Truro’s importance grew when it became one of Cornwall’s four Stannary Towns, where tin was checked and taxed before export. Grain, slate and woollen cloth were also exported, but it was tin and copper that made Truro’s merchants rich.
Coal came from Wales, timber from Ireland and the Baltic and, when wars allowed, fruit and wine from France and Spain.
More coal and timber was needed as mining improved, with timber being rafted up into ‘ponds’ until quite recently. Truro’s streets were among the first lit from gasworks on influential Sir William Lemon’s Quay. Until more modern works that stood briefly on Newham, coal to make gas was for years Truro’s biggest import.
The picture to the right shows a man working on the timber ponds.