Murdoch House was the home of William Murdoch – one of the most innovative inventors and engineers in history.
Who is Mr Murdoch?
William Murdoch, the Inventor, is famed for the innovation of the use of coal gas in lighting as a replacement for oil and tallow. In September 1779 Murdoch was sent to Redruth in Cornwall as a senior engine erector, responsible for the erection, maintenance & repair of Boulton & Watt engines. These were used for pumping water out of the Cornish Tin mines, and therefore the efficiency and efficacy of the engines was an important factor in the amount of tin, and money, which could be extracted from a mine.
Fast forward a few hundred years to a whole day dedicated to the legacy of his innovation but also all that makes Redruth great- past and present.
Mr Murdoch lived here between 1782 and 1798 and was the house was the first building in the world to be lit by gas lighting. He was also very interested in the possibilities of steam and he built models of a prototype steam carriage. In 1784, he demonstrated the model in the living room at Murdoch House – the very first example of a machine moving under its own power in Great Britain and he may even have built a full size version which he tested on the open road; terrifying some locals in the process.
Nowadays, Murdoch House is available for community events and gatherings and also houses the Cornish Global Migration Programme. They have a database containing biographical details of many thousands of Cornish migrants and can provide a link with Cornish ancestors worldwide. There is also an archive of literature, documents and artefacts which help to explain the social and economic history of the Cornish Diaspora. Visitors are welcome.
Every Friday it opens to the public as a Café so come along for a cuppa and a slice of home-made cake or one of their famous cheese scones! You can also have a look at their lovely new exhibition.