Trevithick Day

Celebrating Camborne's Industrial Heritage

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Every year on the last Saturday in April, the streets of Camborne are filled with bal maidens and steam engines for the annual Trevithick Day celebrations. Trevithick Day is a free one-day festival celebrating the town's prominent industrial history and the life of local engineer Richard Trevithick.

Trevithick Statue - Camborne

Trevithick (1777-1833), invented  high-pressure steam engines which were used widely in local and international mines. The son of a mining captain and miner's daughter, Richard Trevithick was an extraordinarily prolific inventor who built what is widely considered to be the first automobile. He nicknamed his creation the 'Puffing Devil' and successfully tested it by going up Camborne Hill on Christmas Eve 1801, a journey that provided the inspiration for the well-known Cornish folk song 'Camborne Hill'.
Among numerous other things Richard Trevithick also invented the 'Cornish Boilers', which were installed in the existing pumping engines at Dolcoath Mine, more than doubling their efficiency.

Trevithick spent more than a decade exploring the mining potential of Peru and Costa Rica before dying, penniless, in 1833.

Trevithick Day, established 150 years after Richard Trevithick's death, kicks off at 10 am when around two hundred and fifty children from nine local schools, dressed as miners and bal maidens (women who operated machinery at the top of mines), parade through the streets in a dance accompanied by miniature steam engines and the local town band. Another procession at 2.30 pm, this time composed of a hundred adults dressed in Cornish black and gold, is followed by a steam parade that goes along Church Street and Trelawny Road before heading up Tehidy Road (Camborne Hill), in memory of the maiden voyage of the 'Puffing Devil.'

On Sunday a road run leaves Carn Brea leisure centre at 10am, taking the engines along Trevenson Moor, through Mount Whistle Road, down Roscroggan and into Camborne before heading onto the villages of Beacon, Troon and Four Lanes and ending at the Countryman pub.

Trevithick Day is a genuine and popular Cornish festival, attracting around thirty thousand visitors each year. Trevithick Day is held anually in the last week of April. For dates and further details visit the website at