Last week John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, was in Redruth to see work on the new Cornwall Archive project and to confirm the £12 million of Heritage Lottery Funding needed to see the construction completed.
Cornwall has a unique culture and an industrial heritage to be proud of, with Redruth playing a particularly important role as one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution and as the centre of the Cornish diaspora across the world. In its prime, Redruth was at the heart of the tin mining industry and there were many feats of engineering developed in Cornwall at that time.
After the decline in the fortunes of tin mining in the late nineteenth century, there was a huge exodus to the new world with Cornish tin miners founding the industry in Australia, California, South Africa, South America and Mexico. As a result, today there are some six to eight million people making up a worldwide Cornish diaspora and the vast majority of them can trace their family roots back to Redruth.
It is this history that makes Redruth the ideal place to host the new Kresen Kernow archive project and that is why I have supported this initiative from the start. The new funding of £12 million secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund is a major boost.
The money will be used to help transform the old derelict Redruth brewery site into a centre for holding the world’s largest collection of maps, photographs and manuscripts relating to Cornwall. In addition, once complete, the centre will host a range of exhibitions and activities allowing audiences to celebrate and share in Cornwall’s history.
As well as safeguarding the iconic brewery, the site will also see the construction of homes and shops all of which will play a key role in kick starting the wider regeneration of Redruth and leading to an estimated 300 new jobs in the town.