Grand opening of Kresen Kernow, the brand new archive centre for Cornwall

A community open day to tie in with Redruth’s International Mining and Pasty Festival on 07 September will mark the grand opening of Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new state-of-the-art archive centre built on the former Brewery site in Redruth.

Protecting 850 years of Cornish history for future generations, Kresen Kernow brings together under one roof the world’s largest collection of records, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall.  

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Council Leader Julian German said: “Kresen Kernow is a fantastic building, and a fitting home for Cornwall’s history, which our residents and visitors can enjoy and be proud of. 

"When the decision was taken to build a new archive centre for Cornwall in Redruth, we were determined to protect the historic old Brewery building at the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.  

"It was one of the reasons the Council was able to secure £11.7m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to go towards the £21m cost of the project, the largest grant made to a local authority archive service.

"Now we can come together to welcome residents to this amazing building for the grand opening event on 07 September.

“Kresen Kernow represents a local sense of belonging, distinctiveness and identity. The new home for Cornwall’s archive will nurture our own sense of identity and our ability to reach out to the global diaspora.”

With its carefully restored façade, exhibition gallery, digitisation and preservation suites and 14 miles of shelving, Kresen Kernow is a worthy home for 1.5 million of Cornwall’s historic manuscripts, records and papers covering 850 years of Cornwall’s distinct history. 

"Safely housed there is everything from medieval manuscripts to books, newspapers, glass plate negatives, maps, diaries, letters and much more.

The Redruth Brewery site had been an eyesore since a devastating fire destroyed many of its historic buildings in 2011.

A package of investment including £1.7million from the European Regional Development Fund for public realm works and a flood alleviation scheme got the site ready for redevelopment.

Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for planning and economy said:  “The opening of Kresen Kernow will have a ripple effect, transforming an area of Cornwall that was seen to be run down and unloved, to a place that inspires the community to get involved and be proud. “

“Kresen Kernow is a fitting new home for the stories of Cornwall and will help to reinforce Redruth’s reputation as a centre for creative industries.  It will attract more people to come to Redruth which will in turn act as a catalyst for further development and investment.”

Cllr Deborah Reeve, Mayor of Redruth, said the project had provided a real boost for the town.  She said:  “There is an air of hope in the town around what is happening at this site.

“It has bought such a sense of positivity and achievement to everybody and we really see there is a change in what is happening in the town for the better.”

The community open day on 07 September will run from 10am until 4pm and will begin with a ribbon cutting by The Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho OBE to formally open the building.

Throughout the day, there will be a wide range of performances by Cornish bands and choirs, including a piece composed specifically for the opening event, as well as talks, sneaky peek tours and free family activities.

There will also be the chance to view the Treasures of Kresen Kernow exhibition, featuring a magnificent manuscript from Elizabeth I.

Visitors will be able to take a look at treasures from the strongrooms, including an 18th century Cornish language dictionary.

Kresen Kernow has also launched a brand new website to open up Cornwall’s incredible archive collections to an even wider audience so that digitised items – including books and thousands of photographs – can be accessed online whether you are in Bude or Brisbane.

Kresen Kernow, which will be open for free access for one and all, also has dedicated learning rooms, exhibition space capable of hosting loaned documents from other archives, as well as, strongrooms to ensure that Cornwall’s heritage continues to be well cared for into the future. 

It will be running a wide activity programme which includes school outreach workshops on a wide variety of themes, as well as opportunities for volunteering and work experience placements.

Kresen Kernow opens to researchers on Wednesday September 11 at 9.30am. Everyone is welcome to drop in and see what’s on offer.

Posted on 04 September