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Cornish: Truru

Truro Cathedral from St. Mary's Street
Truro is located in Cornwall
 Truro shown within Cornwall
Population 20,332 (2011)
OS grid reference
   – London  232 miles (373 km) ENE 
Civil parish Truro
Unitary authority Cornwall
Ceremonial county Cornwall
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TRURO
Postcode district TR1-4
Dialling code 01872
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Truro and Falmouth
List of places

Truro (; Cornish: Truru) is a city and civil parish in Cornwall, England, UK. The city is the centre for administration, leisure and retail in Cornwall, with a population recorded in the 2001 census of 17,431.[1] Truro urban statistical area, which includes parts of surrounding parishes, has a 2001 census population of 20,920.[2] By 2011 the city's population had increased to 20,332 and its surrounding urban area to 23,000 as based on the results of the population of Cornwall in 2010. It is the only city in the county, and the most southern city in Mainland Great Britain. People from Truro are known as Truronians.

Truro initially grew as an important centre of trade from its port and then as a Royal Cornwall Museum, the Hall for Cornwall, Cornwall's Courts of Justice and Cornwall Council.


  • Toponymy 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
  • Demographics and economy 4
  • Culture 5
    • Attractions 5.1
    • Events 5.2
    • Sports 5.3
    • Media 5.4
    • Customs 5.5
  • Climate 6
  • Administration 7
    • Twinning 7.1
  • Transport 8
    • Roads and bus services 8.1
    • Railways 8.2
    • Air and river transport 8.3
  • Churches 9
  • Education 10
  • Development 11
  • Notable residents 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


The origin of Truro's name is debated. It is said to be derived from the Cornish tri-veru meaning "three rivers," but references such as the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names reject this theory. At best, the "tru" part could mean "three," though this is doubtful. An expert on Cornish place-names, Oliver Padel, in his book A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-names wrote that the 'three rivers' meaning is "possible."[3]


The earliest records and archaeological findings of a permanent settlement in the Truro area originate from Norman times . A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who was granted land in Cornwall for his services to the court, including the area surrounding the confluence of the two rivers. The town grew in the shadow of the castle and was awarded borough status to further economic activity. (The castle has long since gone.)

By the start of the 14th century Truro was an important port, due to its inland location away from invaders, prosperity from the fishing industry, and its new role as one of Cornwall's stannary towns for assaying and stamping tin and copper from Cornish mines. The Black Death arrived and with it, a trade recession, resulting in a mass exodus of the population and the town was left in a very neglected state.

Trade gradually returned and the town became prosperous during the Tudor period. Self-governance was awarded in 1589 when a new charter was granted by Elizabeth I, which gave Truro an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.

During the

The old parish church of Truro was St Mary's, incorporated into the cathedral in the later 19th century. Parts of the town were in the parishes of Piran and St Kenwyn are depicted in this part).[17]

St Paul's Church
St Mary's Truro (early 19th-century engraving)


Also available is a boat link to Falmouth along the Rivers Truro and Fal, four times daily, tide permitting. The small fleet run by Enterprise Boats and part of the Fal River Links also stops at Malpas, Trelissick, Tolverne and St Mawes.

Newquay Airport is Cornwall's main airport and is located 12 miles (19 km) north of Truro. One of the fastest-growing regional airports in the UK, the services and destinations are constantly expanding. The airport offers regular flights to and from London Gatwick and other cities around the country, the Isles of Scilly and Düsseldorf in Germany.

Air and river transport

Truro's first railway station was at Highertown, which was opened in 1852 by the West Cornwall Railway and from where trains ran to Redruth and Penzance. It was known as Truro Road Station & was located just west of Highertown Tunnel on the up side.The line was extended to the Truro River at Newham in 1855.Then Truro Road Station closed and Newham served as the Terminus. When the Cornwall Railway connected the line to Plymouth, their trains ran to a new station above the city centre,where the present station is now. The West Cornwall Railway (WCR) then diverted most of its passenger trains to the new station, leaving Newham mainly as a goods station until it closed in 1971. The WCR became part of the Great Western Railway. The route from Highertown to Newham is now a cycle path which takes a leisurely loop through the countryside on the south side of the city. Truro is also known as the namesake of the famous steam locomotive, the City of Truro, built in 1903 and still operational on UK mainline and preserved railways..

