New Premises for the Cornwall Record Office

New home for the Cornwall Records Office
New home for the Cornwall Records Office

On October 15, 2018 Richard Cockram, Ron Hogg and Brian Newton visited the new location to which the Cornwall Record Office will be transferring in 2019. The photo on the left shows the team with the building in the background

Kresen Kernow – or Cornwall Centre – will be an amazing new base for the Cornwall Archive, the Studies Library and the Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record when they are brought together for the first time in April next year. The historic Redruth Brewery building at the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site is being converted to house the world’s largest collection of manuscripts, books and documents related to Cornwall. When we visited in mid-October, we were confidently informed that building works would be completed by Christmas and the miles of shelves would be filled and ready to be accessed by April 2019 – it was hard to believe! Filling any gaps in our own Archive will be far quicker and easier. There will also be a cafe on site for weary researchers.
Ron Hogg

The site is that of the disused brewery at the lower end of Redruth and quite near the Tesco store. A high standard has been adopted for external finishes and materials used to compliment and blend in with the existing old buildings. Work inside continues apace and there are miles of cable and wiring looms hanging in great loops waiting to be run along their cable trays and connected up. There has been extensive thought given to the future requirements regarding storage capacity and two very large rooms arranged with high capacity travelling shelving installed. Extremely sensitive smoke alarms will be fitted, and the rooms have only one entrance and no windows; temperature and humidity control of a high standard is included. There is much to say but suffice to say here that we can be well assured that design and planning to a very high level has been applied throughout by the CRO team.

Richard Cockram

Open Day Report: ‘Families that were the Backbone of Newlyn’, 13 October 2018

Ex-committee member Denny Harvey looks at the display case containing Wallis family medals and memorabilia

On the weekend that brought us Storm Callum, the Archive held its final Open Day of 2018, representing 15 families with varying histories and occupations. There were 91 visitors, many with connections to the families displayed including a couple from Marazion who came in to shelter from the rain to find the wife in one of the photos on display.

The display began with the story of the voyage of The Mystery and the mariners who sailed to Australia in 1854 with lots to learn about the Kelynack and Badcock families. There was next an exploration of a Huguenot connection with the Rouffignac family. A wonderful depiction of the basket making Wallis family told the story of father and son including a lovely transcript of an original interview and photos of their craft which eventually came to an end in 1975. A colourful series of boards highlighted the artists from Lamorna, the Birch/Kerr connection, and a description of the place being ‘almost something unworldly’. This was followed by an inspiring display featuring the philanthropic Bolitho family and next the Batten brothers who played rugby for Newlyn. Finally the blue-eyed Harveys, described as tall and handsome, featuring photos of Annie, grandmother of our own Linda Holmes brought the exhibition to a close.
The raffle of the print of ‘Ring a Roses’ by Elizabeth Forbes drew many participants and the winner, drawn by Julian Drew, was Peter Morgan. Wonderful archive films were being shown, courtesy of Brian Newton, covering subjects from the Voyage of The Mystery to the comedian Jethro relating anecdotes about his own family.

There was a moment’s excitement when John Chapman and his colleague showed the flag they have made for the forthcoming Mayflower celebrations

Thanks to David and Diane Tredinnick who were selling books on local topics and the ‘Meet and Greet’ team : Helen Burnham, Judith Porter and Maryla Perrot for helping monitor visitor numbers and enabling the whole event to run smoothly. Thanks also to Pam Lomax and Sue Newton for assembling such a comprehensive and fascinating display. And thanks finally to all those who worked together to create a successful Open Day.

Report by Sue Roach

The Tidal Observatory Book Makes its Mark

Newlyn South Pier 1915-1918. Here there is a second lighthouse in place and next to it the Tidal Observatory which houses the simple mechanism that determines mean sea level and which has been the bench mark for determining all heights in the United Kingdom.

Historic England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) recently visited the Newlyn Tidal Observatory to make a preliminary assessment of the building’s case to be granted listed status. That assessment is now proceeding at the regional office of Historic England in Bristol and Richard Cockram has provided the office with a copy of the new Newlyn Archive book, the Newlyn Tidal Observatory, which we believe documents all the information needed to make the case for listed building status.

