Before Cryséde

On 21 October the Archive organised a talk in the Trinity Centre by Janet Axten, a St Ives historian.  Janet talked about Newlyn in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the women who helped create the international silk company.

Cryséde started life in Newlyn because the owners identified a potential workforce of young women who already had the dressmaking skills they required.  This fact came as a surprise to most of the St Ives people who attended Janet’s earlier talk in Porthmeor, who had always assumed Cryséde was a St Ives business. 

Much of Janet’s research for the talk took place in the Boathouse during lockdown and Pam’s new book, ‘NEWLYN – When the Artists Came’, was an essential source.

48 people attended the talk and its success was immediately evidenced by the number of people crowding round Janet at the end.  One lady even produced a somewhat damaged dress made from Cryséde silk that had been worn by her mother.  After the event, we learnt that Alfred Smith, the first owner of the eponymous Penzance department store, was a Director of Cryséde.  Janet is now extending her research in the extensive family records held by the current owners.

Janet kindly donated the net proceeds of the meeting to Archive funds, amounting to just under £200.