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Ten things you didn’t know about Truro

Whether you're a fleeting visitor, or a born and bred Truronian, Truro is full of surprises. Here are ten lesser-known facts about Cornwall's only city.

1. Truro used to have a castle

Truro once had its very own castle, which was built sometime before c1270, most probably by the first noted High Sherriff Richard De Luci or one of his descendants.

Although nothing remains of the castle, it was said to have had a diameter of 75ft (23m) and walls of local slate that were three feet thick. Little is known about the castle and its inhabitants as it fell into ruin by the 1500s. 

2. Truro was once home to a mediaeval leper hospital

Lazar House was built outside the city walls in 1309 and was said to be home to around 24 people suffering from leprosy. 

The disease was thought to have been brought back to England by crusaders returning from the Holy Wars and was seen as a sign of uncleanliness, so sufferers were ostracised by society.  

3. Queen played their first ever show in Truro

You may already know that Roger Taylor, the legendary drummer from Queen, was born and raised in Truro. But what you may not know is that under their first name ‘Smile’, the most successful rock band ever played their first gig in Cornwall’s capital. With their charismatic frontman, Freddie Mercury, they were booked to play the City Hall in Truro, Cornwall on 27th June 1970.

4. Truro has an award-winning roundabout 

From the sublime to the ridiculous, one of Truro’s roundabouts was recently voted ‘the best traffic island in the UK’. 

The highest one-way gyratory accolade went to Trafalgar roundabout in the centre of Truro in 2019. This is thanks to the giant wooden hedgehogs that have been given a home there by the Wild Truro team, and the Truro City Parks Department, as a way to make the city more wildlife friendly. 

📷:Cornwall Live

5. Truro was bombed in World War Two 

On 6th August 1942, Nazi fighter bombers dropped two bombs on the Royal Cornwall Infirmary and Truro railway station killing a total of 14 people and injuring more than 100. 


6. Truro was named after three rivers meeting

It is said that the Cornish word for three rivers, ‘Tri-veru’, is where the name of town originally derived. This is due to the three rivers that ran through Truro, the Kenwyn, the Allen and the third is up for debate – the River Tinney or the Fal. 

7. American soldiers were stationed here in World War Two 

Many American troops were based in Truro and the local area whilst training for the D-Day invasion. They were welcomed by locals and enjoyed films, shows & dances in the old Regent Cinema. 

8. Truro was the centre of the copper and tin trade

Although Truro officially became a town in 1327, there is evidence that settlements have existed here since the Bronze age. 

It was the tin and copper trade that brought growth and prosperity to the town in the 14th century. Truro became a port town where the metals from surrounding mining towns were transported overseas. The town also became a central hub in Cornwall, and beyond, for trading in slate, copper, cloth and grain.


9. It is one of the smallest cities in the UK

With a recorded population of 18,766 in the last census, Truro is one of the smallest cities in the UK. It is, of course, Cornwall’s only city and achieved its city status in 1877. 

10. Truro has a rare three spire cathedral

Built between 1880 and 1910 by John Loughborough Pearson in a Gothic Revival design, Truro’s famous cathedral is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom featuring three spires.

Interestingly, The Alverton’s Great Hall, originally built to house an order of nuns, was designed by the same architect as Truro cathedral in 1883. 

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