STEEPED IN HISTORY
The Lowenac Hotel was constructed for a prominent local mining captain and shares in much of the history of Camborne has to offer.
Camborne was a prosperous boom town in the nineteenth century, due to the tin mining industry. Sadly, the last tin mine closed a few years ago but the Camborne School of Mines is still a thriving educational establishment in the town. The local museum has a mining section and old beam engines can be seen at Cornish Engines.
There have been many improvements made to Camborne in recent years and the newly refurbished town square is worth a visit.
The town’s most famous son, Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), invented a steam engine which travelled along the road. His statue stands outside the town library and he is celebrated by the annual and very popular Trevithick Day. Attractions on the day include model exhibitions, vintage vehicles, performances by local Male Voice Choirs, concerts by the Camborne Town Band and other local bands and the dances. The two dances are the Bal Maidens’ and Miners’ Dances , which are performed by local school children led by the town band. The event is held around the end of April each year and the streets of the town are closed to traffic.
As a ‘town’ Camborne is a comparatively recent construction. Much of the town’s growth is associated with the mining boom during the first half of the 19th century and before this time Camborne Churchtown was a hamlet surrounded by moorland. It was only one village in a district of villages most larger than Camborne. The original approach road to Camborne was at Tuckingmill where travellers had to follow an indirect route via Treswithian to reach the hamlet. With the building of the great turnpike road through Cornwall in 1839, Camborne’s isolation ended. Baker’s Lane was extended and later this became Trelowarren Street – today Camborne’s main shopping street.
Pigot’s Directory for Camborne, 1830 says, ‘From being a very insignificant place this town is fast riding into opulence and consequently importance from the valuable mines of tin and copper surrounding it.
Camborne reached the peak of its prosperity in the mid 1880s. In 1841 the population numbered 10,061 and by 1871 this had risen to 14,929, the highest ever figure. As the population grew, the town became overcrowded.
Following the depression in mining after 1873, the years of mass emigration to mining fields overseas began. Even then, Camborne was saved from total ruin by the world-famous Dolcoath mine – the ‘Queen of Mines’. It was deeper and more productive than any other Cornish mine and supported hundreds of families for generations before closing in 1921.