I’ve got some fun Cornish facts for you today!
Cornwall is just one of forty-seven counties throughout the UK that have paired local towns and cities with other neighbourhoods around the world. The trend first began in the 1940s when twinning (or tripleting, occasionally) was encouraged to promote trade relations as well as tourism.
The majority of these British towns are paired with places in Germany and France, however as research by Voucherbox points out, twinned towns are often very contrasted pairings, with some as far afield as the United States, Australia and Mexico. Plus, it appears that Cornish folk actually managed to visit many of these places and made such an impact that some still celebrate Cornish holidays.
Here’s everything you need to know about history of Cornish towns with surprising sister cities!
Bodmin: Bad Bederkesa, Le Ralecq-Kerhuon & Grass Valley, California
Considering Bodmin is one of our more major towns, it’s no surprise that it is twinned with quite a few cities around the world. Firstly, there’s Bad Bederkesa in Germany, a village situated approximately 20km northeast of Bremerhaven. Bodmin is also twinned with Le Ralecq-Kerhuon a commune located in Brittany, France.
By far the most exciting of Bodmin’s twinned towns though is Grass Valley, California the largest city in western Nevada County. Standing just 57 miles outside the state capital of Sacremento, Grass Valley can be dated right back to the California Gold Rush in the mid 1800s. Interestingly, many of the cities’ original settlers were tin miners from Cornwall who went to the USA hoping to offer their skills to American miners. To this day the city celebrates an annual Cornish Christmas and St Piran’s Day, plus pasties can be found in almost every Grass Valley restaurant – this is so crazy to me, but awesome of course!
Helston: Pleumeur-Bodou, Port Augusta & Sasso Marconi
Situated on the Lizard, Helston has been a town and civil parish for over 800 years. Like Bodmin, Helston is tripleted with three towns including Pleumeur-Bodou in France.
Helston is also paired with Port Augusta in South Australia, which lies on the coast of the Spencer Gulf. Most of this Australian city is made up of sprawling urban areas that run down the sides of the Augusta and Eyre Highways, though it is most famous for its railway junction.
Finally, Helston is also twinned with Sasso Marconi, an Italian town and commune in the province of Bologna. The town is named after Guglielmo Marconi, the radio pioneer who received the first transatlantic radio signal at our very own Poldhu Cove.
Redruth: Mineral Point, Plumergat & Real del Monte
My current hometown!
Originally a small market town overshadowed by its neighbouring cities, Redruth is actually in a stage of some pretty cool developments! Like almost every town in Cornwall, it is twinned with a commune in Brittany, though this one is named Plumergat, which I can actually pronounce – I think.
In addition to Plumergat, Redruth is also paired with Mineral Point, Wisconsin, the state’s third oldest city. After settlers arrived in 1872, the city swiftly became a leading lead and zinc-mining centre, attracting many Cornish miners looking for opportunities. To this day, many Cornish folks’ original homes still stand at the cities’ Pendarvis Historic Site.
The Cornish people also introduced something to Redruth’s other twin city Real del Monte in Mexico. Not only did we develop Mexican silver mining capabilities significantly and introduce them to pasties, we also introduced the Mexicans to football after Cornish miners played at Pachuca in 1900.
So there you have it: three Cornish towns with historical significance that transcends both time and location.
If you live in any of these Cornish towns I’d love to know if there are any obvious influences that may have come from your twinned cities – comment below! :)
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