Cornish Heritage In Penzance

Cornish Heritage In Penzance a new Cornish heritage centre opening in Penzance is something that Kowethas Ertach Kernow is very pleased to be able to share the news of. This will enable those who are working hard to share knowledge and educate more people about Cornish history, cultural heritage and identity through a base in Penzance. Covering the Penwith area of Cornwall this will add to other smaller community museums and archives and provide education through programmes of lectures and projects.

No doubt there will be interaction between the Kowethas Ertach Kernow base at Newquay Museum, with its own research facilities and encourage other Cornish communities to create their own heritage centres promoting Cornish identity and heritage.

The Cornish Heritage In Penzance centre has been organised and will be run by Bewnans Kernow and more information can be found on their website with more being added over time.

Press Release:

Penzance's Old Library to Become a New Cornish Heritage Venue

A new Cornish heritage and culture venue is to open in the former Penzance public library building. The historic building in Morrab Road is to become the home of 'Cornish Heritage in Penzance' from Spring this year, celebrating Cornish and local history and culture.  The intention is to build a vibrant programme of heritage activities for, and with, the community. 

Cornish Heritage in Penzance will be run by the charity Bewnans Kernow.  Director Jane Howells says, 'Cornwall has lots of stories to tell – big histories which had global impact, and smaller events from this area which need to be remembered.  Many people know about the past, through research or their own experience, and we want to preserve this information and to give people a platform to share it. We aim also to become a centre for research, uncovering new material and attracting academics to give talks and training.'

Cornish culture will feature strongly in activities. 'Our past projects have shown us that Cornish culture strengthens communities and brings people together," says Chairman Peter Sheldon, "and we hope to start a number of clubs including Cornish language and a Cornish wrestling club for young people'.

Trustee and Bard of Gorsedh Kernow Len Sheppard says, 'We are grateful to the organisations which have given us grants to get to this point, including support from Penzance Town Council to purchase equipment'.  A number of fundraising activities are planned throughout the year to enable the development of Cornish Heritage in Penzance and its work. 

The library building was built in 1889, as Penzance Mining and Science School and closed as a library in 2016 when the books were transferred to St John's Hall.  Since then, the building has been owned by Truro and Penwith College which has given the much-loved property a thorough renovation.  Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro College says, "Truro and Penwith College is delighted to welcome Cornish Heritage in Penzance to its facility in the old library in Morrab Road, Penzance. We hope that all the visitors to the centre will enjoy the marvellous array of exhibits and benefit from the knowledge and enthusiasm for the project shown by Jane Howells and her team."

This is a particularly relevant time to open a heritage centre. A recent report commissioned by Penzance Town Council identified that Penzance's 'heritage stories remain seriously under-developed' and the town has lost a number of museums including the Geological Museum, Trinity House and the Maritime Museum.

The intention is to develop Cornish Heritage in Penzance step-by-step into a fully operational Heritage Centre within three years, gradually increasing the activities.

Cornish Heritage in Penzance will hold two Heritage Open Days on Friday 28th April and Saturday 29th April. People are invited to come along, to hear the plans, help shape the programmes and find out how to be involved. For more information, to become part of the volunteering team or to make a donation please contact: or telephone 07984 358264. On social media, Cornish Heritage in Penzance can be found on Twitter - @CornishCentrePz and Facebook - Cornish Heritage in Penzance.

Extracted from the editions of Voice newspapers 5th April 2023

Bewnans Kernow - Voice 'Cornish Heritage in Penzance'