LOCAL HISTORY RESOURCES FOR WEST CORNWALL
Order list by:  Name  -  Subject  -  Popularity
Photo archive
Cornish Memory
Website

An archive now running to over 30,000 items accessible by subject, collection, location or by simply searching using the provided search tool. Includes photographs, film and sound recordings. Caution needed in using this collection as captions and details (eg photo orientation) are not always correct.
Genealogy
Cornish Wills
Website

Includes abstracts of over 950 Cornish wills and admons, probate indices for Penwith parishes, abstracts of the Manor Court records of Ludgvan Lese, Cornish Court Deposition abstracts, the Gwithian Page and mini trees and outlines of various Penwith area families. Also includes a description of Cornish Probate Records available on film through the LDS Family History Centres. No longer updated but lots of useful info.
Newspaper archive
British Newspaper Archive
New

Website

A searchable archive of mainly local British newspaper titles including most editions of the Cornishman, Cornish Telegraph, Cornish Times, Royal Cornwall Gazette, Sherborne Mercury, West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser. Although the scanning is sometimes imperfect – and searches will therefore often miss important items – the text can be exported into Word. You can subscribe for a fixed period, or pay as you go.


Online resource
West Penwith Resources
Website

No longer maintained but a wealth of resources and references including some transcribed texts.
Mining
Bal Maidens and Mining Women
Website

The place for info on bal maidens, includes the full text of The Royal Commission for Inquiring into the Employment and Condition of Children and Young Persons in the Mines of Cornwall and Devonshire, 1842 (Barham Report). Site owner Lynne Mayers has produced a series of books on bal maidens by mining district eg Bal Maidens of the St Just Peninsula.
Bookseller
Belerion Books
Website
Email

Specialises in books on Cornwall and Devon and has many electronic versions.
Genealogy
Cornwall Online Census
Website

There are lots of places to access online census data but this one has a killer attraction, it's free. Although it has a limited search facility and only covers 1841-1901 (the project came to an end in 2008) it still has many uses.
Photo archive
Morrab Library Photo Archive
Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens, Penzance, TR18 4DA tel: 01736 364474
Website
Email

A growing online archive of photographs of Penzance and Penwith.
Library
Cornish Studies Library
New

Alma Place, Redruth, TR15 2AT Tel: 01209 216760


See Kresen Kernow


Library
Camborne School of Mines
New

Website

Materials from this Collection are housed at Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, and can be viewed by appointment with us in Archives & Special Collections, Level 0, The Exchange. Make use of the online catalogue before your visit. Records of Camborne School of Mines, along with other relevant resources, are also deposited with Kresen Kernow in Redruth.


Genealogy
Cornwall Online Parish Clerks
New

Website

This is a search engine that provides some useful links


Cornish history
Cornwall Association of Local Historians
CALH, c/o Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY
Website

Email via website

Formed in 1981 as a forum for local historians in Cornwall and publishes both a newsletter and a journal twice a year. Also organises an annual conference and up to four full day visits each year. Website features a useful links directory.
Library
Morrab Library
New

Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens, Penzance, TR18 4DA tel: 01736 364474

Website
Email

Penzance subscription library established in 1818. Two hundred years of collection building has seen the gathering of some real treasures and resources of real value to local historians.


Archive
Cornwall County Record Office
New

Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3AY Tel: 01782323127


See Kresen Kernow


Local history
Humble History
Website

This is the personal website of Dr Lesley Trotter of St Day whose main area of research she describes as "The Cornish Wives Left Behind". The married women who were left in Cornwall when their menfolk left for overseas mining camps in their thousands, the women of the diaspora. Not so much an information source as an example of where local history may take you.
Community archive
Newlyn Archive
email via website
Website

Holds a wide range of catalogued general material such as postcards, bills of sale, family trees, census data etc much of which has been digitised. There is also an art archive containing information and artefacts organised into galleries, modern art, arts and crafts and the Newlyn Artists.
Digital archive
British History Online
Website

Based at the Institute for Historical Research this is a digital library of key sources for the history of Britain and Ireland 1300-1800. Subscription required for full access but much of the collection is available and searchable free of charge.


