Truro is a city and civil parish in Cornwall, England, UK. The city is the centre for administration, leisure and retail in Cornwall, with a population recorded in the 2001 census of 17,431. Truro urban statistical area, which includes parts of surrounding parishes, has a 2001 census population of 20,920. It is the only city in the county, and the most southern city in Mainland Great Britain. People from Truro are known as Truronians.
Truro initially grew as an important centre of trade from its port and then as a stannary town for the mining industry. The city is well known for its cathedral (completed in 1910), cobbled streets, open spaces and Georgian architecture. Places of interest include the Royal Cornwall Museum, the Hall for Cornwall, Cornwall's Courts of Justice and Cornwall Council.
The earliest records and archaeological findings of a permanent settlement in the Truro area originate from Norman times . A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who was granted land in Cornwall for his services to the court, including the area surrounding the confluence of the two rivers. He planted the town in the shadow of the castle and awarded it borough status to further economic activity. (The castle has long since gone.)
By the start of the 14th century Truro was an important port, thanks firstly to its inland location away from invaders and its prosperity from the fishing industry, but also to its new role as one of Cornwall's stannary towns for the official assaying and stamping of locally-produced tin and copper in Cornish mines. However, the Black Death soon arrived and with it, a trade recession, resulting in a mass exodus of the population and, as such the town was left in a very neglected state.
Trade returned to Truro with help from the government and the town was very prosperous during the Tudor period. Self-governance was awarded in 1589 by the granting of a new charter by Elizabeth I , which gave Truro an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.
During the Civil War in the 17th century, Truro raised a sizable force to fight for the King and a royalist mint was set up in the town. However, defeat to the Parliamentary troops came in 1646 and the mint was moved to Exeter. Further disheartenment came later in the century when Falmouth was awarded its own charter giving it rights to its harbour, starting a long rivalry between the two towns. The dispute was eventually settled in 1709 with control of the River Fal being divided between Truro and Falmouth. The arms of the city of Truro are Gu. the base wavy of six Arg. and Az. thereon an ancient ship of three masts under sail on each topmast a banner of St George, on the waves in base two fishes of the second.
Truro's importance increased later in the 19th century and it had its own iron smelting works, potteries, and tanneries. The Great Western Railway arrived in Truro in the 1860s with a direct line from London Paddington, and the Bishopric of Truro bill was passed in 1876 which gave the town a bishop, then a cathedral. The next year Queen Victoria granted Truro city status.
The start of the 20th century saw the decline of the mining industry, however the city remained prosperous as its previous role as a market town shifted to being the administrative and commercial centre of Cornwall, and saw substantial development. Today, Truro continues its role as the retail centre of Cornwall but, like many other cities, faces concerns over the disappearance of many of its renowned speciality shops for national chain stores, the eroding of its identity, and also over how to accommodate future expected growth in the 21st century.