Historic England is a public body of the Government sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is tasked with protecting the historical environment of England by preserving and listing historic buildings and ancient monuments. We expected to receive a copy of the consultation report, detailing the history and description of the building. Once the report is circulated there is a 21 day period for consultation. Following this, the finalised report is submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who will make the final decision.
The Archive was very pleased that its book was proving to be so influential, yet the latest information is even more pleasing. We will shortly receive a copy of a revised consultation report; after discussing the case Historic England have decided to include the lighthouse and the part of the South Pier beneath the observatory in the assessment. After all, the stilling well in the pier is ‘where the magic happens’!

Open Day, October 13 2018: Families that were the Backbone of the Town.

The Basket Maker, June Hicks

It has been very difficult to select material to feature in this Newlyn Archive Open Day Exhibition because so many families have been the backbone of our towns, Newlyn and Lamorna. We have selected material from large collections that have been given to the archive about particular families. Thanks go to the donors of this material.
Alongside the exhibition there will be our collection of family files for you to look at and our family expert Diane Donohue to consult. You can also see the remarkable film sequences that Brian Newton has put together for this occasion about family life and community. Roger Nowel will feature along with the Le Grice family, a wedding in the Cornish language, and much more. You can also listen to some of the tapes we have in the archive made by people featured in the Exhibition. All this is possible because of the new equipment that the archive has been able to purchase through the generosity of the Cooperative Society who have raised a remarkable £2000+ for us

At the top, we show June Hicks’ lovely picture of the basket maker because the Wallis Family of basket makers are one the families we have chosen to feature in the exhibition. Basket making was an important local industry until modern technologies replaced it in the 20th century.
A second family is the Batten family. There were five generations of Benjamin Green Battens. Originally, they were fishermen but later writers and poets. We have focused on Benjamin Green Batten (1890-1941) who was one of the crew of the Newlyn long-liner PZ 87 Rosebud that sailed to Westminster with a petition against the demolition of Newlyn houses, and died at sea in 1941, and also on his remarkable wife Phillis Glasson Richards (1891-1974).

The Lamorna Board highlights the Law and Humphrey families. Penny Law and her brother, the artist, Denys Law, regularly holidayed in Lamorna when they were children. When Penny was a young woman staying at the Green Bungalow, below the Lamorna Mill, she met Morgan Humphrey, Landlord of the Wink, and in 1936 they were married. As a child, their daughter Judy often visited Flagstaff Cottage where she was presented with three water-colour miniatures for her dolls’ house by Lamorna Birch. You can see copies of these at the Exhibition.

Finally we have the family links to those who sailed on the Mystery to Australia in 1854. The families are: Kelynack, Badcock, and Nicholls, and the families Rouffignac, Carter, Peake, Cotton and Harvey who interconnect by marriage and through the generations. Their descendants are with us today. The Captain of the Mystery was a Master Mariner and the trades of some of the interconnecting families show other mariners, boat builders and fishermen. There is also a connection with the artist Henry Scott Tuke in his paintings.

Please download the poster for the exhibition:

October 2018 – poster

Sylvia Ruth Simpson MBE

  Ruth Simpson welcoming Elizabeth Bolitho to the Open Day ‘Fishing at Newlyn’, 11th February 2010 We are very sad to announce the death of Ruth Simpson, MBE, who was largely responsible for the formation of the Newlyn Archive. Having served as Penzance Mayor for the year 2002-2003, Ruth was asked to serve as chairman of the Newlyn Environment Group, part of the Newlyn Fishing Industry Forum. It was from this group that the Newlyn Archive grew. As chairman of the Environment Group Ruth led the project to map the port which led to the publication of a popular booklet, ‘Newlyn’s Water’, edited by Pamela Lomax and published in 2007. At the end of the project there was some original documentation about water features in Newlyn and a pot of unspent money. The decision was taken to establish a Newlyn Archive, and the money was spent on a laptop, software and other items. Pam Lomax was elected honorary archivist and a committee was elected. Continue reading “Sylvia Ruth Simpson MBE”

Newlyn Fish Festival 2018

It was fitting that one-time Ordnance Survey man Ray Lloyd represented the Newlyn Fish Festival in 2018, the year the festival was cancelled due to major renovation work in the harbour. Ray decided he would represent the Fish Festival so that its record should remain unbroken since it started, and the Harbour master sympathised and gave Ray the spot to erect his stall.           Continue reading “Newlyn Fish Festival 2018”