The photo shows the 34ft long Ripple SS 19 leading Rippling Wave SS 628 out of St Ives prior to World War I when fishing under sail. Ripple was built at St Ives and registered as SS 19 in 1896. During World War I, this 34ft sailing pilchard driver helped to feed the nation when the enemy blockade was in place and the steam drifters and trawlers had been requisitioned by the Navy.
Ripple SS 19 was moored behind the Old Quay at Newlyn for the Painting Day held there on Saturday 11 March. The Newlyn Archive supported the festivities for this third Painting Day, occupying the old Fishermen’s Rest building on the land side of the medieval quay. This building originally provided an alternative meeting place for the local fishermen when they could no longer use rooms situated at the bottom of Church St. It was thanks mainly to the Rev Harold Hoskins that planning permission was granted retrospectively after it was built by volunteers, in stone provided by the Penlee Quarry in 1966. The two harmoniums inside would have been donated by St Peter’s church in Newlyn thus affording the building a religious character. This year the building hosted display boards from the Archive depicting the history of the Newlyn fishing industry and celebrating the beautiful old Luggers that lie at the heart of the Painting Day festivities.
The tradition of Painting Days started in 2011 with the aim of celebrating the contribution made to the community by these former working vessels by inviting artists to spend time sketching and painting them in the context of the harbour. This would coincide with the annual restoration painting of the Luggers, Happy Return, Ripple and Barnabas by their owners and maintainers: a bringing together of the worlds of commerce and art. This year the Ripple and Happy Return were moored and ready to be painted; prime examples of vessels from the fleets that were the life blood of the local community in former times. Sketching and painting took place throughout the day and visitors enjoyed the displays and photographs from the Archive in the Fishermen’s Rest building nearby. Friend of the Archive, John Lambourn was helpful in explaining how important it is to celebrate the heritage of these fine working boats which provided work for the entire community. Some would build and repair them; others made and mended the nets and sails; and women mainly would deal with and later cure the catch. Essentially the boats were the lifeblood of the community. The idea for the day grew originally from John’s plan to bring the boats ‘to life’ by allowing artists to paint them in their iconic setting and so to celebrate their history and significance.
Did you know that there are only three original West Cornish double ended (sharp sterned) fishing luggers known about today, the Barnabas SS 634 at Penzance, the Ripple SS 19 at Newlyn and the Rosalind (ex-Susan SS 185) in Maine, USA?
John Lambourn was responsible for bringing the Ripple to Newlyn and undertaking her renovation so that now she is a sea-worthy vessel. One of his missions is to preserve old luggers. At Newlyn, there is a site, the knowledge, the experience, the skills and the enthusiasm to give them a new lease of life as sailing luggers, perhaps making Newlyn the centre for these historic old vessels. John’s latest exploit is to rescue and preserve a Cornish relic now languishing at Chesapeake Bay USA awaiting the chain saw if nothing is done, the double ended St Ives sailing fishing lugger, Rosalind.
Rosalind was built as SS 185 Susan by the renowned William Paynter at his boatyard near the Customs House, St Ives and registered as a lugger in 1903 for owner-skipper William Jennings. Her keel was 36.3 feet long and her overall length 39.4 feet with a beam of 12.5 feet, depth of 5.8 feet and tonnage of 19.37. At just under 40 feet long she was very like the Barnabas. She had different owners and changes of name before becoming Rosalind FY 26 in 1919 when she was sold to skipper John Behenna of Mevagissey. In 1921 and 1922 Rosalind was listed among the huge fishing fleet at Newlyn. When war came, she fished at Mevagissey. Changing owners several times, she was converted to a leisure vessel in 1992 and rigged as a gaff schooner yacht for Richard Griffiths on the East Coast of the USA.
With the death of her owner, the boat is threatened with demolition, and plans are in hand to bring her home to Cornwall. John Lambourn has started an appeal to raise £12,000 towards the cost of transporting the lugger to Newlyn. The transport would be in three stages, by road to Baltimore, shipping in a container to Southampton and a final road transport leg to Newlyn.
If you can help, please be generous. Donations should be made to: The Rosalind Rescue Appeal, c/o West Cornwall Lugger Industry Trust Ltd, Barclays Bank, sort code 20-67-19 a/c 00498092. For more information call 01736 366 868.
The photo was taken at our most recent Open Day, On the Other Side, which took place in The Centre from 10am until 3pm on Saturday, 1st April 2017. It shows Diane Tredinnick selling second-hand books, and raising an amazing £77.80 for the Archive. Behind her is our family history expert Diane Donohue. In the distance, Denny Harvey is showing fascinating films, including dramatic footage of the Torrey Canyon bombing and coastal devastation at the time. Films of smuggling and the Newlyn riots were also enjoyed and a Time Team programme about a prehistoric Fogou near St Buryan.
There were 131 visitors keen to read the display boards and study the filed resources of letters and photographs available. A raffle previously started in The Boathouse raised £63 and was won by a resident from Tolcarne. The prize was a handsome wooden board depicting a map of Great Britain together with the sea areas of the Shipping Forecast handcrafted by the late Mike ‘Butts’ Buttery of Mousehole.
Some visitors had expected the exhibition to be held at The Boathouse. The Boathouse is not large enough for a major exhibition, so even when we occupy the Boathouse (hopefully in May) we will still be holding four major exhibitions each year at Trinity Centre.
Please put the next exhibition dates at Trinity in your diary.
Saturday June 17, 2017 10-3.00. A Hundred Years Ago
Saturday September 2, 2017 10-3.00. The People who made the Harbour at Newlyn: Designers, builders, harbour masters and fishermen
Saturday October 21, 2017 10-3.00. Newlyn in uniform: the armed forces, nurses, scouts and many others.