Last weekend it was Murdoch Day, an important yearly event in Redruth's calendar that celebrates the life and contribution of the inventor and engineer William Murdoch. Murdoch was one of the pioneers of steam power development in Cornwall and also famously invented the first ever gas light using piped gas. Murdoch day itself includes an exciting program of events with processions, music and a variety of exhibitions throughout the town.
These are also exciting times for Redruth and there are a number of projects underway that will bring new investment into the town and also contribute to the town's unique heritage. One of these developments is taking place at the Krowji Arts Centre at the old grammar school buildings near West Park and recently I caught up with the director of the Centre, Ross Williams, to get an update on progress. The Krowji Arts Centre is actually Cornwall's largest creative services workplace and they are home to a huge array of creative businesses and agencies, from furniture makers to the Cornwall Film Festival organisers.
Krowji recently began a £3.7 million re-development project that will see new offices and a doubling of capacity at the arts hub. The centre won European and private funding and I supported them in getting the Department of Education to recognise the value of the project and release some old school land that was needed for the development. Work is now truly underway at the site and they are hoping for the offices to be ready for occupation by early next year. I have always said Cornwall is a creative county and our heritage proves that but it is great to see such a modern creative project growing from strength to strength.
Kresen Kernow, the Cornwall Archive Centre at the old brewery site is also making real progress and the first phase of the scheme to prepare the site with flood defences is now scheduled to start in the summer. I was heavily involved in negotiations with the Hong Kong based owner of the site, Mr Horace Yao, to get the project started and met him again two weeks ago for an update.
Two weeks ago Cornwall Council announced that they had appointed specialist architects for the project with over six decades of experience brining historic buildings back to life. I think this appointment is great news because we need a design which celebrates the heritage of the site but is also fit for purpose for modern uses. I remember the old Devenish Brewery and their distinctive green branding when I was growing up and I know I am not the only one looking forward to bringing this derelict site back to life.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.