The Town of Penzance


Penzance records the history and geology of both the town and the surrounding district of Penwith, and the traditional industries of farming, fishing and mining which it presents to both residents and the visitors of today through a total of eleven Museums in and around the town. Notable amongst these is the Penlee House Gallery & Museum in the centre of Penzance which has extensive displays of local archaeological artifacts and a range of exhibits illustrating the life and social history of West Cornwall.

A unique national collection displaying the importance and development of West Cornwall as a key part of the international telecommunications network is presented at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. This was the historic site of the world's first direct telegraph link (from the UK to Australia and the Far East). Modern digital communications and many computer techniques evolved directly from electromechanical regenerator equipment developed and used at Porthcurno in the 1920s. The museum is of particular interest to students of electronics, data communications, computing, and the history of science. It offers unparalleled opportunities to actually use and appraise historic equipment and to devise educational resource material and projects.

The mining history of West Cornwall is preserved at the Geevor Mining Museum, near St Just where displays record the development of the mineral mining industry - one of major traditional industries of West Cornwall. Since its closure as a working mine in 1991, the public has been able to tour both the surface and underground workings. At the nearby Levant Mine on the cliff-top overlooking the sea, the original Beam Steam Engine has been restored to steam power and is the oldest working beam engine in Cornwall.