The folk of Newlyn were all pouring into town as early as 9.00 today for the latest hearing in the murder case, at Penzance Guildhall. Children there too; some would think that…. unwise. By ten, there was “not an inch of available room” – and still an hour to wait! Best not to say too much – but for once the press do not exaggerate when they bill this as the “Newlyn Sensation”. There’s the child’s body found in Gwarvas Quay, and his step-mother, and his big sister who’s generally prone to “piteous hysterical sobs” in the courtroom, and is often referred to as the “little girl” – although in fact she’s quite old enough to know right from wrong. She was smiling today, though - freed from custody after making her statement. And now it’s the step-mother who’s remanded in custody, accused of procuring the murder of that poor little lad – her step-son, the not-so-little girl’s little brother. And that’s that – until next Saturday’s instalment.
But let us turn to more everyday business: what we might expect in Penwith, on just another Saturday, at the beginning of the new century.
All the excitement at the Guildhall has rather put the routine Penzance Police Court hearings in the shade. Just the usual stuff there – a servant accused of pilfering coins from the Duke of Cumberland (the pub, that is, not the Duke himself); a travelling hawker “helplessly drunk” and having to be carried to the police station.
And after the morning’s courtroom dramas? Those in need of a new hat could be among the first to inspect Miss Knuckey’s latest offerings from London, in the French and English styles – on view only from today - and perhaps take a quick look at the alpine wool underclothing she has on offer. Just the thing for the chilly days which can only be around the corner.
And to round off the day? After the murder trial and the shopping, something a little more wholesome and uplifting might be in order. For those who frequent the Union Hotel in Penzance, Miss Fursland is leaving to be married, and tonight will be presented with “a long gold chain for the neck, of neat pattern and sterling material”. And for those of more serious persuasion, there is the first of the winter science lectures – tonight’s subject, oxygen.
Or there is a meeting of St Just Parish Council, which will discuss a nuisance caused by a drain at Bosavern. But even wild talk of the typhoid risk, the surveyor’s lack of faith in the water supply from Wheal Pol, and a magnificent drainage scheme priced at £2,000; even discussion about whether the Town Council has the right to “pull stones through Ballowall Common”; even rotten mackerel at Boscaswell, “only fit for manure”; even that steep drop of a foot outside the front door of the Miner’s Arms, which the Council have failed to attend to – even all put together, these agenda items can hardly compete with the sensation of this morning’s murder trial.
But let us leave that aside. After all, this is just another Saturday in West Cornwall. And let us wish long life and health through the 20th century to Miss Fursland, to St Just Town Council, and to the law-abiding public, one and all.
Cornish Telegraph 31 10 1900: police court page 4; latest instalment in the ‘Newlyn Sensation’ murder trial page 5
Cornishman 1 11 1900: police court, science lecture, Ballowall Common, Wheal Pol, fish and Miner’s Arms stories, and letter complaining about children being present, page 4; Bosavern drain and Miss Fursland stories page 5; latest instalment in the ‘Newlyn Sensation’ murder trial page 6; Miss Knuckey advertisement page 8