Cornwall LivingIssue #97

Take a tour through time

Extensive collections reveal a fascinating insight into times gone by, at Helstonís Cornish Museum of Life.

If you’re staying near Helston, you’re well set to discover the best that Cornwall has to offer. Indeed, just a short scoot up the coast, in the market town of Helston, you’ll find the Museum of Cornish Life, offering a fascinating insight into the area’s rich tapestry of history and heritage.

The building was originally designed as the town’s market house in 1837, with two separate buildings – one for butter and eggs, the other for the meat market. Today, it retains the original sloping floor, which adds to the authenticity of experience as you wander back in time to the Cornish days of yore.

In front of the museum is a cannon, salvaged from the wreck of the frigate HMS Anson, which foundered off Loe Bar in 1807. Around 100 sailors’ lives were lost in the disaster, inspiring Henry Trengrouse to invent the ‘Rocket’ lifesaving apparatus, which can be found inside the museum.

Head inside and you’ll immediately find that the museum contains a vast social history collection. Dating from the 18th to the 20th century, the range of objects covers agriculture, local trades and industries, as well as law and order, town history, home life, toys, sporting equipment, gardening, transport and health and leisure activities. Indeed, the sporting display features the famous Bob Fitzsimmons who, heralding from Helston, made boxing history as the sport’s first three-division world champion. The Victorian Classroom, meanwhile, provides a fascinating (and, indeed, eye opening!) insight for children, to see what life was like for pupils all those years ago.

The museum boasts the best costume collections of the south west, also offering a regular programme of temporary exhibitions, meaning that there’s usually something new to be found every time you visit. With a team that firmly believes in learning as a life-long process, if you’re staying in or near Helston and hoping to brush up on your Cornish history, a trip to Helston’s Museum of Cornish Life comes highly recommended.


Museum of Cornish Life

01326 564027