A ceremony to erect a copper plaque in memory of Linda Holmes was held at the Boathouse on Friday, 16th August 2019. A large number of her friends from the Newlyn Archive were in attendance along with her daughter Sara and son Mark and their families, and Anne and David Badcock and Morvah Stubbings. Linda’s family had just returned from a trip on the lifeboat to scatter Linda’s ashes near the Low Lee Buoy. She had arranged this (a teacher as ever) so that the grandchildren would have the opportunity to go to sea. The four grandchildren Will, Nellie, Rachel and Joe took it in turns to a fix an engraved copper plate to the counter of the Boathouse which had been made by Malcolm Pilcher on copper provided by Michael Johnson. David Tredinnick was master of ceremony and spoke of Linda’s inspiring energy and enthusiasm for the archive. We will all miss her greatly.
Above: Members of the Laura Knight Society on the Cliff, Newlyn
The Newlyn Archive hosted a group of 32 members of Dame Laura Knight Society from Malvern, on Thursday 16/5/2019. The Society wanted to visit the houses of artists associated with Laura Knight and three stalwart Friends of the Archive (Ron Hogg, Andrew Gordon and Richard Cockram) led three walks that took off at 15 minute intervals from Wheal Betsy.
Wheal Betsy was an appropriate place to start. Built by Thomas and Caroline Gotch in 1910 the Knights had moved into the Gotches’ previous home at Trewarveneth when the latter moved to Wheal Betsy. Both families had come to Newlyn in 1906 and Phyllis Gotch and Laura Knight became close friends, being of a similar age. Pam Lomax made the introductions and was able to wet appetites by reading a letter written by Phyllis Gotch to Laura Knight in July 1906, which described a dinner that was held at Penzer House where Mrs Beer was landlady.
Left: Two groups cross on their walk to the Artists’ houses
Fortunately it was a down-hill walk. 13 Artists Houses were identified: Wheal Betsy, La Pietra, Malt House, Orchard Cottage, Mount Vernon, Boase Castle, Penzer House, Myrtle Cottage, Meadow Studios, North Corner, Rue de Beaux Arts, Joel and Keel Alley. From there, the groups walked to the Boathouse.
Ron, Andrew and Richard shared some of the knowledge we have in the West Cornwall Art Archive about artists’ houses. Richard reported ‘my group asked plenty of questions, some of which I could answer thanks to Ron’s notes’. Ron said that he had recounted Laura Knight’s story of coming home to Penzer and finding Alfred Munnings comfortably settled in one of the armchairs. Munnings had said, ‘Mrs Beer has let me a bedroom and says I can share your sitting room and have meals with you’. Apparently, Harold Knight was not amused!
In the Meadow all the groups were invited into the studio of artist Virginia ‘Ginnie’ Bounds, who is currently resident in Stanhope Forbes Anchor Studio, which once house the Forbes School of painting and is said to have the original anchor from Forbes famous painting outside.
The walk ended at the Admiralty Boathouse where Sean Perrott and Helen Burnham and their team of Friends were waiting. Brian Newton had made a short film with extracts from different films about Laura Knight held in the archive. Sean and Helen said that ‘the Boathouse became alive with the arrival of the first group of the Laura Knight Society members. More arrived later, some a little tired after their walk, but all interested in looking through the folders or enjoying the excellent film show. There were plenty of questions, not only relating to the collections, but also to the restoration of the Boathouse. A great many signed our Boathouse Diary. It was a very enjoyable morning.’
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.
Download the poster here
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!