Camborne Trevithick Day 2012

...honouring a local legend

Every last Saturday of April, the streets of Camborne come alive for Trevithick Day, a free one day festival celebrating the industrial heritage of the town’s most famous son, Richard Trevithick.

Trevithick built the first full-scale locomotive and is widely regarded as the godfather of the high-pressured steam engine. Every year Camborne, in Cornwall, is transformed by a sea of dancers, street entertainment, a children's fairground, vintage vehicles, stalls, miniature steam engines and much more, as people flock to honour Trevithick’s legacy.

Holidays in Cornwall

Now into its 28th year, Trevithick Day attracts around 30,000 visitors annually and brings the town of Camborne to a grinding halt, as all the main streets are closed to traffic and are filled with revellers.

A highlight of the day - held this on April 28th is the traditional Bal-maidens and Miners dance, led by Camborne Town Band and miniature steam engines, and supported by around 250 local school children, while the town band also lead up to 100 adults for the annual Trevithick Dance.

The Bal-maidens & Miners dance will leave Bassett Street at 10.15am, while the Trevithick Dance commences at 2.30pm from the same spot and follows the same route.

The ever-popular Steam Parade sees engines steaming along Church Street, down Wellington Road and Trelawney Road, then up (Camborne Hill) Tehidy Road.

Amid all that is a dazzling array of street entertainers such as jugglers, concerts performed by the Camborne Town Band as well as local male voice choirs, a flower festival, exhibitions and more.

Born in 1771, Camborne's Richard Trevithick is best remembered for his ‘Camborne road carriage’, AKA ‘The Puffin Devil’, which made successful passenger-carrying trials way back in 1801. He was also the first to successfully run a steam-powered engine pulling carriages on rails, in 1804.

His life passed without fanfare – indeed he died penniless – and it is only now that Trevithick’s work, influence and legacy is celebrated and honoured. 

Sean Cummins

March 2011


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015