Saturday, 7 April 2012

Camborne's Trevithick Day

Don't miss this year's Trevithick Day at Camborne; down in Cornwall's dark depths the streets come alive! It's a great day out: a grand procession of traction engines and vintage vehicles, with street entertainment, a market, parades of dancing, together with the odd quiet half. Trevithick Day's a real celebration of the Camborne area's industrial heritage.

Richard Trevithick was born in nearby Illogan, where his father ran a tin mine, in 1771. As a youngster he became fascinated by the engineering side of mining. During his career, Richard pioneered the introduction of high-pressure steam engines to the mining process, and vastly improved the means of pumping unwanted water from the mine-shafts' lower reaches.

Richard’s mind was never still. His ideas ranged from a self-powered road vehicle, and a steam railway engine, to schemes for wreck salvage. He also looked at land reclamation, mechanical refrigeration, agricultural machinery, even tunnelling under the Thames. He never made much money, but he seems to have had a really great time.

Today we remember Trevithick particularly through his Puffing Devil engine. On Christmas Eve 1801 he made a short journey up Camborne Hill with his hissing, clanking machine, carrying a group of friends. The Puffing Devil was one of the world's first passenger-carrying self-propelled vehicles. The episode gave rise to the old Cornish song titled (you've guessed it) 'Going Up Camborne Hill'. Today, during the festivities a replica Devil can be seen in steam while the town has a fine statue of Richard, holding a model of his invention.

This year, Trevithick Day's on Saturday 28 April; the fun begins during mid-morning. Enjoy!

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