Archive benefits from Co-op funding

Friends of the Archive in the Penzance Co-op. Photo by Christopher Laughton

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.

Cape Cornwall School Visit on Wednesday 21st November 2018

Newlyn Archive - Cape Cornwall school vist to the Boathouse
Newlyn Archive - Cape Cornwall school vist to the Boathouse
Above: Ron Hogg talked about how rescues were made by establishing a Breeches Buoy rescue system. Photo by Christopher Laughton

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.

Peter Morgan talked about navigation and the journey of the Mystery to Australia. Photo by Christopher Laughton

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.’

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