One of the delights of Newlyn Archive exhibitions is the willingness of visitors to contribute their own treasured memories and valuable information to the rich variety of displays. This happened at the latest two-day event, Newlyn and the Sea, held on Friday and Saturday 11-12 April 2014 at Trinity Centre in Newlyn. Poignant and evocative photographs prompted many of the 300 attendees to add their comments and family recollections to the developing fund of archive material already available.
The rich heritage of Newlyn's relationship with the sea was magnificently illustrated by fascinating photographic displays and informative captions. The lives of Newlyn's master mariners, the epic voyages of The Rosebud and The Mystery, the vital role played by the post war Stevenson' trawler fleet, the bravery of lifeboat crews and stories of shipwrecks and smuggling, captured the interest of viewers and, as ever, provoked animated discussion. A remarkable film record of the tragic loss of the Penlee lifeboat, along with an account of the vital role of The Fishermen's Mission provided a sad reminder of the sacrifice many have made in coming to the aid of our brave seamen.
A welcome addition to our numbers came from a well organised visit from the Cornwall Women's Institute. More than ninety of its members enjoyed tours of the town conducted by five Friends of the Archive. The visitors relished the opportunity to explore some of Newlyn's quaint streets and to discover more about the town's rich history. Pam Lomax gave an excellent lecture to the visitors on both afternoons. Many were prompted to plan further visits to explore the area at their leisure. Several wrote, 'I'll be back to explore more' and commented on 'lovely glimpses of the past'.
Alongside the exhibition there was a new and used book stall and a cake stall that offered some much appreciated temptations. (The mint cup cake rivalled its imitators at the National Gallery in London!) Saturday was a busy day for those who run the Centre and we were grateful for the support and refreshments provide by Jerry and his friendly assistants.
One visitor summed up the exhibition by commenting that it had whetted her appetite for further study. There can be no better measure of the success of an exhibition and it highlights one of the important roles of any archive. (Review from AG).