The nameplate of GWR City of Truro, built in 1903 and still operational in 2009

Truro railway station is a short walk from the city centre and is part of the Cornish Main Line, giving the city a direct connection to London Paddington. North-east of the station is a 28 metre (92 ft) high stone viaduct offering expansive views over the city, cathedral, and Truro River in the distance. The viaduct—the longest on the line—replaced Isambard Kingdom Brunel's wooden Carvedras Viaduct in 1904. Connecting to the main line at Truro station is the Maritime Line, a branch line which travels south and terminates at Falmouth.

Carvedras Viaduct, built in 1859 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was replaced by a stone viaduct in 1904.


The city and surrounding area is served by extensive bus services offering routes in and out of the city in all directions, usually starting and terminating at the bus station near Lemon Quay. A permanent Park and Ride scheme, known as Park for Truro, began operation in August 2008. Based at Langarth Park in Threemilestone, buses carry commuters into the city centre via Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, County Hall, Truro railway station, the Royal Cornwall Museum and Victoria Square. Coach services run by National Express also operate from Truro, providing transport to and from larger cities up-country.

Truro is 6 miles (9 km) from the A30 trunk road, to which it is connected by the A39 leading from Falmouth and Penryn. Wrapping the city's south side is the A390, stretching from Redruth in the west to Liskeard in the east where it connects to the A38, which then goes on to Plymouth and further to Exeter and the M5 motorway. Truro is the most southerly city in the United Kingdom, situated just under 232 miles (373 km) west south-west of Charing Cross, London.

Roads and bus services


The town of Truro in the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada is named after Truro, as is the town of Truro in the US state of Massachusetts.

Truro is twinned with Boppard, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, and Morlaix in Brittany, France, after which Morlaix Avenue in Truro is named.[14]


Truro City Council, a parish council, is situated within City Hall in Boscawen Street, and is responsible for parks, gardens and planting, mayoral and civic events, support of its overseas twinning, tourist information, and the liaising with Cornwall Council over planning, infrastructure, development and environmental issues, over which the unitary council administers. The city is divided into four wards – Boscawen, Moresk, Tregolls and Trehaverne, with 24 councillors elected for four-year terms.[13] Cornwall Council (a unitary authority) has its base at Lys Kernow (formerly County Hall) west of the city centre.

Georgian architecture at Walsingham Place


Climate data for Truro, Cornwall
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 5
Precipitation mm (inches) 81
Source: Foreca[12]


A mummers play text which had, until recently, been attributed to Mylor, Cornwall (much quoted in early studies of folk plays, such as The Mummers Play by R. J. E. Tiddy – published posthumously in 1923 – and The English Folk-Play (1933) by E. K. Chambers), has now been shown, by genealogical and other research, to have originated in Truro, Cornwall, around 1780.[10][11]


Truro is the centre of Cornwall's local media. The county-wide weekly newspapers, The West Briton and the Cornish Guardian, are based in the city and serves the Truro area with its Truro and Mid-Cornwall edition. The city is also home to the broadcasting studios of the county-wide radio station BBC Radio Cornwall, and the studios of the West district of ITV Westcountry, whose main studio is now located in Bristol after ITV Westcountry merged with ITV West, the studio in Plymouth was closed and Westcountry Live was replaced by The West Country Tonight.


