Our World Heritage Site consists of the most authentic and historically significant concentrations of features within the Cornwall and west Devon mining landscapes, spanning the nominal date range 1700 to 1914.
The landscapes created here during this period are testament to the development and industrialisation of deep mining for metals, principally copper and tin. The specialised techniques and technologies associated with this were to have a profound impact both locally and globally during the nineteenth century.
In addition to the research links below, please click here to access our themed information sheets plus a mining bibliography and glossary.
List of research facilities covering Cornwall and Devon
Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record
The Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record (HER) is the comprehensive and definitive record of the historic environment of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. From quoits to castles, barrows to blowing houses, palstaves to pollen cores, the HER includes information on all aspects of the past from the earliest traces of human occupation up to the present day.
In addition to a database containing almost 60,000 records for archaeological and historical sites, the HER maintains collections of ground-based and aerial photographs, maps, plans and surveys, and extensive libraries of published and grey literature.
Cornwall Council Interactive Mapping
Use this interactive mapping website to view the World Heritage Site in your area, and see maps with overlays showing multi-use trails, rights of way, and designated features including Listed buildings and Scheduled Monuments.
You can find the area that you are interested in by entering a place, i.e. towns and villages, a street or postcode. To view, please click here.
Cornwall Record Office
The Cornwall Record Office, or CRO, is the public archive service for Cornwall. Its main purpose is to ensure that the historic records relating to the people, places and organisations of Cornwall are preserved for the future and made available for public consultation. These include a wide range of documents dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries, with thousands of maps, plans, photographs, parchment documents and volumes, which contain information on local families and their estates, businesses, schools and villages, together with evidence for maritime and mining activities.
The public are welcome to visit the CRO to consult the many and various documents in the collections, but it is advisable to make an appointment. To read more, please click here.
The Cornish Studies Library
The Cornish Studies Library is the only public library with professional librarians and staff who specialise solely in helping those who are studying Cornwall. It holds a wide ranging collection covering all subjects from mining to modern art, poetry to prehistory, and family history to farming.
All subjects are confined only by the Cornish connection. For more information, please click here.
Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum is located in the heart of the city of Truro. It is owned and managed by the Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC) which was created to provide lectures, facilities for study and a museum. The museum displays local material from prehistoric times to the present day including minerals from all over the world and one of the best collections of Cornish minerals in the country, including the largest known crystal of Liroconite in the world, displays of birds and animals in their natural habitats, a wide range of decorative and applied art including a large selection of ceramics, classical Greek and Roman artefacts and a permanent exhibition of paintings.
The RIC, the organisation that owns and manages the museum, is a learned society and a registered charity. Founded in 1818 as the Cornwall Literary and Philosophical Institution, the name was changed to the RIC upon being granted the patronage of George IV in 1821. For more than 150 years the Institution has assumed the role of publisher for authors and academics. This is viewed as an important and practical means of supporting local researchers as it ensures that their work is printed and thereby made more widely available. Many of these works have since become classics and it is a tradition that the Institution hopes to continue. To find out more, please click here.
Institute of Cornish Studies (ICS) [University of Exeter]
The ICS exists to support and foster academic research on Cornwall and to carry out research projects on Cornwall and its past. The ICS was formed in 1970 as a unique collaborative venture between Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter. For further details, please click here.
Flying Past is the culmination of a twelve year project mapping archaeological and historical sites visible on aerial photos in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The mapping team studied more than 50,000 aerial photos taken between 1926 and 2005. The project was commissioned and funded by English Heritage and the mapping was carried out by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall Council. To view, please click here.
Devon Historic Environment Record
The Devon Historic Environment Record (HER) is a comprehensive and dynamic resource of the historic environment of Devon. It provides information about archaeological sites, historic buildings, historic landscape and other heritage features within Devon. The baseline historic environment data contained in the HER underpins a wide range of work undertaken by the Historic Environment Team and its partners.
The HER is available for public benefit and use. The text and location of each monument record is available through Heritage Gateway. However, maps, aerial photographs, reports and other background information is available to view by visiting the HER office (by appointment).
For more information, please look at the web page: https://new.devon.gov.uk/historicenvironment/the-devon-historic-environment-record.
Devon Heritage Centre
The collections of both the Westcountry Studies Library, which were previously housed in the Castle Street section of Exeter Central Library, have been amalgamated with the Devon Record Office archive collections to form a fully integrated Devon Heritage Service. This is located at the former Devon Record Office premises at Great Moor House, Sowton Business Park, Exeter which has now been renamed Devon Heritage Centre.
To find out more, please click here.
Access to Archives
Access to Archives, or A2A, is part of the UK National Archives network. The A2A database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day. Records held at the Cornwall Record Office and Devon Heritage Centre can also be searched using this facility, please click here.
The Heritage Gateway website allows you to cross-search almost 60 resources, offering local and national information on historic sites and buildings, including images of Listed buildings - please click here. Further information on historic buildings is contained within local Historic Environment Records (HER) - please see: Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record (HER) and the Devon Historic Environment Record (HER).
The overall aim of the OASIS project is to provide an on line index to the mass of archaeological grey literature that has been produced as a result of the advent of large-scale developer funded fieldwork and a similar increase in fieldwork undertaken by volunteers.
The OASIS project brings together a number of strategic partners: the Archaeology Data Service, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales under the umbrella of the University of York. Please click here to access.
Mining History Network
A wide ranging and authoritative website for mining history sources and information - please click here. Maintained by Roger Burt, Professor Emeritus of Economic History at the University of Exeter.
Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain with a website containing over 100,000 pages of information and images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them. To access, please click here.
The pages on this link are designed to help you start to uncover your family’s history in Cornwall. There are many resources you can use on the internet, as well as places you can visit in Cornwall to help you. Some websites charge for access to information but you can access some of these for free in certain locations across Cornwall. Click here for more information.
The Cornwall Family History Society
The Cornwall Family History Society maintains a research library in Truro for members and the general public and offers a means of worldwide contact and exchange of information between members researching their own genealogy. Please click here to visit the society’s website.
Devon Family History Societies
The website for people wishing to explore Devon family histories - please click here.
Cornish Global Migration Programme
The Cornish Global Migration Programme, or CGMP, is located in Murdoch House, Redruth, Cornwall, and is the centre for recording and studying the remarkable diaspora of the Cornish People.
The CGMP maintains an extensive database of people born in Cornwall or descended from Cornish born ancestors who migrated from Cornwall (and including those that returned), in addition to many photos, copy documents, artefacts, pictures and family treasures.
To find out more, please click here.
Further learning opportunites and information
Learning at Geevor
Geevor is an incredible cross-curricular learning site, preserving world-class mining heritage. Get hands on with panning or try hand drilling during your visit... to find out more, just click here.
Tin and Fishes
The play Tin and Fishes was commissioned by the St Just Heritage Area Regeneration Project in partnership with the World Heritage Site to bring to life issues connected with the local mining industry.
Tin and Fishes is an original piece of theatre written by St Buryan-based writer Pauline Sheppard which premiered at Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, on 20 July 2006. It tells the story of changes in the lives of people in the former mining town of St Just from 1971.
The amateur stage performance rights to the play script are held by Cornwall Council which has made a web version of the script freely available for educational and community use, you can download the Tin and Fishes play script here, and print it following the instructions below.
Suggestions for how to print the play script
- Print landscape, starting with all of the even page numbers
- Feed the paper through the printer again to print all odd number pages on the reverse, saving paper by printing back to back
- Simply staple the pages together and you will have a book