Old Cornwall Society is housed in the Town Council office at the bottom of the main street.
Redruth also has an increasing reputation in sport, with Redruth Rugby Football Club currently at the higher part of the national 2 league. Players such as Phil Vickery and Rob Thirlby have both passed through its ranks. Redruth Soccer club has not enjoyed as much success but still thrives in its regular fixtures.
Actress Kristin Scott Thomas, baritone Benjamin Luxon, opera singer Alan Opie and the co founder of and drummer with Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood, were all born here. The writer and comedian Rory McGrath was educated at the town's secondary school. The musician Aphex Twin grew up in Redruth. The historian Kenneth Hamilton Jenkin was also born in Redruth, and the Victorian philanthropist John Passmore Edwards was born in the neighbouring village of Blackwater.
Key shops and other outlets within the town centre include a multi-screen cinema, a covered market way, the Cornish Studies Centre, an old butter market, various antique shops, a second hand book shop and two supermarkets, plus Greens Newsagents,The Emporium - formerly John Olivers'- which still carries on the tradition of selling music and books; mainly of local historical interest and antiques as well as providing a service in many other areas to the public; gifts,stationerygreeting cards etc. and the local cash and carry Jims. Off the main high street (Fore Street), there are two separate specialist shopping areas, Bond Street (to the south of the railway station) and Green Lane to the north. The new street landscaping includes wooden seating, with granite furniture, new signposts, street lights and litter bins, and two sets of bronze 'dogs', which were cast from the boots of former tin miners by sculptor David Kemp. The town has a burgundy colour theme, which is in the new Public Realm regeneration work to highlight the town's name. A project to light various public buildings around the town with LED coloured lights has already commenced. Some of the buildings opposite the railway station and the St. Rumon's Gardens have now (April 2008) been completed.
On 7th November 2007, Redruth jointly won (with Luton) the annual UK town centre environment awards, which are run by the BCSC (a retail property consortium). The judges praised the cast bronze 'dogs'. They also liked the large amount of work that had been done to the town in terms of landscaping the central area (mainly Fore St & the opeways).
It is also home to Cornwall's first ILR Radio Station, Pirate FM.
Redruth is an important transport hub. The railway station is a railhead for both Helston and the Lizard, and there are frequent buses connecting the three places. The railway station is served by trains from Paddington, as well as the Midlands and the North. Redruth is next to the main A30 road and thus has access to the main route out of the county as well as routes to the far West, North Cornwall, South East Cornwall and Plymouth. Another road, the A393, bisects the town in a North-South direction, and links the A30 with the port of Falmouth. A third road, the A3047, links Redruth with Camborne, some four miles to the west.
A new road, the Barncoose by-pass, has now (March 2008) opened between the Redruth Commnunity Hospital and the Barncoose Industrial Estate. It is intended to reduce HGV traffic using the main Camborne road and provide a direct access to the Industrial Estate. It has, however, provoked some controversy, as some residents in Barncoose have lost their parking spaces to make way for the new road. It may be extended further towards Camborne in the near future.