Thursday 18 December 2014

Girlguiding on Desert Island Discs

Have a renewed interest in Girlguiding ever since we have been working on Heart of Conflict with Camborne Guides. So great to hear Julie Bentley (Chief Executive of Girlguiding) on Desert Island Discs: easy to catch up with on BBC radio iPlayer - won't spoil the show by revealing her luxury item. Her take on Guiding reflects what we've seen in our work with Camborne Guides:
"It is not about itchy brown uniforms and sewing and baking. It is a modern, contemporary, vibrant organisation."

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Putting up posters in Camborne

Distributing posters in Camborne about our project Heart of Conflict, marking the centenary of World War One. An obvious place is the library (underneath I now notice a poster for Cat Neutering  - £5) and a local hardware store which has morphed over the years into a place for collectors' miniature vintage cars. The owner, Mr Tom, is just visible here through the window. The thinking is that people who pass are interested in history...

Friday 12 December 2014

Thursday 11 December 2014

The soldier who never sleeps

Arrive at Paddington Station on the sleeper from Cornwall at 6:45 am and walk past the statue of the reading soldier.
His head is tilted and he's still reading.
The wreaths and crosses left after the Remembrance Day service more than a month ago are still there.

Guides' enthusiasm strikes positive blow for girls

It has been great working with Camborne Guides in Heart of Conflict (our project marking the centenary of World War One in west Cornwall).  The training day that we held at Azook was an eye opener - they were so focussed, enthusiastic and eager to learn.

Was interested to read this report on girls' attitudes from the Girlguiding UK.  As part of its Girls Matter campaign, Girlguiding UK is calling on the government to introduce guidelines for dealing with sexual bullying and harassment in schools.

“The sixth annual survey reveals that sexism and harassment are becoming a part of daily life for British girls, with almost 60% of girls and young women aged 13 to 21 reporting sexual harassment at school or college and 20% experiencing unwanted touching. The survey, which polled more than 1,400 girls and young women across the UK, warns that such experiences are coming to be seen as just “a normal aspect of being a girl”.  NCB Policy & Parliamentary Information Digest, 8 Dec 2014

Reminded me of the impressive 'Like a Girl' ad earlier this year from Always, the feminine hygiene brand owned by Procter & Gamble. The ad addresses (what Always identifies) as self esteem issues in young girls. More than 53 million people have already viewed it on YouTube. It's worth a look.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Thank you, Samar!

We're lucky to have Samar Abbas helping us with design work on Heart of Conflict.
Samar was a winner in our 2007 project The British Sari Story. Click here for a gallery - including his wonderful 'Sari for the iPod generation'  We ran a national competition for British sari patterns on the 60th year since Indian independence.

Monday 8 December 2014

Camborne Guides think of messages for WW1 troops

Faye cutting out her suitcase
Camborne Guides, who are working with Bridging Arts on our Heart of Conflict project (marking the centenary of World War One), are hard at work thinking what they would have sent to loved ones who left home to fight on the front in 1914.
They are creating small cardboard suitcases and writing their messages inside.
Some even included items that they might have sent.

Philippa and Milly putting the final touches to their cases. Philippa includes sweets.

Saturday 6 December 2014

War memorial once commemorated Camborne family

The World War One memorial at Treslothan, near Camborne in Cornwall, was previously a memorial to the Pendarves family which created the 'model village' there in Victorian times.
Canon James Sims Carah, vicar at nearby Penponds, pointed this out in his book on the Camborne area written in the 1920s.
"There can be only one opinion of the beauty of the village outside the Church. It is one of the prettiest spots in the whole neighbourhood. In the centre stands the Cross which has been lately adapted to form the Parochial War memorial to those who fell in the Great War." J Sims Carah 'The Parish of Camborne' 1924

Friday 5 December 2014

School photo captured innocent age as war loomed

Very poignant to see this May Day photo of girls at College Row School, Camborne in 1914: this surfaced during our research for our Heart of Conflict project marking thecentenary of World War One. Months later, World War One broke out.  The girls are bedecked with wild flowers: it really carries a feel of another age, wiped out by the war years.

