The fascinating past of one of Cornwall’s most iconic buildings is being brought to life through a new digital archive.

People can now delve into an online collection of more than 800 artefacts, which document the history of Hall for Cornwall in Truro. The archive and will be launched during a day of family-friendly activities at the Hall on St Piran’s Day, March 5.

Posters, handbills, rare photographs, drawings, oral histories, films, animations, plus historical objects, including a set of leg irons and a mid-20th century mayoral ruff, are all included in the online archive. It is part of the Hall’s History & Heritage project, Revealing City Hall, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Each item helps to tell the story of a 175-year-old building that has been used as cattle market, rifle range, skating rink, and jail in its past lives before becoming the leading performing arts venue it is today, following a three-year £26m transformation.

Hall for Cornwall’s online heritage site will be launched on St Pirans Day (Saturday, March 5), against a backdrop of creative workshops and activities taking place from 11am to 6pm.

The Mayor and Truro’s Town Crier will be at the event, which will include animations, spoken word, theatre and dance performances.

One of the key highlights will be a self-guided story trail, using 10, 30cm-wide bronze, copper and porcelain works of art embedded into the floor of the Hall for Cornwall building. Each one has its own unique QR code to allow visitors to find out more about these ‘storypoints’.

Helen Tiplady, deputy creative director at Hall for Cornwall, said: “We’re very much looking forward to sharing our history with as many people as possible.


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“This incredible digital collection brings the stories within these walls alive. It’s a unique way for the public to be able to explore the fabric and history of this much-loved building and we hope people will come along to our range of fun activities on Saturday March 5th and find out more.”

The Hall for Cornwall heritage archive includes many items that have been hidden for decades, as well as personal testimonies from locals who worked in the building - or had a life changing moment there.

In one account, Josie Hockings describes how she met her future husband at a City Hall dance in 1958 when she was 16-years-old.

In the document, called Memories of Courting at City Hall, Josie says: “…this gorgeous man came in through the door of City Hall and later in the evening, when he asked me if I wanted to dance, I said ‘do I?’ Our first dance was a quickstep. He was tall, and handsome too. We courted for three years before I married him.”

Other pieces include a photograph of a group of young dancers in Mevagissey taking part in the community campaign in the early 1990s, calling for a permanent performing arts venue in Cornwall. Hall for Cornwall opened its doors a few years later in 1997.

Research for the Hall for Cornwall heritage collection has been conducted at local and national archives and picture libraries, including Kresen Kernow and the Royal Cornwall Museum.

The collection – which has been three years in the making - continues to grow and has been made possible thanks to a generous award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.