PLHG News January 2017

News update from the Penwith Local History Group,
January 2017

Beginning today, 1 January 2017, the PLHG website will feature an “On this Day” page. Every day throughout the year an event from the history of West Penwith will be highlighted to illustrate aspects of our fascinating past. To come in January are tales of disaster at sea and in mines, the consequences of war, social and technical progress and entertainment. Illuminating today is the Wolf Rock lighthouse which first cast its light across the whale's way on 1 January 1870 and just over 100 years later became the first lighthouse in the world to have a helipad.


Merchants and smugglers in eighteenth-century Penzance: the brothers John and James Dunkin

is another source of illumination, in this case casting light upon a tangled web of activities, legal and illegal, during the Napoleonic period. Charlotte MacKenzie has done an admirable job of teasing the strands apart and tells a compelling tale of the degree to which smuggling was integrated into the lawful activities of many 'respectable' merchants and ship owners. The article was published in Troze Vol 7 No 2 Dec 2016. Troze is the online journal of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and can be found at


Jenny Dearlove, chair of the PLHG, was interviewed by John Pestle of Coast FM on the recent PLHG publication Women of West Cornwall. The thirty minute interview went into a fair bit of detail, John had clearly been through the book pretty closely himself and was particularly interested in Jenny's view that this was not just a book for women but was also an interesting read for men. (As a male of 60 years plus experience I can attest to the accuracy of Jenny's view!) A review of the book will appear on the Coast FM Facebook page in due course.


Flash Harry at the Penlee – Flash Harry, aka Harry Penpaul, was a well known local photographer who spent years capturing the life of West Penwith and is the subject of an exhibition at the Penlee Gallery. The exhibition closes on 7 January so get round there pronto, not dreckly, and see what you can add to the information lying behind the exhibited pictures.


Penwith Local History Group wishes you a happy and prosperous 2017.


Bledhen Nowydh Da!

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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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