Friday, 11 September 2020

Camborne World War One veterans' banner

 

Very many thanks to David Thomas, of Kresen Kernow (Cornwall’s archives) in Redruth, for letting me know that an historic banner, belonging to Camborne Old Contemptibles, is hanging in Camborne Church.

Camborne had an active branch of the Old Contemptibles, an organisation set up across the country in the years after World War One to support war veterans.

The name ‘Old Contemptibles’ was inspired by a phrase first used by Emperor Wilhelm 11 of Germany just after war broke out. He issued an order on 19 August 1914 just after war broke out to ‘exterminate the treacherous English and walk over General French’s contemptible little army’.

Camborne and surrounding districts had seen hundreds of men join the forces. Many sadly never returned from service: those who did often found it hard to adjust to everyday life back at home. What we would now call ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ was not then recognised.

The opening meeting of the Camborne branch of the Old Contemptibles was held in the local library in May 1936. It was led by Dr William Blackwood. He was a popular local figure who had led a group of St John Ambulance men from local mines out to serve in the 25th Field Ambulance on the Western Front.

Blackwood, then aged 58, said that men who had fought in the War had felt the need for an association for some time.

“Their numbers were diminishing; twenty-two years had passed since the beginning of the last war, although it did not seem so long when they looked back,” said The Cornishman, reporting his speech. “Those years, added to the ages of many of them when the war broke out, made some of them grey-haired.”

“They wanted to get together occasionally and recall the times they had had together. Some of those times were very silly and they had throughly enjoyed themselves ,” Dr Blackwood went on. “In the distance, they forgot the bad times and thought of the jolly times…”

The St John Ambulance men he had led out to France and Belgium had certainly seen some tough times. They had been at the Somme in 1916, Passchendaele in the following year. Many had ended up as Prisoners of War after the German Spring Offensive in 1918.

They named their branch, based in Camborne, the ‘West Cornwall’ branch and the association certainly provided company. It also helped members to get jobs, secure surgical applicances and medical attention for wounds suffered in action.

The Camborne-based group continued for many years, poignantly marking the funerals of members who one by one died over the years by parading this very banner.

Our World War One project Heart of Conflict has told many of their stories.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Our new migration map

Searching the world for work .... Our new map for schools, community groups and churches is ready to go.  The very first place that it's on display is at St Mary's Church, Penzance. This church already had a map there encouraging visitors to mark their countries of origin with a pin.

Our new map takes things a step further. Each continent presents the story of a Cornishman who left home and travelled there in the hope of finding work. 

Why? To show that we are all on the move and have been throughout history.  Migration is not a recent phenomenon.

This is part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF with Cornwall Council and the Diocese of Truro. It's aimed at increasing understanding of people from overseas who play a vital role in the Cornish economy.

Here Keno Toriello, the Chilean-born administrator at St Mary's, helps to put up the map there. Keno has been working with us on the project for the past 12 months.


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Young Trustees Movement Champion

Every small charity depends on the dynamism of its Trustees and we're lucky to have Leonora Rae on the team at Bridging Arts.

Leonora, who works in Charity Business Development at EdenTree Investment Management, joined the Board last year and has brought her insights and experience of the sector to our meetings.

Leonora is also a Trustee of St Andrew's Society. Here's an article about what inspired her and how she finds the experience of being a Trustee - why she enjoys it and what she wishes she knew when she started.

 

Thursday, 30 July 2020

The world in textiles

Loved this map of the world!
Created by fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) in celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Barragão was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry.
Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, she created this map of the world.
Our project on migration, I PACKED THIS MYSELF, encourages people to map their own journeys. Here children at St John's Catholic Primary School, Camborne, plot their journeys in cardboard cut-out suitcases.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Zoom workshop for Cornish Primary school

We were thrilled to run our first Zoom workshop on journeys and migration at St John's Catholic Primary School in Camborne, Cornwall. Our special guest, Mirabela Robatzchi from Helston, joined us and talked about the distances (geographical, cultural and social) that she had travelled in her life.
Due to COVID-19, only about 50 children were at the school and we were not able to attend to deliver an assembly in person (as we had hoped earlier in the year).
But it was a huge success. We zoomed into different classrooms, the children asked questions and told us about the journeys they had made - and hoped to make.
Earlier in the week, I'd delivered some cut-out cardboard suitcases at the school. After we'd finished our assembly, the children created works of art with them.
Here's a wonderful selection. This is part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF, funded by Cornwall Council, aimed at breaking down prejudice against workers from overseas who now live in the county.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

West Cornwall Miners' Hospital

We haven't been able to do much on our projects during lockdown - but we have been reading!
So many interesting newsletters, Bernard Deacon's on Cornish Studies Resources being a good example.
Here he talks about the Miners' and Women's Hospital in Redruth.  Dr William Blackwood of Camborne worked very closely with this hospital. Dr Blackwood is central to our research on the Cornish miners from Dolcoath (and other mines) who signed up for the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War One.
Interesting to read about this hospital which would have been so central in their working lives.
We wrote our own post a few years ago  - Dr. Deacon provides very useful and much-needed context.


Monday, 13 April 2020

Podcast on the Spanish flu

One of the many good things that came out of our World War One project Heart of Conflict was discovering the Western Front Association.
They've just publicised one of their podcasts with a very timely theme: the Spanish flu.
People have compared Covid19 with the Spanish flu.
It could be very interesting to listen to this... Click on the link below ....
Western Front association podcast on the Spanish flu

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