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Redruth in 1836

REDRUTH, an unincorporated market-town in the hundred of Penwith, in the county of Cornwall, 268 miles from the General Post-office, London, by the Southampton railroad to the Andover-road station (55 miles), and from thence by Andover, Salisbury, Dorchester, Bridport, Exeter, Launceston, Bodmin, and Truro. It is supposed to very old town; the original name was Dredruith, interpreted to mean Druids’ town ; but it did not possess any importance till modern times, when its copper-mines have given it wealth and population.

The area of the parish is 3770 acres. The population 1831, was 8191. The town stands on the brow of a hill, and consists for the most part of one long street, running north-east and south-west, indifferently paved. and lighted with gas. The church, dedicated to St. Uny, is about half a mile south-west of the town; it was rebuilt A.D. 1770. There are the remains of an ancient chapel in the town and there are meeting-houses for Baptists, Quakers, and Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists. There ore a market-house, shambles, a small theatre, and a spacious handsome savings’ bank, which, there being no town-hall, is used upon the revision of lists of county voters and for other public purposes. Near the entrance to the market-place is a clock-tower with an illuminated clock.

The wealth of the town is derived from the valuable tin and copper mines in this and the adjacent parishes. There are weekly sales of copper-ore, and stores of such articles as the miners require are kept in the town. There are two weekly markets; the Friday market is a considerable corn-market ; there are three yearly fairs, chiefly for cattle.

The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Cornwall and diocese of Exeter, of the clear yearly value of £432 with a glebe-house. There were, in l833, one infant-school with 154 children of both sexes; seventeen day-schools with 372 male and 190 female scholars; and three Sunday-schools, with 394 male and 301 female scholars. There is a subscription reading-room.

There are several villages in the parish; at one of them called Plaingwary (that is, in Cornish, plan an guare, the plain of sport or pastime), are the remains of one of the ‘rounds’ in which plays were anciently performed.

The Redruth and Chasewater (or, as it is more commonly called, Redruth and Deveron) railway extends from Redruth to Deveron, a shipping-place, on a creek running up from Falmouth harbour. It traverses the great mining parish of Gwennap, and communicates by branches with other mining districts, and also with Portreath, a seaport on the North Channel. The carriages are drawn by horses at a rate of three or four miles per hour. This railway is used chiefly for the conveyance of ores from the mines the places of shipment ; coals, timber, &c from the wharfs to the mines; and flour and merchandise to Redruth and the intervening villages. By means of a short branch it joins the railway from Redruth to Hayle, the wagons or carriages being loaded and unloaded from one railway the other. The length of the main line is about fourteen miles. This railway, which was formed under an Act passed 1824, has been open about fifteen years, and has proved very profitable.

The Hayle railway, which was also constructed by a joint-stock company, under Acts obtained in l834 and 1836, affords communication by its main line between the town of Redruth, the adjacent mines, and the port of Hayle, its extreme length being about twelve miles. It has several branches, the principal of which is about three miles and a half in extent, and communicates with the seaport of Portreath. The line is worked by locomotives and stationary steam-engines, at a speed of from twelve to twenty miles an hour, the latter being used in some parts on account of the steepness of the inclined planes. The traffic is of much the same description as that on the Redruth and Deveron railway, and a large quantity of general merchandise is conveyed inland, which is brought by a steamer that plies between the ports of Hayle and Bristol. This railway (on which no passengers are conveyed) has been open about three years, but has not hitherto realised the expectations of its projectors.