Carnivals became a regular feature of Newlyn life after the Perkin Warbeck Pageant of 1906, which was part of a wider set of seaside pageants and involved most members of the community from the fish dealers and fishermen, to the artist community and other residents of Newlyn. 'Newlyn Pirates' was one of the carnival floats in1938, the last Newlyn carnival before world war two. The nine men dressed as pirates with a Union Jack include Bry Paul, Arthur Harvey, Frank Rowe, Tommy Thomas, Andrew Harvey, Billy Stevenson, Jacky Cocks and Thornton Trahair. It is not surprising that carnivals became popular in the twentieth century as in the nineteenth century the most important holidays were celebrated with the Galas arranges by the church and chapels of Newlyn and took place alongside Sunday school tea treats and other celebrations. These Galas were painted by the Newlyn artists; Frank Bramley also painted the actual banner used in the Primitive Methodist Band of Hope parades that were part of their Gala Day. Choirs were also part of church and chapel activities; later the Newlyn Male Voice Choir was formed, sadly disbanded in 2014 after more than three quarters of a century of singing. There were Regattas in Mount's Bay, in which the fishermen masters of the old luggers excelled, and the Newlyn Harbour Sports which included swimming, rowing and lots of fun events. On land there were fairs and other festivities, and the all important Newlyn Rugby team whose home ground was St Goulders Field. Click on the PDF file below to explore what is in the archive about Leisure in Newlyn.
Above: Diane Donohue and Denny Harvey were available to assist those who wished to explore their own family histories and were able to offer valuable advice and encouragement which was much appreciated.
Review by Andrew Gordon
On Saturday July 19 2014, The Newlyn Archive held another of its popular Open Days at Trinity Centre. The fascinating displays portraying entertainment, local businesses, and notable local figures offered an exciting opportunity for the 147 visitors to discover how the spirit of Newlyn is reflected in the lives and work of villagers past and present. Information and photographs of the Gaiety Cinema, the Leper Colony at Wherrytown, St Peter's Church, and The Lamorna Inn were on display, along with those of several families, including the Peakes, the Curnows, the Harveys, the Stevensons and the Lach-Szyrmas. Images revealing the once thriving stone quarry at Penlee brought back memories of mid day explosions, heavy lorries pounding through The Narrows and the seemingly endless stream of little trains carrying stone to waiting cargo ships on the South pier.
Pete Joseph was on hand to scan new material teased out of attics and cupboards by proud families and friends. A particularly exciting 'new' discovery was a medal created to celebrate the opening of the South pier in 1885. Trinity's Ebb and Flow project provided a delightful opportunity for visitors wishing to 'Spread a little Newlyn Sunshine' by recording their thoughts on the petals of a giant sunflower. They found out that the most frequently expressed view about improvement at Newlyn was that the South Pier should be re-opened to the public! David and Diane's extensive book sale was, as ever, a focus for booklovers and successfully raised much needed additional funds for the future of the Archive.
On a hot, sultry July Saturday it was encouraging to see so many visitors attending the exhibition and enjoying the refreshments provided by Gerry and his team. The considerable amount of work undertaken by Pam in preparing displays and planning the day ensured that the room buzzed with countless animated conversations as anecdotes were shared. The Archive succeeded in reflecting the true spirit of Newlyn's proud past and present.
Below: Visitors enjoyed Maurice Bishop's wonderful collection of photographs, most of which have been copied for the archive.
Thomas Cooper Gotch, A Night in June, 1910. Gotch described this painting as 'a nightpiece, a lawn with dining table lit by shaded candles, two figures at a table, other figures on a further plane drinking coffee, Japanese lanterns.' In fact the painting was done on the main lawn at Wheal Betsy, not long after the house was built. The figures in the painting are Gotch's friends including Captain Evans who is the hero of the recent film 'Summer in February'
In June 2014, teacher Margaret Follows engaged a class of children from Newlyn School as art detectives to contribute to the on-going Newlyn Archive project 'Newlyn at Play'. The detective's work began on Friday 13 June when Margaret presented the school children with a challenge. Who was Thomas Cooper Gotch? What did he look like and what did he do? Where did he live? When did he live in Newlyn? Why did he enjoy painting twilight celebrations illuminated by Japanese lanterns, like the 1910 painting 'A Night in June' shown above?
