The last Newlyn Archive Open Day this Year is ‘Newlyn in Uniform’. It will be held at Trinity Centre, Newlyn on Saturday October 21, 2017 from 10-3.00.
The photo shows Cynthia ‘Mary’ Llewellyn and Albert ‘John’ David Llewellyn in Girl Guides & Boys Brigade uniforms, c1944. There was a 1st Newlyn Guides and Brownie Group in 1938 and we have a photograph taken in front of the old school house but little else. Perhaps some of the people named in the photograph could come to the Open Day and supply more information about the Girl Guides at Newlyn?
Some of the artists of the early Newlyn colony were responsible for starting a scout group in Newlyn in 1910, only three years after Baden Powell had his first experimental camp for boys in 1907. Prominent artists like Thomas Cooper Gotch, Reginald Dick and John Mackenzie started the group to help local boys, many of whom were also involved with the Newlyn Industrial classes. The group occupied several headquarters, moving to Gwavas Studios in 1911. The group may have disbanded because of the war but in 1929 Benjamin Maddern founded a scout troop (nicknamed Uncle Ben’s Cowboys) which was still in operation in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1957, a new Scout Hut was built at North Corner, on the edge of the old Meadow, where the artists had once built their glass-houses, and there is still a plaque outside the now dilapidated building.
As well as boy scouts and rover scouts, Newlyn also had its sea scouts and sea cadets. Before the second world war, Newlyn Sea Scouts and their gig Trelawney (often moored below the Norrad Slip) were a frequent site in Newlyn Harbour. After the war, TS Grenville sea cadets might be seen marching through the village on important occasions or participating in Newlyn Swimming Club events.
We have fewer images of women in uniform than men in uniform in the Newlyn Archive but there are many stories and images of the old Fishwives of Newlyn who wore a traditional dress.
We also have Newlyners in uniform who worked as Policemen, Firemen and Nurses.
Uniforms were the essence of the armed forces, and we have chosen to feature men in the uniforms of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and the Royal First Devon Yeomanry from world war one. There are also pictures depicting Newlyn men (and one woman) in the uniforms of the Royal and Merchant Navy, the Army, and the Royal Flying Core. For world war two we focus on the dress of the men in the Homeguard of whom Geoffrey Garnier, the artist, was in local command.
Another board shows the Newlyn Male Choir who celebrated their 90th Choir Anniversary Concert at St Mary’s Church Penzance in 2011 only a few years before they disbanded. It participated in the Cornwall Federation of Male Voice Choirs’ Millennium Concert in the Royal Albert Hall in 2000. Its celebrated history spanning nearly 100 years included winning many honours like the Buller Howell Challenge Shield which was won several times.
What better uniform to bring the exhibition to an end than the traditional dress of the Bards of the Cornish Gorsedh. This must be well known in Newlyn as so many of its folk have become bards since the first Cornish Gorsedh ceremony was held at Boscawen-Un in 1928.
Do download the poster.