Saturday 28 February 2015

Packing away Heart of Conflict this morning

Packing away Heart of Conflict this morning.... Sad to see all the exhibits packed away. Valerie Grigg, who lent so much, helped to pack up. On to the next step, the next venue and new developments....

Friday 27 February 2015

Heart of Conflict exhibition draws to a close

Tobacco box once owned by Frank Johns of St Ives. Courtesy Delia Broad
Taking last minute pictures of our Heart of Conflict exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, on its final day.
Great to see Martine Knight who has led Helston Museum's efforts to mark the World War One centenary.
And, in the afternoon, Michael Harris from the Royal Cornwall Museum came. We've been touching base with Michael as Heart of Conflict has developed from conception to delivery, so it was great that he saw the final show.

Monday 23 February 2015

Couple lends "trench art' paper knife to Heart of Conflict

 A contribution collected yesterday from the St Aubyn Arms, Praze. Royston Broad, who with his wife Delia has contributed to our Heart of Conflict exhibition on World War One, brought in this paper knife made from a shell case.
We will put it on display with the rest of the exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth.

Royston and Delia have lent the medals of Delia's cousin, Frank Johns, who died in 1915.  They knew little about Frank, apart from the fact that he was killed in France. Our researcher George Harris discovered the background.  Heart of Conflict is open until Friday 27 February, 2015 (closed on Wednesday).

Thursday 19 February 2015

Heart of Conflict exhibition launches today....

Derek Head (left) and Chris Negus, whose grandfathers played in the rugby matches on the Front.
A rainy morning in Redruth but a lively gathering for the official opening of our Heart of Conflict exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library.  Pictured: Karin Saunders, leader of 7th Camborne Guides with Maisie, who helped to collect interviews of people who lent objects for the display.

West Briton reports on our Heart of Conflict exhibition

Some things in the world don't change much, and coverage in the West Briton newspaper (print version), despite the power of the Web, still means a lot locally.
So it was great to see an article today, as we officially launch our Heart of Conflict exhibition, on one of the stories that we've featured.  Camborne Rubgy Club sent a ball out to the Front at the start of the War and soldiers from Cornwall and Devon played three matches.
We tracked down two of the grandsons of those who played: Chris Negus (grandson of Fred Negus) and Derek Head (grandson of Fred Head).
The article also mentions the fact that we discovered Fred Negus was recommended for his bravery, and was a prisoner at the end of the war. His family had been unaware of this.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Members of Redruth Wesleyan Chapel visit

One of the things that has been exhilarating about Heart of Conflict , our exhibition about World War One, is the way that new connections are constantly being made and the project grows. This morning there was a visit from members of Redruth Wesleyan Chapel: the exhibition features letters back to the Chapel written by members of the Young Men's Bible Class who signed up (150 in total over the war years). Some of the visitors remembered Harry Rich, who ran the class, in particular Ida Congdon as he was her godfather.

Denzil Richards had photographs and memories of the Young Men's Bible Class -- his grandfather James Hebberd was a member. We are planning to research more about all this as the project progresses. It's extrordinary to think that the Young Men's Bible Class was so big. Redruth Wesleyan was a huge force locally.

Ida Congdon, below, whose father was in Redruth Wesleyan Young Men's Bible Class. Harry Rich, the class leader, was her godfather.

Flowers from anonymous donor - a lovely touch

We were delighted to receive these beautiful Cornish daffodils from a kind anonymous donor in memory of Cornish soldiers who died in World War One. What a thoughtful and touching gesture as our Heart of Conflict exhibition opens at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth: very many thank yous to Anonymous!

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Further fine tuning in Heart of Conflict preparations

Am running out of interesting shots of Azook in Pool. Back once again this morning to pick up the tablets which we'll use as audio guides during our Heart of Conflict exhibition.
A huge thank you for this to all at Azook (which specialises in creating digital and photographic archives).
Tim Robins and Richard Trant of Azook helped to train Camborne Guides to interview and record people with memories relating to World War One. They also lent a recorder over many weeks, which was hugely appreciated!
These recordings are now on the audio guide to the exhibition, open now at the Cornish Studies Library.

Heart of Conflict opens today - finishing touches

Putting finishing touches to our Heart of Conflict exhibition which opens today at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth. Fine tuning the positions of signs and posters brilliantly designed by David Cross, who has worked on lots of Bridging Arts projects.

Monday 16 February 2015

Final touches to Heart of Conflict exhibition

Setting up the Heart of Conflict exhibition today with staff at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth - exciting!! Opens tomorrow...

Valerie Grigg's impressive World War One collection

With Valerie Grigg of Camborne, after starting to set up our Heart of Conflict exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth. Mrs Grigg has a huge and impressive collection of World War One memorabilia. Her interest in the War was sparked by a remark made by her mother about her grandmother. Her grandfather, she was told, went off to war when her grandmother was nine months old, and returned four years later. Nothing more was known.
Mrs Grigg has since unearthed a treasure trove of information, part of which is on display at Heart of Conflict.

Friday 13 February 2015

Historian Paddy Bradley shares his knowledge

A fascinating visit to Paddy Bradley, a Redruth historian who has a fantastic collection of photographs and documents. I had expected to talk mostly about the three rugby matches played at the Front between Cornwall and Devon soldiers after Camborne Rugby Club sent out a rugby ball.
But in fact Paddy knew a lot, too, about Redruth Wesleyan Young Men's Bible Club and their leader, Harry Rich. We are borrowing letters written from members of the Bible Class from the County Records Office, Truro, to display at our exhibition Heart of Conflict at the Cornish Studies LIbrary, Redruth.
Paddy had several photographs of this Young Men's Clubs outings before the war, and the aforementioned Mr Rich. Fantastic.

