Camborne, October 1873.
Disparities of wealth. Overcrowding. Economic uncertainty. Unemployment on the rise. Low life-expectancy. High infant mortality. Poor sanitation, housing, and diet. Methodists and prostitutes. Dangerous, life-threatening working conditions in the mines. Disease. Low wages. Illiteracy. Hard men and hard women, living hard lives. Insular, proud, tight-lipped miners, identifying with their own, mistrustful of outsiders. Mansions and slums. Taverns and chapels. Hard drinkers and temperance unions. Hellfire preachers and fistfights.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.
IN OCTOBER 1873 THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FOUGHT A PITCHED STREET BATTLE AGAINST CAMBORNE’S HATED POLICE FORCE.
THIS IS THE TRUE STORY.
Welcome to The Camborne Riots of 1873.
It’s not in any tourist guide. It’s only the subject of a few articles. There’s no books. There’s no photographs. There’s no official memorial. The names are forgotten.
BUT The events in Camborne of October 1873 remain one of the greatest shows of defiance by Cornish miners in history.
YES, THE RIOTS ARE RARELY RECALLED NOWADAYS. BUT…
CAMBORNE’S POLICE FORCE WAS FORCIBLY REMOVED.
NO RIOTER WAS EVER CONVICTED.
THE ARMY WAS MOBILISED TO QUELL THE INSURRECTION.
THE HOME SECRETARY WAS KEPT INFORMED.
THE GRAND JURY WAS ADDRESSED.
THE RIOTS WERE REPORTED IN THE NATIONAL PRESS: The Morning Post, October 8, 1873 (p6), 9th (p2), & 13th (p4).
THE RIOTS WERE EVEN REPORTED IN AUSTRALIA: the South Australian Observer, December 26, 1873.
This website tells the whole bloody tale, based on the only remaining evidence: the newspaper reports.
(Image of Trelowarren Street, Camborne, 1870s. Reproduced by kind permission of David Thomas, Kresen Kernow.)