Archaeology
Cornwall Archaeological Society
Website

Very active society of over 50 years standing which organises numerous events, regular digs and publishes an excellent annual journal.
Genealogy
Cornwall Family History Society
18 Lemon Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2LS
Tel: 01872 264044
Website
Email

Runs a library in Truro and will carry out research on your behalf for a modest fee. Very small so you are advised to ring and make a booking before a visit.
Photo archive
Royal Cornwall Museum Image Archive
Website

Like many museums RCM is busily digitising its collection of old photographs and making it available online. Organised by broad topic with sub-categories by district where necessary. Includes quite a number of Penwith photographs and a good selection on mining themes. Includes the J.C. Burrow collection of underground photographs.
Cornish history
Historic Cornwall
New

Website

The website of Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service. Includes the Historic Environment Record, Access to Monuments (a guide to historic sites), Flying Past (aerial photography), Mining World heritage and the urban and industrial settlement surveys. Linked to the mapping service which can provide invaluable insights but needs a bit of persistence to come to to terms with it.


Genealogy
Genuki Cornwall
Website

The Cornwall section of a country wide county by county survey of genealogy resources, parish structure and administration. An excellent reference point for genealogy and parish based research.
Community archive
Hayle Community Archive
The Old Brewery Office, 1 Sea Lane, Hayle, TR27 4DU
Tel: 01736 753962
Website
Email

The strength of this site is the collection of photographs of Hayle and its residents but don't overlook the fact that the archive is open to visitors twice a week.
Societies
Old Cornwall Societies
Website

Your local OCS is always worth contacting with local history queries. This site includes a full directory of all branches as well as news from the network. OCS was established in 1920 to support and promote Cornish culture and heritage, encourage the study and use of the Cornish language and support the preservation of Cornish antiquities and relics.
Community archive
St. Hilary Heritage Centre
St Hilary Churchtown, Penzance, TR20 9DQ
01326 560970
Website
Email

Focused on the history of St Hilary church and parish the centre houses a unique collection of Newlyn School paintings formed by a former vicar, Bernard Walke. The centre also houses a collection of Walke's plays together with information on local mining, emigration and dialect.
Military museum
Cornwall's Regimental Museum
The Keep, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1EG
Tel: 01208 72810
Website
Email

As well as the museum there is an extensive library and archive telling the story of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, the volunteers, militia and the home guard over some 300 years.
Mining
Geevor Tin Mine Museum

Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7EW tel 01736 788662

Website
Email

Not just a mining museum with an underground tour, Geevor also has an extensive archive which can be consulted by arrangement and an oral history collection of increasing value.


Cornish history
Institute of Cornish Studies
Website

Department of the University of Exeter created to study all aspects of Cornish history and culture, past, present and future. Publishes the journal Cornish Studies and disseminates its archive content via www.cornishstory.com which includes a wealth of multimedia resources. (previously CAVA)
Local history
Local History Online
Website

This is the online presence of Local History magazine so it's no surprise to find a fair bit of advertising. Beyond the advertising there is some solid content in the form of local history news, events, a directory of local history societies, courses and speakers.
Archive
National Archives
Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU
Tel: 0208876 3444
Email: see website for options
Website

The official public archive of the government of the United Kingdom and while it holds a vast amount of top down information of government origin there is an equally large volume of material from local communities heading the other way. With such a vast quantity of material you need a good search engine and you get that with the National Archives. Also searches local archives.
Museum
Penlee House Museum and gallery
New

Morrab Road, Penzance, TR18 4HE tel: 01736 363625

Website
Email

Focusing on Penzance and Newlyn the Penlee, which is owned by Penzance Council, has some splendid items in its collection, including the work of several members of the Newlyn School. It has recently acquired the Gibson collection of historic photographs (1870-1905) to add to its large photo archive.


