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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Historic Walks > City of Clocks and Bells

Truro Cathedral

City of Clocks and Bells

Thousands of people visit Truro for work and shopping everyday, but do you know the historic importance of many buildings that now house shops and offices. Listen to our guided walk with Penny Fincken, and see the photo gallery too.

Today Truro is a bustling cathedral city at the heart of Cornwall. It is the county's most popular shopping centre. Its past has been an essential part of the city's success story.

There are many places of interest when you visit Truro. Boscawen Street today houses many shops and cafes. It was originally a couple of narrow medieval streets. The shabby shops and houses were demolished in 1797 and Boscawen Street was born.

Boscawen Street is named after Lord Falmouth's son Admiral Edward Boscawen who was born in 1711.

Lemon Quay in Truro

Truro's Lemon Quay

The City Hall stands proud in Boscawen Street as well. It is now home to the Hall for Cornwall, as well as the busy Tourist Information Centre, Truro City Council and the Mayor's Parlour. It has an impressive clock tower, although this is a replacement. The original became the victim of a fire in 1914.

Another eye catcher in the busy Boscawen Street is the War Memorial, with a soldier waving his hat in the air, as if to say how proud he is to have left behind the trenches and returned to his beloved Truro. It stands outside the Coinage Hall, an imposing Victorian building.

The Coinage Hall goes back to a time when Truro was chosen as a Stannary Town, where smelted tin was assayed before being exported. Heavy ingots would arrive at the building for the assayer's attention. Today the Coinage Hall is home to a small number of retail outlets.

Just down from that hall you enter Princes Street. Today Truro is a trendy city, but then it always was. This particular street was the most fashionable part of Truro. Various impressive homes were built during the 18th century.

The Soldier stands proud outside Coinage Hall

War Memorial

Mansion House is one of those buildings. It was built by Thomas Edwards for a merchant and businessman called Thomas Daniell. Many argue it's the best house of its kind in Truro. Most of the building is made from pale gold limestone from quarries in Bath. You can hear the story as part of our series of walks in Truro, on the audio links above.

The Old Grammar School has been many different businesses over the years, but as the name suggests it was an important education establishment founded back in 1549. Many of those who attended the boys only school went on to become important names in our history, including Humphry Davy, who invented the miner's safety lamp and Jonathan Hornblower of the double cylinder engine fame.

Truro Cathedral graces the skyline wherever you look in Truro. Edward VII laid the foundation stones for the cathedral in 1880. It took 30 years to complete. The architect was John Loughborough Pearson. Nearby a Cathedral School was built. It was used for this purpose until 1960.

The old Cathedral School

The Cathedral School was open until 1960

Union Place stands just off the busy Pydar Street. It's here where the County Library has stood since 1897, when it was designed by the famous local architect Silvanus Trevail. Above the windows you can see a well known name in Cornwall, that of John Passmore Edwards. Trevail was the architect of many important buildings in Truro (as well as being Mayor for two years in succession).

John Passmore Edwards went on to make his fortune as the owner of the Echo newspaper in London. He provided a large number of reading rooms and libraries which can still be found in his beloved Cornwall, as well as London and the south of England.  

last updated: 09/01/2009 at 15:08
created: 20/11/2008

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