Truro was temporarily the home to rugby union club Cornish Pirates, but the team is currently located at its historical base in Penzance. Discussions are currently in progress about the possible construction of a Stadium for Cornwall, planned for Threemilestone.[9] The city is also home to Truro City F.C., a football team in the Conference South, the only Cornish club ever to reach this tier of the football pyramid. The club achieved national recognition when they won the FA Vase in 2007, beating A.F.C. Totton 3–1 in only the second ever final at the new Wembley Stadium, and becoming the first Cornish side ever to win the FA Vase. Cornwall County Cricket Club play some of their home fixtures at Boscawen Park, which is also the home ground of Truro Cricket Club. Other sporting amenities include a leisure centre, golf course, and tennis courts.


Truro celebrates the Christmas season with its Winter Festival, which includes a paper lantern parade known as the City of Lights Procession. Participants in this procession include many local primary schools as well as the involvement of colleges, community and youth groups. There has been active involvement by students from University College Falmouth in the creation of large lanterns, complementing the work of the core artists team. Christmas lights throughout the city centre as well a "big switch-on" event, speciality products and crafts fairs, late-night shopping evenings, various events at the Cathedral and a fireworks display on New Year's Eve. A Christmas tree is put up on the Piazza, and another outside the Cathedral at High Cross. One notable Christmas celebration was the Winter Festival of 2006, which, after a badly executed fundraising operation left the city with underwhelming decorations the year before, featured extensive festivities and decoration including an artificial ski slope constructed on Lemon Quay, resulting in a much more successful festival.

A Celtic cross near the Cathedral

Cornwall's first Gay Pride event took place in Truro in August 2008, and the Truro City Carnival takes place every September over a weekend, including various arts and music performances, children's activities, a fireworks display, food and drinks fairs, a circus, and a parade. A half-marathon also takes place in September, organised by Truro Running Club, with hundreds of participants running from the city centre into the countryside towards Kea returning to finish at Lemon Quay.

In April, Truro prepares to partake in the Britain in Bloom competition, with many floral displays and hanging baskets dotted around the city throughout the summer. A "continental market" also comes to Truro during the season and features food and craft stalls from all over Europe including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece.

The piazza at Lemon Quay is the centre of most festivities in Truro, which attracts visitors year-round with numerous different events.

Lemon Quay


The Royal Cornwall Museum is the oldest and premier museum in Cornwall for exhibitions detailing Cornish history and culture, with a wide range of collections such as archaeology, art and geology. Among the exhibits of the museum there is the so-called Arthur's inscribed stone. Truro is also noted for its parks and open spaces, including Victoria Gardens, Boscawen Park and Daubuz Moors.

Nalders Court Boutique Shopping (entrance next to Laura Ashley, opposite Truro library) is the home to several high quality fashion shops and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014.

The main attraction for local residents in the region is the wide variety of shops. Truro has a selection of chain stores, speciality shops and markets, which reflect its historic tradition as a market town. The indoor Pannier Market is open year-round with many stalls and small businesses. The city is also popular for its eateries, including cafés and bistros. Additionally, it has emerged as a popular destination for nightlife with many bars, clubs and restaurants opening. Truro is also known for the Hall for Cornwall, a performing arts and entertainment venue.

Truro's most recognisable feature is its Bath".[8]


The west front of the Cathedral


Housing prices in Truro are at an all-time high, also being 8% more expensive than the rest of Cornwall. Truro was named in 2006 as the top small city in the United Kingdom for increasing house prices, at 262% since 1996.[6] There is a large demand for new housing in the city, and a call for inner city properties to be converted into flats or houses to encourage city centre living and to alleviate the dependence on cars.

There are approximately 22,000 jobs available in Truro; major employers in the city include the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Cornwall Council, and Truro College. The number of jobs is more than twice the number of economically active people living in the city, at 9,500. This results in a large amount of commuting which is a major factor in the traffic congestion problems from which the city suffers. Earnings on average are higher than the rest of Cornwall.

