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The Buttermarket

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Redruth TR15 2BT

Website: Redruth Revival

Facebook: Redruth Revival

The Buttermarket Redruth

The history of the Buttermarket in Redruth ranges across decades and eras, making it a focal point of Cornish history.

In 1791, Redruth had the largest market in Cornwall, but in 1795, it demolished its existing timber-framed and thatched building because it obstructed traffic. Local landowner Sir Francis Basset (1757-1835) instigated the construction of Redruth’s new market in 1825-26.

The name ‘Buttermarket’ first appeared in 1884; however, it never functioned as a true butter market for the sale of dairy goods. Instead, it focused on fish, meat (particularly pork), and shoes. Many contemporaries noted that this represented a great improvement in terms of space and increased trade.

The new two-storey market house featured an open ground floor facing onto a courtyard with colonnades to its north, housing butchers’ stalls, while the upper floor served for meetings. The ‘loggia’ style, though uncommon in Cornwall, was popular for market buildings in the early-19th century.

 

At the end of the 19th century demand for the market began to decline. Butcher’s shops opened in the town diverting some of the pork trade away from the market. It also suffered from competition by high street shops in the post-war years, and although it remained important to farmers and butchers into the 1950s, the meat market ceased trading in 1958.

The Present Day

Fire destroyed the meat market in 1982, and it was rebuilt as a shopping arcade in 2001. In 2017, the Redruth Revival Community Interest Company (CIC) bought the Buttermarket buildings. They also acquired the Mining Exchange, along side the Wheal Peevor Purser’s Office in 2021.

We’re delighted that the heritage value for Redruth of the whole Buttermarket site has been recognised by this designation. The Buttermarket is a much-loved part of our town centre, but it’s been getting steadily more run-down for years – the Redruth High Streets Heritage Action Zone gives us a once-in-a-generation chance to bring it back to its former glory and fill it again with a buzz of small traders, business start-ups, cafes and workspaces. We believe this is the way forward for our town centres in the 21st century.

Ross Williams – Redruth Revival Community Interest Company

This project seeks to restore and refurbish the Buttermarket, located in one of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones, by creating a thriving economic, cultural and community hub at the heart of the town, with workspace and an active programme of markets and entertainment.

The refurbishment of the Buttermarket is a wonderful example of how older buildings can be made more sustainable with renewable energy sources and passive design. Once restored, the complex will become an energy-efficient hub, benefitting both the Redruth community and the environment.

 

Discover move exciting areas of Redruth on of Discover Page, or more about its history, like St Rumon’s Gardens
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