On the first sunny day of Spring 60 Friends of the Archive and invited guests, varying in age from eight to eighty, enjoyed a rare visit to the Tidal Observatory on the South Pier. Four visits took place on the day, with only three or four people allowed inside at any one time, since this Grade II listed building is still fulfilling a vital scientific purpose after nearly 100 years of operation.
Originally built in 1915, and equipped to establish Mean Sea Level, the Observatory now provides one of the longest continuous records of sea levels in the world, essential for studies of climate change.
For much of its existence the Observatory was run and maintained by local people, though nowadays it is automatic. For the visitors, seeing the Observatory for themselves was a perfect complement to reading about it in the book published last year. An added bonus was that the tour guides were Richard Cockram and Ron Hogg, two of the authors of the book.
Before the South Pier was built the area around Green Slip was used by the local boatbuilders and shipwrights such as Francis Hitchen. The two buildings at the bottom of the slip were known as the upper boathouse and the lower boathouse. In due course the upper and lower boathouse were used by the renowned sail maker JH Francis.
Figure: 34 PZ in front of old boathouse on the Green Slip before the South Pier was built
The following letter to the editor of the Cornishman says it all.
Sir, − Reading your paper I see a lot of old Cornish words and amongst them the ‘timmy noggy’ of a Mount’s Bay boat; a piece of wood with notches in it, for the ‘vargouard’ to rest on. This vargouard has been done without in some boats these 33 years. The boat New Tar, of Newlyn belonging to Mr Trahair of Newlyn, was the first boat that had a sail cut by JH Francis, sail-maker. Mr JH Francis was the sail-maker who cut the first lug-sail, to set without a vargouard, in Mount’s Bay. Cornishmsn, June 5, 1879.
It was with great sadness that Patrons of St Peters Players learned that the motion ‘The St Peter’s Players, Newlyn be formally disbanded’ was carried at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 15 August 2018. The Newlyn Archive contains the papers, programmes and photos that document the history of this remarkable group which has entertained us for over 50 years. The players’ very generous donation of almost £500 to the Archive will go to editing a book about the Players.
We asked Diane Tredinnick to remember a particularly remarkable play and she chose ‘My Three Angels’ in which Goff Johns made his directorial debut.
The numbers 4707, 6817 and 3011 were not attached to heavenly angels but to three likeable Rogues (Adam Bowkett, David Tredinnick, and Peter Byrne) incarcerated in a French penal colony in the early 1900s!
The Archive has re-published with some corrections and minor alterations its very successful first publication, Newlyn at War. The price has risen since the first edition, but it is still only £8 and would make a wonderful Christmas present in this year devoted to remembering the horrors of war.
A new picture in the book shows Sid and Bert Perrott with Mary and Amy Hichens on Newlyn Green Beach with the barbed wire fence of wartime clearly visible behind. Seymour Cooke who joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and helped construct the beach defences, claimed that the longest run of barbed wire was from Newlyn Harbour to Marazion.
On Saturday 24 November 2018 the Community Fund Team from our local Co-op invited members of the Archive to join them to celebrate receiving the final payment raised for the Archive. This amount is the Archive’s share of the fund sponsored by the Co-op. The money is raised by the Co-op giving 1% of the amount their members spend.
The Archive very much appreciates having been chosen as a beneficiary of the fund. The final amount is a remarkable £9,639.80. The money is being used to enable us to share our resources with the local community.
On Wednesday 21st November 2018, the Newlyn Archive hosted a group of students from Cape Cornwall School along with their teachers and the author JR Carpenter. They came as part of the Dark Sky Bright Stars project organized by Joanna Mays to learn about researching topics, such as navigation, and to experience the workings of an Archive
After lunch at Trinity and a short film about the Mystery projected by Brian Newton, the students walked down the hill to the Boathouse where Ron Hogg showed them ‘the anchor fouled’, the Admiralty symbol carved in stone at the corner of the Boathouse. Inside the Boathouse, Sue Newton pointed out different aspects of the building and briefly explained how an archive operates. Pam Lomax had prepared two displays of archive material, one to show the role of the Boathouse when it housed the rocket wagon and the other to illustrate the route the Mystery took via Cape Town to Melbourne.
After the introduction, the students were divided into two groups. Ron Hogg explained how the rocket system had worked and Peter Morgan explained about navigation and how the Mystery had made its journey navigating by the stars. The students seemed totally engaged and were fascinated by some of the old documents they were shown. They surprised their tutors by the detailed knowledge they had about some of the events, such as shipwrecks.
‘Having been married to a primary school teacher for over 40 years’, Peter Morgan said, ‘I feel well qualified to judge the behaviour of primary school children, and the children from Cape Cornwall must be amongst the best behaved that I have ever met. Well ordered, well dressed, well behaved and with sensible questions and interested attention to their subject. I was impressed, and their teachers and families can be very proud of them.’