How did the art detectives investigate this mystery?
On the sunniest day in June 2014, 15 art detectives and their teacher, Ms Fitzgerald, from Newlyn School drove up Chywoone Hill in the school mini-bus. They stopped at the top of the hill. They were equipped with their evidence pack which included photographs of the artist Thomas Cooper Gotch (TCG) and his artist wife Caroline, a photo of Wheal Betsy Cottage in the 1950's, when daughter Phyllis Gotch owned it, and copies of TCG's lantern paintings and landscapes of Mounts Bay from Wheal Betsy.
What would they discover?
At the entrance to Wheal Betsy they were met by the very jovial and welcoming owner Ron Hogg. The art detectives stood on the front steps just as Thomas Gotch stood, they explored the beautiful garden and walked in the artist's footsteps, experiencing where he painted 'Night in June' and 'The Birthday Party'. They discovered where Thomas Gotch must have painted his wonderful landscapes of Mount's Bay. They even found one of Thomas Gotch's original paintings inside the house. Questions were numerous and thought provoking as they quizzed Ron about the life and times of Thomas Gotch whilst he lived in Wheal Betsy, a stunning Art & Crafts House. But the highlight of the visit for everybody was the picnic in the garden, playing on the swinging tree seats and discovering the tree house just as Phyllis and her friends might have done more than 100 years ago.
Thanks to the Coop. Above Ron Hogg (treasurer) and Tom Lodge (Vice chairman) recieve a cheque for £500 from the Co-op towards the 2014 archive project, 'When Newlyners walked to Lamorna'
It is only five months into 2014 but the Archive can celebrate achieving our funding target for the project which we have called 'When Newlyners walked to Lamorna'. The photo was taken last Friday (May 23 2014) in the Mount's Bay Room at Trinity when a cheque for £500 was handed over to chairman David Tredinnick and treasurer Ron Hogg by Tamas Haydu. Tamas, who is the Development Director of the Cornwall Community Foundation of which the Cornwall 100 Club is part, took the photograph. The other three people in the photo are Scott Bentley who is one of the sponsors of the 100 club, and Friends of the Archive Pete Joseph and Richard Seville Barnes. The Cornwall 100 Club comprises 100 businesses that have come together to financially support Cornish communities, 'making a real, positive and measurable difference within our beautiful county'.
The £500 from the Cornwall 100 Club was part of £5000 for which we sought funding. We have been very fortunate to have also received £3000 from the Heritage Lottery, £500 from the Co-operative Membership Community Fund, £300 from Cornwall Council, £250 from the Q Fund, £250 from the Lamorna Society, £150 from Penzance auctioneers Lane & Sons, and £100 from Penzance Council. We are very grateful to our sponsors for making our very exciting project possible.
So what does the project involve?
First we are doing a great deal of work reorganising the archives. Two major archives have been joined to the Newlyn Archive recently (the West Cornwall Art Archive and the Lamorna Archive) and it has become very necessary to rationalise these in terms of cataloguing and displaying material so that it more easily accessible to our Friends, members and local communities. The new catalogues will not be up and running for a while yet but eventually there will be three distinct areas in the archive, each with its own catalogue. The Newlyn Catalogue will contain material about the history of Newlyn and its people, particularly its relationships with the sea and fishing. It will continue to keep information about PZ fishing boats and their crews. The Lamorna Catalogue will contain material about the history of the Lamorna Valley, its river and quay, and the history of the people (including artists, writers and visitors) who have lived there. It will also document the history of the Lamorna Society and its members and activities. The Art Catalogue will contain the huge collection of material about aspects of West Cornwall's Art History, past and present that was part of the West Cornwall Art Archive and add to this the unique collections of material previously held in the Newlyn Archive about the Newlyn Colony of Artists and in the Lamorna Archive about the Lamorna Colony of Artists.
