The China Clay Museum at Wheal Martyn
This page provides a basic introduction to some of the key organisations associated with Cornish culture and heritage. We are planning to develop a comprehensive guide in 2014 so please contact us if you would like to be included.
Archives, Libraries and Museums
Cornwall Record Office at Truro is an important resource provider that holds a wide range of materials dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries. The Cornish Studies Library at the Cornwall Centre, Redruth, contains the world's best collection of printed and published items relating to the history, geography, customs, industries, language and other aspects of Cornish life. Additional items include Cornish newspapers (on microfilm), the Enumerators Returns for Cornwall of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. These are available on microfilm, as are the General Register Office Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths from 1837 to 1939. The library has a good collection of Cornish photographs and an almost complete run of the Mining Journal. The Courtney Library at the Royal Cornwall Museum has an extensive collection of Cornish material covering history, archaeology, geology, mining and religion with particular emphasis on the social and cultural history of Cornwall.
The independent Morrab Library at Penzance houses an extensive Celtic collection and much material devoted to the Napoleonic period, as well as a wide variety of other material including some nineteenth century government reports. Viewing the specialist collections is by appointment only. For maritime links see the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, home to the Bartlett Library, open free to the public for research by prior arrangement.
The Cornwall Family History Society maintains a well resourced reading room in Truro. The Historic Environment Service of Cornwall Council, holds a large collection of aerial photographs and maintains the Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record, a unique database of archaeological ‘events’ from the Stone Age to the present. The CAU is home to two Objective One Funded initiatives: the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and the Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey.
The A2A (Access to Archives project) provides access to a huge, unqualified amount of material in other record offices and general UK-wide repositories. The National Archives contains much Cornish material. The British Library has the world's largest collection of domestic and overseas newspapers that include the Cornish published West Briton, Cornubian and Cornish Post and Mining News. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford. COPAC will give you access to the catalogues of all the major research libraries in the UK. For a handy link to academic libraries in the HE sector go to Wolverhampton University's UK Active Map. The Duchy of Cornwall Office is located at 10 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LA. It should be noted that access to the Duchy of Cornwall Archive, which is primarily an internal resource, is restricted.
The best gateway for information on the Cornish language is provided by the Cornish Language Partnership. From the MAGA site you can link to the various language groups and societies. The Cornwall Film Festival happens every year in November and is a showcase for film and television produced on and in Cornwall, including works in the Cornish language.
The Celtic music and dance traditions of Cornwall are promoted by Lowender Peran. This annual festival is held in October at Perranporth and brings together performers from the Celtic nations in the areas of dance, music and storytelling.
An important cornerstone organisation in the Cornish cultural movement is Gorseth Kernow, which ‘exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall’. Another key body is the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies. The Trevithick Society is an organisation for everybody interested in industrial archaeology and all aspects of the industrial past in Cornwall.