When is a city hall, a city hall?

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When is a city hall, a city hall?

Truro City Hall has seen all sort of stories in it’s long lifetime...

The building houses Hall For Cornwall (Cornwall’s largest theatre), 2 cafes, a restaurant, Truro Tourist Information office, rooms for hire, and regular flea markets in the grand foyer. In it’s past it’s also been a cinema, skating rink and a rifle range! And that’s just the social stuff. The Boscawen Street side of the building is also an important home to Truro City Council, the Mayors parlour, and Cornwall’s Coroners Court.

A theatre and a court in the same building may seem a bit strange, but the building has always had many uses and different things happening in the spaces. When our building opened in 1847 it included a large market, courtrooms and council rooms, a police station and cells, and even a space for the town’s fire engine! This trend for multiple uses can be traced back to two earlier buildings. You can still see an original motto-stone from Truro’s earlier market, under the Boscawen arches.

[caption id="attachment_4319" align="alignnone" width="580"] TRURO, ENGLAND - JUNE 01 2022: Launch of the Geography App featuring composer Graham Fitkin and Producer Michael White at the Hall for Cornwall, photographed for the HfC by Hugh Hastings[/caption]

Jenkin Daniels Mayor

Who seeks to find eternal treasure

must use no guile in weight or measure


It was common to house all of a town’s civic needs in one place. Somewhere to buy and trade essentials such as food and livestock, a place where justice, law and governance happened, and spaces for learning, debating, meeting and gathering.

All of these uses were essential to the marketplace. Weights and measures were very important - if you bought food you wanted to know you were getting the weight that you paid for. With the police station and court in the same building, you could be assured someone was checking things were fair and taking action when they discovered cheating.

West Briton newspaper article, Friday 2 JUNE 1854

‘SHORT WEIGHTS AND MEASURES - Many complaints having been made by inhabitants of Truro against butchers and others in the market, for using short weights and measures, the magistrates, on Saturday last, sent the Inspector round the market and the result was that G. PEARCE and T. WHETTER, two butchers, were summoned, Pearce's beam having been found an ounce and a half out of balance, and Whetter's an ounce and a quarter. They both pleaded guilty of the charge, and were fined 1s. and expenses, the magistrates expressing their determination to inflict the full penalty if the offence were repeated. Six other summonses have been issued against butchers and potatoe sellers for using short measures. It is hope that this will have the effect of repressing these practices.’

Photo Courtesy of Jocye Rowe.


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