More than £30,000 has been awarded to a Redruth charity to give one of the town’s historic buildings a facelift.

Redruth 2000 has been awarded £34,000 from Historic England’s Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), Cornwall Council and Redruth Town Council to start the redevelopment and refurbishment of Murdoch House in Cross Street. 

The Grade II listed building was once home to the Scottish inventor and adopted son of Redruth, William Murdoch.

While living in the town, Murdoch worked on some of his most famous inventions, including the Murdoch Flyer, the first working model of a steam locomotive, which paved the way for Richard Trevithick’s high pressure steam engine and eventually Stephenson’s Rocket. 

One of his key ideas was the application of gas lighting, derived from heating coal; Murdoch House was the first domestic house in the world to be lit by gas. 

Currently the building is hired out to groups and used for coffee mornings and meetings, including classes for adults wanting to learn about things like current technology. Every June, Redruth celebrates Murdoch Day and the modernisation project is aimed at creating a permanent celebration of his life and inventions.

Colin Saxton, vice-chairman of the charity, said it had a long-held ambition to retell the story of William Murdoch, to celebrate his achievements and introduce his accomplishments to a wider audience.