Welcome to the Autumn 2018 edition of the Kresen Kernow e-newsletter. We hope you all had a good summer, and enjoy reading what we've been up to.
The Archives and Cornish Studies Service Team
Construction work is continuing to go well on the Kresen Kernow site. The historic Brewhouse and the new archive store and staff areas have now been linked internally and across the roof, so the huge temporary cover over the central section of the building has come down. Much of the external scaffolding has also been removed, finally revealing how the finished building will look. It’s a mix of repaired and repointed original granite and stonework, and modern concrete cladding (on the strongrooms), all under a roof that echoes that of the Brewery when it was last in use. Inside, the original granite flagstones have been re-laid in the exhibition area in the Brewhouse and many of the internal walls are being plastered. The final layer of flooring has been poured in the archive store rooms and our 14 miles of shelving is currently being installed. We’ve been busy choosing wall colours, carpets, desk and work top finishes, as well as finalising designs for the exhibition spaces.
Our existing sites - Cornwall Record Office and the Cornish Studies Library - closed earlier in September to free staff up to prepare our collections for the move. We have around 1.5 million items to move, which includes over 100 000 books, 40 000 maps and 220 000 photographs and postcards. Needless to say we have plenty to keep us busy over the next few months!
Events and Activities Update
We've had a busy time of it lately as earlier in September we closed Cornwall Record Office and the Cornish Studies Library for the final time. We marked both closures with cream tea events for invited guests, and David Thomas gave his final tour of the Record Office strongrooms which, after 54 years of use, are really overflowing. Although our collections are currently unavailable for public access, we are still running an enquiries and copies service. For more information please visit our website.
In September we also welcomed visitors to the Kresen Kernow site for free hard hat tours to see the latest progress with the building. They were able to admire the vast strongrooms, skylight with a chimney view and really see how the spaces fit together and the centre will work. There will be more tours in the new year, visit our What's On page or find us on social media to keep most up to date with future events and activities.
While we are closed staff are busy packaging our collections in preparation for the move. We've got 1.5 million items to move, so staff and volunteers are wrapping fragile volumes and delicate maps to prepare them for the journey. We'll be covering some of this work on social media so do find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @kresenkernow if you are interested.
Just as we prepare to move out of the Record Office we received a new accession from a former neighbour! The Truro County School for Girls (and successors) occupied the site where Sainsbury’s is now from 1906-1993. Included in the donation are 17 school magazines covering 1923-1962. These report on the broad range of activities on offer to the girls including sports, Brownies and Guides, music and drama. Other pieces include poems, stories and diaries written by pupils and news of former staff and 'old girls'. They show how widely the girls travelled with places visited including North Wales, Yorkshire, Austria, France and Engelberg in Switzerland where they went up a mountain in a cable car (collection reference AD2580).
Two new titles at the Cornish Studies Library have a Falmouth connection. Osborne's: Falmouth's unique photographic family by Peter Searle (published by National Maritime Museum Cornwall, 2018), tells the story of the Falmouth Osborne family who were leading photographers for four generations spanning 100 years. The book gives an insight into their lives and highlights a selection of images from the family’s photographic collection recording the life of Falmouth from the 1870s to the 1980s. The Osborne Studios were at Arwenack Street from 1873 to 1984 and the family's images cover street scenes, harbour life and events including the arrival of the circus to the town with elephants and camels parading through the streets from Falmouth Station.
Falmouth Lifeboat: 150 years of saving lives at sea 1867-2017 by David Barnicoat and Simon Culliford (published by Falmouth RNLI, 2017) is a well-illustrated book celebrating the people and lifeboats that are part of the history of the Falmouth Lifeboat Station. Covering the Station's century and a half of operations, it details all the lifeboats that have served there, from the first called 'The City of Gloucester' (1867 to 1887) to today's lifeboat, 'Richard Cox Scott', which began service in 2015, as well as coxswains and rescues.
As we close the Record Office after 54 years, it seems a good opportunity to look back on one of the men who started it all.
As a social historian and proud Cornishman, Alfred Kenneth Hamilton-Jenkin played an integral role in the campaign for a Cornish record office. Today our collections include not only Jenkin’s invitation to the Record Office’s opening event, but also his 1964 lecture notes on the importance of preserving old documents. Originating from Redruth, Jenkin had always had a particular interest in Cornish mining practices. After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1922, he began his scholarly career, producing works and lectures on various aspects of Cornish life. His publication ‘Mines and Miners of Cornwall’ is considered among his most significant.
Jenkin was also a founding member of the Cornish Gorseth. Not only did he write about Cornish distinctiveness, he also campaigned to preserve it and believed a record office for Cornwall was a vital part of this, as outlined in his 1964 lecture. Kresen Kernow continues to build on these aspirations.