PLHG News, October 2016

News update from the Penwith Local History Group,
October 2016

The Gibson photo archive, a collection of 1200 prints and 300 glass negatives has been acquired by the Penlee Gallery in Penzance. The collection, which dates from 1870-1905, is a fantastic resource for Penwith historians and its acquisition by the Penlee, via a private treaty with the vendor, is a significant addition to the publicly available photographic archive of Cornwall. The acquisition was made possible by the Gibson family's desire that the collection should go to be public institution rather than a private collector.

Recent research by Cedric Appleby of the PLHG into the history of the Seven Stones Light Ship, of which his father was captain many years ago, has revealed a dramatic and potentially disastrous incident in March 1948 in which the vessel broke her anchor chain and began to drift on the current. Not having engines the ship was completely at the mercy of wind, tide and current and drifted 15 miles before the crew managed to deploy the emergency anchor some four miles off Pendeen, which saved the ship. Trinity House vessel Triton stood by the lightship until The Argus, another Trinity House vessel, arrived from Holyhead and the two ships were able to take the lightship in tow and bring her safely to Penzance.

"The Penwith Group is, I think, the most productive local history group in Cornwall." The words of Carole Vivian, past chair of the Cornwall Association of Local Historians, as she launched "Women of West Cornwall", the new publication from PLHG. The launch took place at the Morrab Library in Penzance on 17 September and an enthusiastic gathering even included a few autograph hunters as well as the book's authors, pictured here with Carole Vivian (3rd from left).

The Last Resort is the title of a talk on tourism in Penzance 1800-1950 presented by Linda Camidge to the Balwest Heritage Society on 30 September. Starting with the town's first tourist attraction, a dead whale, Linda rapidly moves on to 19th century health tourism, pirates, bathing, railway links.....

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Trying to picture the underground structure of a mine is a bit of a stretch for many of us but Dr Keith Russ has made the task immeasurably easier by creating a virtual underground plan for the whole of the Devon and Cornwall ore field. Created from a range of sources, key among them the mine surveyors' logs and old mine plans, Keith has assembled a mind boggling array of statistics and graphics from over 300 mines in the region. An east to west fly past over a virtual landscape plots and names mines from the Tavy to Cape Cornwall while the return trip is a drive through of the underground workings which can only be described as spectacular. Watching Keith's audience at the Carn Brea Mining Society on 20th September they were all completely spellbound (and the denizens of the CBMS are not easily spellbound!) Check out Keith's Facebook Page "Abandoned Mine Models" for opportunities to see the show.

The Newlyn Archive held open days on September 30th and October 1st. Entitled "They came, they saw, they left" it focused on, among other, the temporary airbase at Sandy Cove in WW1, three vicars of St Peter's Church, the marauding Spaniards, artists, refugees and a host of others.

Tour the Morrab Library with knowledgeable guides from the Penwith Local History Group! Every Friday at 2pm (booking advisable during winter months via the Morrab Library on 01736 364474)

PLHG publications can be purchased online here or perused in the Morrab Library.

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Penwith Local History Group
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Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

Edited by
Sally Corbet

price £10
plus p&p


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The Morrab Library showing the new extension
The Morrab Library showing the new extension.
Photo Glyn Richards
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