Truro's popularity within Cornwall as the number one destination for retail and leisure, and its role as the administrative centre of the county, is unusual compared to other cities in the country given that it is the fourth most populous settlement in Cornwall.[2] Furthermore, population growth has been slow compared to other Cornish towns and Cornwall as a whole, at 10.5% during the 1971–1998 period.

Sunday morning on Pydar Street

Demographics and economy

Truro has mainly grown and developed around the historic city centre in a nucleated fashion along the slopes of the bowl valley, with an exception being fast linear development along the A390 to the west, towards Threemilestone. As Truro has grown, it—like any other city—has incorporated a number of settlements, turning them into suburbs or unofficial districts. These include Kenwyn and Moresk to the north, Trelander to the east, Newham to the south, and Highertown, Treliske and Gloweth to the west as a result of the far stretching development in that area.

The city is surrounded by a number of protected natural areas such as the historic parklands at Pencalenick, and larger areas of ornamental landscape, such as Trelissick Garden and Tregothnan further down the Truro River. An area south-east of the city, around and including Calenick Creek, has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Other protected areas include an Area of Great Landscape Value comprising agricultural land and wooded valleys to the north east, and Daubuz Moors, a Local Nature Reserve located alongside the River Allen close to the city centre.

Truro is located in the centre of western Cornwall approximately 9 miles (14 km) from the south coast on the confluence of the rivers Kenwyn and Allen, which both combine to become the Truro River, one of a series of creeks, rivers and drowned valleys leading into the River Fal and then onto the large natural harbour of Carrick Roads. The river valleys form a bowl surrounding the city on the north, east and west and open to the Truro River in the south. The fairly steep-sided bowl in which Truro is located, along with high precipitation swelling the rivers and a spring tide in the River Fal, were major factors in the cause of floods seen in 1988 which caused large amounts of damage to the city centre. Since then, flood defences have been constructed around the city, including an emergency dam at New Mill on the River Kenwyn and a tidal barrier on the Truro River, to prevent future problems.

The Truro River and one of the Enterprise Boats fleet transporting passengers to Falmouth


The start of the 20th century saw the decline of the mining industry, however the city remained prosperous as its previous role as a market town shifted to being the administrative and commercial centre of Cornwall, and saw substantial development. Today, Truro continues its role as the retail centre of Cornwall but, like many other cities, faces concerns over the disappearance of many of its renowned speciality shops for national chain stores, the eroding of its identity, and also over how to accommodate future expected growth in the 21st century.

Truro's importance increased later in the 19th century and it had its own iron smelting works, potteries, and tanneries. The Great Western Railway arrived in Truro in the 1860s with a direct line from London Paddington, and the Bishopric of Truro bill was passed in 1876 which gave the town a bishop, then a cathedral. The next year Queen Victoria granted Truro city status.

Throughout these prosperous times Truro remained a social centre and many notable people hailed from it. One of the most noteworthy residents was Richard Lander, an explorer who discovered the source of the River Niger in Africa and was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Henry Martyn read mathematics at Cambridge, was ordained and became a missionary, translating the New Testament into Urdu and Persia. Others include Humphry Davy, educated in Truro and inventor of the miner's safety lamp, and Samuel Foote, an actor and playwright from Boscawen Street.

The Cathedral in 1905, before completion of the spires

Truro prospered greatly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Industry flourished thanks to improved mining methods and higher prices for tin, and the town soon became the place to be for wealthy mine owners. Elegant Victorian townhouses were built—such as those seen today on Lemon Street, named after the mining magnate and local MP Sir William Lemon—and Truro became the centre for high society in the county, being mentioned as "the London of Cornwall".[5]

Boscawen Street in 1810

[4], in 1883 and closed in 2001 when the two surviving nuns moved into care homes. The sisters were involved in pastoral and educational work and the care of the cathedral and St Paul's Church.[19] St Paul's Church, built with a tower on a river bed with poor foundations, has fallen into disrepair, and is no longer in use. Services are now held at the churches of St Clement, St George, and St John. St Paul & St Clement is now a united benefice as is St George and St John.

