High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
From its handsome Victorian civic buildings, modest workers' cottages and the chimneys which dominate its townscape, Redruth is unmistakably a mining town.
Strategically located where Cornwall’s main east-west route crosses the Red River, Redruth was once one of the wealthiest places in the world. An important market town in the 14th century, from the 18th century it flourished as the commercial centre of Cornwall’s international mining industry. By the 19th century, the area’s rich copper deposits were also needed to make in-demand brass, which generated considerable wealth for the town. This prosperity produced the richly detailed and handsome buildings which characterise Redruth town centre, along with the terraced housing, shops and banks built for the rapidly expanding community.
Redruth’s dramatic topography with views of the unfolding streetscape, cleverly placed landmarks and prominent chimneys remain a defining characteristic of the town. But the town is situated within one of Cornwall’s largest centres of population in an area with very high levels of deprivation, and its economy is fragile. The fabric of Redruth town centre reflects this. It is in poor condition and suffering from low spend and higher than average vacancy rates.
The award of up to £1.68 million for the High Street Heritage Action Zone will support Cornwall Council and other partners to complete the transformation of Redruth into a 21st century market town, broadening its function to attract a wider range of users and investors. It will focus on the repair and repurposing of historic buildings, including the Buttermarket, to provide new homes, business premises and creative spaces. The Heritage Action Zone will also capitalise on the strong arts and creative scene in Redruth, working with organisations including Creative Kernow and Kresen Kernow (Cornwall’s new archive centre) to develop exciting activities to celebrate the town’s rich history and successful regeneration.
Below you can find just some of the progress being made in the Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone. For more, follow us on Twitter @HistoricEngland
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