This photograph appears in David Thomas's book Camborne (reprinted in 2010 by the History Press).

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Camborne resident provides a wealth of info

A second visit today, this time to Camborne to see Mrs Valerie Griggs who responded to a letter that we placed in the West Briton newspaper as part of our Heart of Conflict project, asking if anyone had memorabilia (objects, photos, stories) related to World War One.
Mrs Griggs phoned to say she had loaned several objects to Redruth School  (some are pictured in yesterday's blog post). She lived most of her life in Redruth but went to school in Camborne.
And she is prepared to be interviewed about her collection, and her family's experience, by Camborne Guides.  This will be a fascinating exercise.
Mrs Griggs also had lots of suggestions and contacts: research has been done into the War Memorial at Roskear Church. She has also worked closely with Cornwall Family History group.
Also such interesting pieces of information.
The names on Camborne Church war memorial have been taken off the wall because of the damp - and not replaced as yet.
Captain Blackwood - doctor in Camborne who served in World War One and kicked off the rugby matches we are researching between Cornish and Devon teams - lived at Blackwood House (Roskear) now a residential home. (Amazingly Martine Knight today also remembered Captain Blackwood, who survived the war and worked as a doctor for  many years in Camborne).
Mrs Griggs mentioned a Christmas tree festival at Camborne Church. There is apparently a 'World War One' Christmas tree.

Helston Museum pieces together personal stories

Working on Heart of Conflict (our project marking the centenary of World War One) -  visit Helston Museum to see a very old friend, Martine Knight, who started at Leedstown Primary School on the same day as me - more years ago than I like to remember.
Martine - unchanged - has led Helston Museum's fantastic work on marking the centenary of World War one. She and her team of volunteers have researched the names on the town's war memorial (in the churchyard) and created folders on each name. They displayed simple boards with information in a stark and moving exhibition in the autumn. This is just the first stage of a four-year plan to mark the centenary of the war.
Also in the pipeline - improving the town trail (to pass the houses where soldiers lived), renovating graves of those who died at home (Martine herself has done a lot of this), exploring the role of women in the war - and finally in 2018 a trip to the battlefields and war graves.
It's a fantastic effort and grounded in something so solid: the war memorial itself.
The museum is also a revelation. There's so much in it. In the corridor I noticed a grandfather clock decorated with carved bone (left over bones from the owner's lunch!).
This wonderful cushion was on display earlier in the autumn. It was embroidered by a soldier from the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.  The Cornish coat of arms and motto 'One and All' are visible in the centre.
It was part of a 'therapy' kit given to convalescing soldiers - or even soldiers in Prisoner of War camps.
There's something poignant about the pastel colours, delicate beading and gold threads, worked by worked by someone who not so long previously had seen the carnage of the trenches.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Redruth School puts on a stunning display

Karin Saunders (Camborne Guide leader) and I were astonished this morning to visit Redruth School to see its extraordinary exhibition on World War One. This is the brainchild of history teacher Lucy Johnson who has clearly worked tirelessly to make this a stunning success.
A few photos will give a flavour of the display, but the attention to detail and the extraordinary creativity in its construction need to be seen in person.

Monday 1 December 2014

Camborne Guides plan centenary interviews

Great to visit Camborne Guides this evening and to see them hard at work making Christingles!
A feeling of excitement is abroad as Christmas approaches - but they are still evidently keen on interviewing and working more on Heart of Conflict.
We've discovered letters written by Dolcoath tin miners at the Front who write back to their boss as Christmas approached. Some of the Guides are going to record brothers or cousins or uncles of a similar age reading these letters. A surprising number have relatives currently in the forces. Digital recording specialists at Azook have kindly loaned us a recorder for a few weeks so we can do this.
A group photo: the Guides love group photos! A huge thank you once again to Guide leader Karin Saunders for facilitating this.

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