Leisure, sport and tourism

A large number of clubs and societies have been set up in Cornwall over the years, and Kresen Kernow looks after records connected to many of these, from Young Farmers’ Clubs to Women’s Institutes, music festivals, amateur dramatic organisations and many more. We also hold records connected to many different sports, including tennis, cricket and bowls. Council records contain details of local swimming pools and parks.

Our local newspaper collection is an excellent source of information on local events, activities and adverts.  The collection of press photographer George Ellis contains thousands of pictures of local fetes and fairs, meetings and celebrations – including weddings. Magazines and newsletters, printed pamphlets and programmes can all give an insight into leisure pursuits in Cornwall. Just try a key word search (e.g. tennis, birthday, theatre) in our catalogues.

Tourism is an enduring and thriving industry in Cornwall. Opened up by the arrival of the railway, Cornwall has drawn visitors for its beautiful scenery, intriguing folklore and delicious food. Among our archives we have records from hotels and restaurants, as well as travel diaries, guides and much more to entice visitors to Cornwall. We also have pictures, maps, plans, guides, books and miscellaneous documents connected to some of Cornwall’s best known tourist attractions, such as The Eden Project and St Michael’s Mount.

Additional information on leisure and tourism themes can be found by reading our Art, literature and theatre, Cornish language and culture, and Maritime collections guides.

Key search terms: individual sports or pastimes (e.g. tennis, golf, knitting), holidays, beach, travel, formats such as postcards or photographs, club or group names, tourism, tourist, game, hotel, seaside

Key collections: CC/44, CC/38 (Cornwall Council Tourism Committee and Tourist Board)

Recommended reads:  Sportsmen of Cornwall by Michael George, 1986 ; The first hundred years: the story of rugby football in Cornwall by Tom Salmon, 1983; From Pilgrimage to Package Tour by June Palmer, 1992; we also hold a wide variety of travel guides for places across Cornwall.

Watch: you can watch videos about many items in our collections, including a short documentary about gig-rowing, on our YouTube channel.