Cornish history
Cornwall Heritage Trust
Website

The Trust owns and manages a number of significant heritage site in Cornwall including: the Hurlers, Trethevy Quoit, Tregiffian Burial Chamber, Carn Euny, Sancreed Beacon and the Treffry Viaduct. It also provides educational materials and various forms of funding. The Trust also administers the Sir Richard Trant Memorial Award for "unsung heroes" who have made a significant voluntary contribution to Cornwall's heritage - an award won in 2013 by Cedric Appleby of the Penwith Local History Group.
Museum library
Courtney Library
Royal Cornwall Museum, River Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2SJ
Tel: 01872 272205
Website
Email

The library of the Royal Cornwall Museum. Limited space but wonderful collection and extremely helpful librarian, Angela Broome, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of her stock. Have a look at the Borlase Atlas of Tin Bounds surveyed by Charles Moody in the 1780s.
Community archive
St. Ives Archive
Research Centre, Wesley Methodist Church, St Ives Road, Carbis Bay, St Ives, TR26 2SF

01736 796408
Website
Email

Lots of information on the St Ives fishing industry and more besides including history of the local beaches, custom houses, disasters at sea, boatbuilding and other topics of local interest.
Cornish history
Victoria County History: Cornwall
New

Website

Following publication of Volume 1 in 1906 the Cornwall VCH ground to a halt but was later revived. Of immediate relevance to Penwith is the second book produced by the revived project, "Cornwall and the Coast: Mousehole and Newlyn." The website has useful links to national events.


History group
St. Keverne Local History Group
01326 280864
email via website
Website

Site includes transcripts of the St Keverne parish registers, St Keverne Census 1841-1891, information shipwrecks, seine fishing, Methodism, wells and the Diggens archive of material gathered by the local vicar at the end of the 19th century.
Industrial archaeology
Trevithick Society
Website

The Society is the leading industrial archaeology organisation in Cornwall with an active publications programme, regular meetings and a large and growing collection of documents and artefacts.
Oral history
Hayle Oral History Project
Website
Email

Exactly what is says, a collection of oral history recordings capturing details of the recent past in Hayle and district.
Murdoch House
New

Cross Street, Redruth, TR15 2BU.

Website
Resource centre
Kresen Kernow
New

Website
Email

Kresen Kernow is home to the world’s largest collection of documents, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall’s history, and is now (since 2019) housed in a state-of-the-art new archive centre built in the shell of the former Redruth Brewery. The website includes guides tio the available resources and a search facility.


For anyone researching Cornish history, Kresen Kernow – easily accessible by public transport – is recommended as the first port of call.


Manor Office
St Michael's Mount, Marazion TR17 0EF
Website
Picture Penzance
New

Website
Museum
Royal Cornwall Museum
New

Website

Details of exhibitions and events, blog etc.


Search Resources
 


Penwith Local History Group

c/o Morrab Library
Morrab Gardens
Penzance, Cornwall
TR18 4DA






Penwith Local History Group, Penzance, Cornwall
Penwith Local History Group
Penzance, Cornwall



The Morrab Library showing the new extension
The Morrab Library showing the new extension.
Photo Glyn Richards



<br>The Nine Maidens Stone Circle., Penwith Local History Group
This month's featured photograph:

The Nine Maidens Stone Circle.

Photograph by Ted Mole

Click on the photo above to view more photos
<br>Coastline near Zennor., Penwith Local History Group<br>Chysauster looking east to Mulfra Hill., Penwith Local History Group<br>St Michael's Mount from the Coast Path by Penzance station., Penwith Local History Group<br>Marazion from St Michael's Mount., Penwith Local History Group<br>Greenburrow Engine House, Ding Dong Mine., Penwith Local History Group<br>Marazion from St Michael's Mount, Trencrom on skyline., Penwith Local History Group<br>Three of the Nine Maidens, Zennor Hill in background., Penwith Local History Group<br>Levant Mine from the south showing the leat in the foreground, left to right the calciner, stamps and compressor stacks and the whim and pumping engine houses in the centre with the Skip Shaft headframe., Penwith Local History Group<br>Higher Bal, Levant Mine. Engine house for dual purpose pumping and winding engine. Stonecrop in foreground., Penwith Local History Group<br>Causeway to St Michael's Mount on the ebb tide., Penwith Local History Group<br>Men-an-Tol., Penwith Local History Group