The Open Day focusses on events that happened ‘A Hundred Years Ago’ in 1917 and in the years of the Great War. The pen sketch above was done by Swedish artist Rolf Jonssen (1888-1965) while in Pendennis jail on a charge of spying for the enemy during WW1. Rolf was married to Annie Payne (1894-1965) from Newlyn Town who had modelled for artists like Walter Langley. Her father was Horace Payne, a fisherman who owned his own boat and her mother was Annie E Richards. When the couple married about 1911, Rolf’s father, who owned a Swedish shipping line, built a house for them. The Chalet in the Ropewalk at Newlyn was based on the Jonssen summer home Saro near Gothenburg.
Unfortunately, in 1915, with the outbreak of war, life took a turn for the worse. The Chalet, where Rolf and Annie lived was in a sensitive position being just above the WW1 Sea plane base at Sandy Cove which hosted Newlyn/Land’s End Royal Naval Air Service Station. Rolf was accused of signalling with coloured lights to the enemy and he spent three months in Pendennis Castle before the trial came up and he was proved innocent. It transpired that he had been walking with a torch between rooms in his home which had different coloured curtains. Apparently, Stanhope Forbes had a great deal to do with his defence. Later, Rolf received a Royal pardon, but he and the family left Newlyn vowing never to return.
The Open Day shows archive material about Newlyn and its people in 1917. Did you know that The Try, a trawler working out of Newlyn was sunk in March 1917 by a German submarine, when she was fishing south of the Wolf? On board were the skipper Edward (Ned) Ridge, his son William, son in law Alfred Hurr and another Newlyn boy, Thomas Eddy. Alfred Hurr lived to tell the story and we have pictures of PH 40 The Try to show.
The Open Day also tells the story of the artists from Newlyn and Lamorna (some too old to enlist) who played their parts during the Great War and shows some of the pictures painted during the war.
Most important, for the future move of the Archive to The Admiralty Boathouse, is the story of Newlyn Harbour during the War. The archive is fortunate to hold the Harbour records for the war years and some of this is on display at the Open Day. For example, did you know that the Brigantine Sea Witch sank in the mouth of Newlyn harbour in 1917? That the salvage team for the owners gave up because the wreck was too difficult to remove? That the harbour authorities did not have the men, money or equipment to remove the wreck? Come to the Open Day to hear what happened next!
There will be other events at the Open Day besides the Display Boards and show of old film footage. The Mousehole Archive has a table and a display about Mousehole and Paula and Jim, our experts on Charles Simpson will be bringing some of his work to show.
Most important Shauna will be recording oral testimonies for a film to celebrate the ‘official’ opening of the Boat House as the new home of the Newlyn Archive in September.
Please download the poster for ‘A Hundred Years Ago’ Saturday June 17, 2017 10-3.00 by clicking on the PDF file below and saving it to your computer.