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When the Lights Went Out: Wartime Newlyn November 2014

Written by archive. Posted in Newlyn Archive News

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The last Open Day of 2014 was a huge success with 169 visitors enjoying the exhibition of wartime photographs and memorabilia from Newlyn Archive.

The main display focussed on the two great wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 with many Newlyn families represented in both conflicts. Amongst these was the Harvey family represented by five generations of men and women! Although fewer women were represented in the armed forces, they played their part in both world wars and certainly bore the brunt of the responsibility 'when the lights went out' at home.

Alongside the display we were able to offer the considerable expertise of Denny Harvey and Pete Joseph who manned the scanner and internet link, the latter enabling people to search some of the war time records to find family information. David Tredinnick also had a wide selection of interesting second hand books to sell alongside our usual archive classics. We also had a raffle and Mrs Evans was the lucky person to win the beautiful framed print of Walter Langley's 'Between the Tides'. Best of all was the amazing selection of cakes made by Amanda Thompson and her mum to raise funds for the archive.

When the Open Day ended the AGM took place and in the evening to round off the year's events we had the usual entertainment for Friends at the Newlyn Gallery. This was the informative and hilarious 'Sending Saffron to Tommy', written and presented by Andrew Gordon about Newlyn during the First World War. There was some great interaction between the master of ceremonies and the audience, some of whom had been inveigled to take part in the presentation. The audience found the event most enjoyable and great fun although at times they felt the pathos of events and were reminded of the tragedy of war.

The AGM Entertainment was a fitting end to what has been momentous year for the archive with tremendous success on all fronts. We have had grants in excess of £5000 which have boosted the content of the archive enormously and also enabled us to improve the storage and display of items. The funding has also underwritten the production of our new book, Newlyn at Play and we hope that sales from this will keep the archive afloat comfortably in the coming year.

Let me remind you about what we have in the three sections of the archive. There are 1448 items listed in the Art Archive. You will remember that this was increased drastically by the incorporation of the West Cornwall Art Archive last year and this year we have integrated the art section from the Lamorna Archive.

In the Lamorna section of the Archive we have 1320 items. This was boosted at the last open day, 'When Newlyners Walked to Lamorna' which encouraged a number of people to come forward with new material.

The Newlyn Archive continues to grow even though we have moved material to do with Lamorna and Art into the other two sections. We have 5090 items catalogued. Many of these are collections rather than single items.

We have a considerable collection of newspaper cuttings that are all listed on a searchable data base. We also have a library containing 286 books, a film library with 55 films and a new audio library with 23 recordings. The latter is a new venture and we have started to copy and transcribe audio tapes that are significant to the history of Newlyn or Lamorna.

Next year we will have 4 open days and we are trying some new topics so please help us out. On February 7 2015 (in anticipation of Valentine's Day) is 'Love and Marriage in a Fishing Village'; on April 11 2015, is 'Farming the Forgotten Trade'; on July 18 2015, is 'When the Quarry Guns Sounded'; and on October 2-3 2015 (two days), is 'Where the artists lived in Newlyn & Lamorna'.