Thursday 29 January 2015

Feedback from visit to Cornish Studies Library, Redruth

Again - filling out questionnaires isn't all that much fun. But a huge thank you to everyone who did so after the visit to the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, last week.
Here are a few of the responses - it seems that everyone found it a very interesting experience.

Did you learn anything new?
- Yes, that the Cornish Studies Library has a book from the 1600s

What was the highlight of the afternoon for you?
- looking at newspaper copies
- the archives
- All of it!
- Learning how to use the microfilm machines
- I loved using the microfilm machines

Any other thoughts?
- Please lock me in overnight!

Thursday 22 January 2015

Back to Azook - help with technical issues

Azook, at Pool, has been extremely supportive throughout Heart of Conflict. Azook specialises in creating digital and visual archives of local history. Tim Robins and Richard Trant helped to organise the training for Camborne Guides in October. Since then, the Guides have been interviewing and recording people with memories relating to World War One.
My visit today was to have a chat with Chris Parsons, a dedicated volunteer there who is helping to create audio guides on simple tablets to showcase the recordings.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Visit to Cornish Studies Library, Redruth

A great visit to the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, as part of Heart of Conflict today.  Kim Cooper, Principal Library Officer, gave a fascinating 'behind the scenes' tour. Kim's obvious enthusiasm and love of her job came through - very inspiring, particularly for the students from Redruth School who have such a keen interest in World War One history. Today's visitors helped to create the amazing Remembrance Room at the school - more here
Some of the poems written by the students will be on display at our exhibition at the Cornish Studies library in February.

The library houses anything with a link to Cornwall - not just the Camborne/Redruth area. Its oldest book dates from 1602. We went behind the scenes to see the archives.

Kim also showed us how to read archive copies of newspapers on microfiche. Must say I always find these machines tricky - but the students were very quick. Another visitor, Viv Broadhurst from Praze W1 brought a pamphlet that she wanted to research. This proved very useful: the archives are so huge that it's important to have a starting point. The library holds (on microfiche) all copies of the West Briton since 1810 - as well as the Royal Cornwall Gazette, The Cornishman, The Cornubian and The Cornish Post and Mining News
Also on display were various items relating to World War One held by the library: points of inspiration.

I was particularly interested to see this book, which I didn't know about - very useful when researching the background of names on war memorials.
Also fascinating: something that I didn't know was in the archives - The Future Within by Martine Knight. A history of Sithney School written by my oldest schoolfriend (definitely so as she started primary school on the same day as me!).
A fantastic book - so detailed and so well researched. Relevant and inspiring for us all - showing how worthwhile it is to make history come alive.
Martine is working in Helston on the town's exhibitions and events to mark the World War One centenary.

A breakthrough moment - Football at the Front

A real breakthrough moment this afternoon on receiving an email from Roy Blewett who was at the Cornish Studies Library earlier this week. We had an interesting conversation about World War One and Heart of Conflict and I mentioned the story about Camborne Rugby Club sending a ball out to the front late in 1914.
We are still in search of anyone with memories of this.
What a wonderful thing to receive an email from Roy later in the day saying his second cousin Chris Negus knew about the match and in fact played in it: his grandfather was Fred Negus (a recording of his letter here) and he even has a photograph of Fred holding the ball.
Later I spoke to Chris Negus and he did not know about the commemorative match played at Camborne last November. Much news to catch up with.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Unclear why dates vary on local war memorials

War Memorial Redruth (Victoria Park)
Illogan Church Memorial

Having gathered so much material over the past week for Heart of Conflict - particularly about those who lost their lives - I had an interesting tour of local war memorials this afternoon with Bridging Arts volunteer Mike Matthews.
The dates of the war vary. 1914-18 on some - 1914-19 on others. Not sure why the different dates were chosen in different cases. Perhaps some soldiers died after the armistice, which signed in 1918. The ceasefire took place in 1919.
War memoral - Treslothan (near Troon)

War grave at St Euny Church, Redruth

A welcome gift from County Records Office

Spot a very welcome offer at the County Records Office, Truro when I arrive: a box of folders offered free to a good home.  Leapt at the chance, of course. Very useful for Heart of Conflict.

Research into War Memorial at Penponds Church

Back to the County Records Office, Truro, for research on the war memorial at Penponds Church. There are striking panels in the church porch - monies were raised for this when Canon James Sims Carah was vicar.  Canon Carah kept detailed records of these efforts.
We will feature research on local war memorials in Heart of Conflict.

Monday 19 January 2015

Visit to County Records Office yields good feedback

Evaluation forms sometimes seem a bit of chore - filling them out is bad enough - not to mention collating the results!
But it was great to receive some very positive feedback from the Heart of Conflict visit last week to the County Records office , Truro.
- I loved finding out about different attitudes through the years. Thank you very much
- I learned lots about how old documents are stored and how things were recorded during WW1
- Such a rich source of local history on the doorstep
- I had a great time. I would be so grateful if I could come again.