Completing audio guide

Friday morning - back at Azook, Pool, to put final touches to the audio guide for our exhibition Heart of Conflict opening next Tuesday. 

Wednesday 11 February 2015

A Fletcher family photo: memories of World War One

A lovely photo received from Camborne Guides, who have been interviewing Betty Fletcher of Praze WI.
Mrs Fletcher's grandfather-in-law Ernie is in the centre of this photo. He signed up early in World War One and played in the three rugby matches organised at the Front after Camborne Rugby Club sent out a ball.
In the photo, he is flanked by his grandson Gerald (left) and son Leslie (right).
The Guides' interview with Betty Fletcher is part of our Heart of Conflict project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project exhibition opens at the Cornish Studies LIbrary, Redruth, next Tuesday.

Saturday 7 February 2015

An early morning conversation at Paddington Station

Getting off the sleeper in a daze see the soldier who never sleeps on Platform One at London's Paddington Station. To my astonishment I realise that he can now speak: this is a 'talking statue'.

Despite the fact that it is 0640 am and they have not been able to serve tea on the train due to scheduling difficulties, stop to listen. It's very touching. If you get the chance, tune in when you next pass.

Friday 6 February 2015

Embroidered cards and family photos tell poignant story

Collect two embroidered postcards and family photographs from Linda Barraclough of Praze WI. We will put these on display at our Heart of Conflict exhibition, opening at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, on February 17 2015.
The postcards were sent home at Christmas and are very touching. Something about the stitched messages to wife and children is so poignant.
Linda has written an account of her grandmother's experiences during the war: at one stage she scrubbed steps in Liverpool (where she lived) to make ends meet. 

Thursday 5 February 2015

War graves at Tuckingmill Church

It is a grey day.
Continuing our survey of wartime graves, we visit Tuckingmill Church. We believe that Fred Negus is buried here (Fred served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the war and was a miner at Dolcoath) but we fail to find the grave.
There are in this graveyard a remarkable number of war graves, mostly from World War Two.

This one is from World War One. The design of these war graves is simple and striking: is it by Lutyens? To be researched.

Visit to Penponds Church graveyard

Continuing our survey of memorials to World War One dead: Penponds Church today.
Here the memorial is unusual as it is part of the church - in the church porch.

Money to create this was raised by Canon James Sims Carah, vicar of Penponds from 1896 to 1935. County Records Office (we visited recently as part of Heart of Conflict.)Canon Carah kept meticulous records of collections for individuals, which can be viewed at the County Records office, which we visited recently as part of the Heart of Conflict project.  Local businessman Craig Carey-Clinch, who attends Penponds Church, has done extensive research on the names: we will be featuring this in our Heart of Conflict.exhibition at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth later this month.
In the graveyard, we spot a grave linked with World War One: a man who died several years after returning from wounds suffered on the Front.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

A visit to Beacon and photographs from the Front

A very exciting visit this afternoon to Beacon to visit Chris Negus, the grandson of Fred Negus who played in one of the three rugby matches on the Front - between Cornish and Devon soldiers.
Chris has photographs and also a bugle brought back from his grandfather from the war.
Fred Negus died in 1941 at the age of 58. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was badly gassed: Chris believes this contributed to his relatively early death.

We will be displaying this bugle in our exhibition, Heart of Conflict, opening at the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth on February 17 2015.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Search for Chester Trelease's grave

Back in search of graves and memorials related to people's stories that are emerging in our Heart of Conflict project....
Today back to St Euny Church with Bridging Arts volunteer, Mike Matthews.
We are looking for the grave of Chester Trelease, who wrote a letter back to Redruth Wesleyan Chapel from the Front in 1918.
We find  his name on his mother's grave in the churchyard.
However, he is buried in Franvillers, France, a long way from home.

Photo of Redruth Wesleyan Chapel needed for exhibition

A quick stop on a tricky corner in Redruth: we need a photo of Redruth Wesleyan Chapel to illustrate panels in the exhibition.
We will be displaying at Heart of Conflict (courtesy of the County Records Office) various letters written back home from members of the Young Men's Bible Class there who signed up during World War One.
The Chapel looms like a huge ship over the station, and is bedecked with scaffolding at the moment.

By the door is a tablet of Aberdeen and Cornish granite with names of the dead, including that of Chester Trelease whose grave is at St Euny Church: we plan to visit it later in the day.

A library can be more than just a library

An early morning visit to the Cornish Studies Library. A meeting was planned there but snow has fallen in the night and higher roads in the Camborne/Redruth area are treacherous so we postpone until tomorrow.
 I have a chance to look at the  glass cases in the exhibition space with Kim Cooper: Heart of Conflict is due to open on Tuesday 17 February.
This library is more than just a library: while I'm there an elderly man calls by just to say that he'd seen a piece in Interiors magazine this month featuring a Cornish house. He thought they would like to know.
Regulars are deeply engrossed in study.
A unexpected bonus: Cornwall Libraries are divesting their stocks of Cornish church guides and I find one on Paul Church published by the Newlyn Press in 1910.

Visited Paul Church late last year to talk to the vicar, Andrew Yates, about his work there and the remarkable memorial window to one of the Bolitho family. Andrew helped to get Bridging Arts projects with migrant workers and local people off the ground in west Cornwall.

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