Secondly, we have a number of new ventures aimed to improve our three collections. 1. We have been copying a number of historical tapes kindly provided by Douglas Williams into a digital form so that they can be transcribed. Once this is done, Douglas will be producing a book about them. 2. Pam Lomax is editing the third of our series of Archive books which is about Newlyn at Play. The book covers the period from the end of the nineteenth century until the immediate post war years and will include harbour sports and regattas, carnivals, choirs, amateur dramatics and much else. The book will be available in October. We hope that anyone with stories or photographs that could be included will contact Pam. 3. Margaret Follows is liasing with teachers at Tolcarne School to give the children an opportunity to participate in a project on the theme of Newlyn at Play. 4. Anne Forrest (who is the current chair of the Lamorna Society as well as a Friend of the Newlyn Archive) is interviewing people in the community about The Good Friday Walk to Lamorna. She tells us that 'the origin of this old tradition is as obscure as it is fascinating'. Many of the ninety-year olds she has spoken to remember their parents and grandparents telling of travelling from Penzance, Paul, Mousehole, Newlyn and St Buryan to walk to Lamorna on this day, but no-one seems to know when it started. 'Was there a religious significance – the distance of the walk being similar to that of the Way of the Cross, the journey Christ took to Calvary? Was the possibility of finding a rare Lamorna Cross stone, too tempting to miss on this Holy Day? Was it just an opportunity for friends to congregate and enjoy each other's company on the one day the men would be off work, capitalising on a family day out? Or was it an eagerly awaited opportunity for boy to meet girl? It's thought that perhaps young ladies went to display their Easter bonnets and the young men to admire them... Maybe because Spring is heralded early in the little valley and as 'in the Spring a young man's fancy turn to love' what better place than Lamorna to enjoy Nature's reawakening...'
The answers to these questions may be revealed at the two-day Open Day at Trinity Centre on October 3-4 2014 which will mark the completion of the project.
BUT THERE ARE OTHER EVENTS AT THE ARCHIVE BEFORE THAT. Transcribing old tapes or talking to people who remember taking part in the Good Friday Walk has uncovered other reminiscences about the past from people who said that Newlyn or Lamorna was where they 'belong to be'. Belonging to Be is the title of the next Newlyn Archive Open Day on July 19 2014. Belonging to Be is about the places where we belong and the people that inhabit them.
Thanks to our sponsors for 2014:
Belonging to Be is the title of the next Newlyn Archive Open Day on July 19 2014. Belonging to Be is about the places where we belong and the people that inhabit them.
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).
Linda Holmes photo of the shore off Newlyn Green (above) shows what looks like a remnant of a petrified tree exposed by the storms of February 2014. James T Blight, writing in 1876, described a forest that may have extended along the coast to St Michael's Mount, which was 'a hoare rock in a wood' and five or six miles from the sea; the bay was said to have been a plain, formed into parishes, each having its church, and laid out in meadows, corn-fields, and woods'; Blight also recorded that some people thought that the story was 'monkish fable'. But the story remained embedded in local consciousness and in 1884, the Reverend Wladislaw Somerville Lach-Szyrma, also argued that there was evidence of a flood that had covered a forest and an ancient town.
The Last Open Day
There was a buzz of activity at the last Open Day, 'Those that Got Away: Newlyn's Migrants', despite a much lower attendance than usual, only 69 people managed to get along. The problem was the horrendous weather and the storms of the previous few days. Despite this, visitors seem to have had an enjoyable experience and the archive had a very productive day with many people sharing new information. We aimed to raise money as part of matched funding towards a bid we are making to the Heritage Lottery for the new project we have called 'When Newlyners walked to Lamorna' which involves the integration of the Lamorna Archive with the Newlyn Archive. In raising money, Amanda Thompson's cake stall and David Tredinnick's book stall were very successful, the former raising £80 and the latter £37. If we are successful with the lottery bid, the project will start on May 1st.
New Project, 2014
The new project aims to enhance archive facilities and broaden the community that makes use of these facilities by integrating a new dimension into the existing Newlyn Archive. The new dimension is about the Lamorna Valley and its artists, many of the latter with strong associations with Newlyn. The project will start on May 1st and concludes with a two-day event to be held in October 2014 at Trinity Centre. The two–day event will focus on the links between Newlyn and Lamorna, particularly those involving the Newlyn and Lamorna Colonies of Artists that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century and in the first part of the twentieth century. We hope to involve many groups in the community including school children and we will be recording oral histories from those with good memories.