The highlight of the afternoon?
- Learning what different records are stored here and how old they are
- The tour of the archive
- Seeing live documents
- The books and the memorabilia
- Letters from the Front
- Hearing more information about my local area and knowing that everything is so well preserved
- Seeing the interest of the Guides aroused
- Visit to the archives great - and seeing the old book of St Meriadoc - wonderful

Sunday 18 January 2015

Shock to see list of fallen at Redruth Wesleyan Chapel

After reading the letters written to the Redruth Wesleyan minister from soldiers at the Front, I just had to go along this morning to the Chapel for its early morning service.

Something of a shock outside to see - immediately  - a list of the fallen.
No fewer than 180 members of the Sunday School and the Young Men's Bible class at the Chapel signed up.

This seems a huge number: but Redruth was a large chapel. It is still extremely impressive.

From outside it looks like a huge ship: unmissable from the station and something of a landmark as you leave west Cornwall by train.

Inside, there is a brass plaque with the names of everyone who served, with a central panel listing those who died.  It is beautifully polished and maintained. I spot the names (in the list of fallen) of at least one man who wrote a letter to the minister - Chester Trelease.

Friday 16 January 2015

Visit to Azook helps with uploading our audio files

A quick visit to Azook, Pool, for help on converting audio files into manageable sizes for uploading to the Heart of Conflict website.... Camborne Guides (who trained at Azook) are much quicker than I am at picking this up.

We are grateful to Tim Robbins at Azook for providing continued support.

Azook specialises in creating digital and audio archives.

Letters at County Records Office tell human stories of war

An early visit to the County Records Office, Truro, to look further at letters written from the Western Front to the minister at Redruth Wesleyan. We saw these letters when we visited earlier this week.  Chloe Phillips had put them on display because of their local interest, and also because they were written from various points around the world, not only from France.

There are 30 in total, so it was a question of sifting through to find letters of particular interest and relevance to our volunteers.  Left: a page of a letter from Chester Trelease, who was, sadly, killed in combat.

We are keen to find out more about these young men from Redruth Wesleyan who signed up so readily, early on in the War.

Thursday 15 January 2015

We visit Mrs Grigg, an expert on local WWI connections

Mrs Valerie Grigg of Camborne is an expert on local connections with World War One. She has done extensive research on her grandfather. Was lucky to visit her this afternoon and learn more.
We are fortunate to be able to display some of Mrs Grigg's collection in Heart of Conflict.

Research at Cornish Studies Library, Redruth

An early start at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth: the weather has turned colder and hail settled on the car overnight. The Library is an oasis on a bleak morning.

Kim Cooper has kindly arranged for us to look through boxes of photos that might be relevant for our Heart of Conflict exhibition.

Also a chance to have another look at the exhibition space.
It's quite a big room but well equipped - lots of power sockets and display boards plus a wealth of display cases.

Am extremely impressed by the exhibition there at the moment by Trewirgie School about local mining heritage.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Collecting material from Redruth School Remembrance room

A whistlestop trip back to Redruth School to collect material to photocopy for the Heart of Conflict exhibition.  Lucy Johnson has also kindly loaned boards of poetry that went on display late last year at Truro Cathedral to mark the centenary of the War. We will publish some of these on the Heart of Conflict website and in the Education Pack.

It is good to see the display still looking impressive after the winter break. Good to hear that it is staying in place so that visiting Primary Schools will be able to see it.

Carpentry apprentices to help build exhibition

An early morning meeting at Cornwall Community Action Network (CCAN) in Redruth with Gareth Bale, who has worked with Bridging Arts extensively over the years.
Gareth runs CCAN and works closely with DMT Business Services which runs a wide range of apprenticeship schemes.
We discuss plans for 'listening booths' with tablets for the exhibition of Heart of Conflict material at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth in February. Hoping that carpentry apprentices will be able to build these.
Love the row of mopeds outside: this is how apprentices ride to work.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Meeting at Redruth School: Heart of Conflict

An early meeting at Redruth School with the tireless Lucy Johnson who has masterminded the extraordinary World War One exhibition there. We are making plans to develop an Education Pack  - and transfer some elements of the display to the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, as part of our Heart of Conflict project.
The poetry written by students is particularly impressive: we're trying to work out the best way to present this.


Monday 12 January 2015

Heart of Conflict: trip to the County Records Office, Truro

Great to visit the County Records Office, Truro, Cornwall, today as part of our Heart of Conflict project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Camborne Guides (led, as ever, by Karin Saunders and Sue Norfolk), three members of Praze Women's Institute and two volunteers from Helston Museum visited the extraordinary archives - we were all surprised at the extent of records kept.
A huge thank you to David Thomas and Chloe Phillips of the Records Office for a fascinating tour. We all came away inspired to find out more.

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