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Open Water Conduit on Godolphin Road

A Grade II Listed Building in Helston, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.104 / 50°6'14"N

Longitude: -5.2693 / 5°16'9"W

OS Eastings: 166313

OS Northings: 27776

OS Grid: SW663277

Mapcode National: GBR Z1.0JXG

Mapcode Global: VH133.MN54

Entry Name: Open Water Conduit on Godolphin Road

Listing Date: 17 July 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409609

Location: Helston, Cornwall, TR13

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Helston

Built-Up Area: Helston

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Helston

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Part of an extensive system of conduits fed from a leat from the river Cober.


MATERIALS: dressed and plain granite revetments and bridges set at pavement level. Granite, shale or cobbled channel base. Iron grates.

PLAN & FORM: the topography of the town is key in the arrangement of the extensive system, which is fed from the diverted River Cober approximately 2km to the North, and feeds back into it to the south of the town. The majority of the system is below ground; only on the main roads through the centre are the channels exposed.

The conduit runs the length of Godolphin Road along the south side; it has narrow, tall revetment blocks and there are several granite and concrete bridges giving vehicular access to adjacent driveways. The water is diverted beneath the road to join the conduit in Penrose Road. The Godolphin Road conduit is characterised by its greater width and depth due to its position near the principal inlet, and by its generally plain revetments, and pavements which are in places built up above the level of the road.


The system of conduits at Helston is likely to date from the early C19, at a time when the town was still enjoying the prosperity brought by its position as a stannary town and an important centre for the local tin mining industry. The population of Helston rose from 2250 in 1801 to 3500 in 1841, but there was little expansion in the overall extent of the town, with the greater numbers being accommodated by small-scale infill housing. One result of the population boom was a major investment in public sanitation. There is a lack of documentary evidence regarding the inception of the conduits, but it is thought that these channels, known locally as 'kennels', were installed at this time, and may have replaced an earlier, less sophisticated system.

The conduits have undergone much repair over the years, involving the replacement and rearrangement of significant portions of their fabric, and the resurfacing of some elements. Repairs generally have used appropriate materials and stylistic finishes. Additionally, parts of the system have been covered over to provide wider roads, notably in Meneage Street. However, the channels remain extant beneath the road covering and continue to carry water.

Godolphin Road is the main route into the town from the north-east, with much C19 residential development.

Reasons for Listing

The system of conduits in Helston is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early date: an early example of a sanitation system laid out in the first part of the C19;
* Design interest: substantial sections have good quality detailing and construction of dressed granite;
* Intactness: though much renewed and replaced, the system retains its overall character and form;
* Group value and setting: the conduits are an integral part of the streetscape of Helston contributing significantly to the character of the town, together with the numerous listed buildings which line the streets.

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