There is a Quaker Meeting House built in granite (ca. 1830) and among the Methodist chapels is that in Union Place which has a broad granite front (1830, but since enlarged). There are numerous other churches, some meeting in their own buildings (Catholic, Baptist) and some in schools or halls.


Educational institutions in Truro include:

The former Truro Grammar School has been converted into a bar.[20]


Lower Lemon Street

Truro has many proposed development schemes and plans, the majority of which are intended to counter the main problems it faces, notably traffic congestion and lack of housing.

Major proposals include the construction of a distributor road to carry traffic away from the very busy Threemilestone-Treliske-Highertown corridor, reconnecting at either Green Lane or Morlaix Avenue. This road will also serve the new housing planned for that area.[21]

Major changes are also proposed for the city centre, such as pedestrianisation of the main shopping streets and beautification of a list of uncharacteristic storefronts built in the 1960s.[21] Also, new retail developments on the current Carrick District Council site and Garras Wharf waterfront site will provide more space for shops, open spaces and public amenities and also turn rather ugly areas of the city into attractive new destinations.[21] Along with the redevelopment of the waterfront, a tidal barrier is planned to dam water into the Truro River which is currently blighted by unsightly mud banks which appear at low tide.[21]

Controversial developments include the construction of a new stadium for Truro City F.C. and the Cornish Pirates, and the relocation of the city's golf course to make way for more housing. A smaller project is the addition of two large sculptures in the Piazza.[22]

Notable residents

Richard Lemon Lander. A monument to him stands at the top of Lemon Street.
The Headland Hotel, Newquay, architect Silvanus Trevail
The River Kenwyn, which converges with the Allen and becomes the River Truro

See also


  1. ^ Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : CarrickOffice for National Statistics : . Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Census 2001 Key Statistics for urban areas in England and Wales" (PDF). National Office of Statistics. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  3. ^ Padel, O. J. (1988) A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-names, Penzance, A. Hodge ISBN 0-906720-15-X
  4. ^ Pascoe, W. H. (1979). A Cornish Armory. Padstow, Cornwall: Lodenek Press. p. 135.  
  5. ^ "History of Truro". Truro Town Site. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Homes in smaller cities cost more". BBC News. 20 May 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  7. ^ "Building Statistics – Truro Cathedral, Truro".  
  8. ^ "Daytripper – Sheer Indulgence in Truro". Truro City Council. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "Renewed hope for sports stadium". BBC News. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  10. ^ The Truro cordwainers' play: a "new" eighteenth-century Christmas play — Research article at
  11. ^ Truro (Formerly Mylor): "A Play for Christmas", 1780s (Full text and notes)
  12. ^ "Weather Averages - Truro, England". Foreca. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  13. ^ "Councillors & Wards". Truro City Council. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "Aims of Twinning". Truro-Morlaix Twinning Association. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  15. ^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; pp. 210–11
  16. ^ "Parishes of St Paul, Truro, St Clement, St George, Truro, and St John, Truro (united benefice)". Truro Churches (official). Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  17. ^ Rendell, Joan (1982) Cornish Churches. St Teath: Bossiney Books; pp. 38–39
  18. ^ a b Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 234–35
  19. ^ Cornish Church Guide. Truro: Blackford; pp. 325–26
  20. ^ Carter, Mary. "Truro Grammar School at War". BBC. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Truro and Threemilestone Action Plan". Carrick District Council. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "The Lemon Quay Sculptures". Truro City Council. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  23. ^ "Joseph Hunkin in New York". Time Inc. 14 February 1938. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 

External links

  • Truro at DMOZ
  • Truro City Council website
  • Cornwall Record Office Online Catalogue for Truro
  • Truro – historic characterisation for regeneration (CSUS)
  • Truro travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Enjoy Truro – official guide to the city, including latest news and events (provided by Totally Truro, the local not-for-profit Business Improvement District)
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