An amazing gift

St Agnes Museum feels extremely honoured to have been given this gold watch, a precious family heirloom, by Miss Ruth Pearce who wanted it to be conserved and its mining history kept alive.

American railroad pocket watch

Gold watch

The watch was purchased by Walter Henry Goard, Ruth’s uncle, while he was mining in America. His initials are engraved on the back.

We are very grateful to the Tufnells, Ruth’s good friends, who researched the watch’s origins and family history, and took this photograph.

It is an American “Railroad” pocket watch, with a Hamilton movement and a 14 carat three-coloured gold keystone case, set with a small diamond. It has an English chain and locket with photographs of two children, yet to be identified. We would love to know who they were.

The watch was made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in around 1911 and we will be displaying it, together with more information, in our brand new cabinet bought with generous help from the Local Improvements Committee.

Annette Bulkley Vase

The Museum is very excited to have acquired its first example of St Agnes potter Annette Bulkley’s work, thanks to Tom Thompson’s purchase of this little vase on eBay.

Annette Bulkley vase

Annette Bulkley vase

The Bulkley sisters, Annette (b.1868) and Helen (b.1870), had moved permanently to St Agnes in about 1922, making pottery and founding their studio at Wayside, which continued until at least 1937.

The Museum has several examples of Helen’s work, in its characteristic chunky style and vibrant turquoise colour (obtained from local copper which she sought out herself) but had no examples of Annette’s work until now. Possibly her output was less as she became very involved in caring for the countryside around St Agnes. She was a Committee Member of the St Agnes Countryside Protection and the Old Cornwall Society, and in 1934 was one of the honorary secretaries when the Council for the Preservation of Rural England fought to prevent housing being built on open spaces nearby, including at the iconic St Agnes Head.

Annette’s vase shares the same turquoise lustre as seen in her sister’s work but is finer and more delicate.

Annette died in 1944 and Helen in 1955. They gave Wayside and their two cottages to the National Trust who continues to own them to this day.

Museum Winter Coffee Morning

The Museum held a record breaking Coffee Morning in the Church Hall on Saturday morning 17 November when £665 was raised for Museum funds and a further £380 taken in subscriptions giving a record total of £1045.

Cards for sale at the Museum coffee morning

Cards for sale at the Museum coffee morning

Stallholders were enjoyably busy all morning with the stall selling new items from the Museum Shop, taking an astonishing £230, including some of these locally produced cards.

The Museum is so grateful to everyone who supported the event in any way.

A Tribute to Henry Jennings DCM

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice, St Agnes Parish Council has funded and erected a granite headstone on the unmarked grave of Henry Jennings DCM, his sisters and his mother in St Agnes Cemetery. The stone symbolically commemorates all those servicemen and women of St Agnes Parish, including Henry, who returned from the Great War and resumed their civilian lives, some like Henry decorated for their gallantry, and recovered from their wounds.

Granite headstone on the unmarked grave of Henry Jennings DCM

Granite headstone on the grave of Henry Jennings DCM

On Saturday 10 November Henry’s two nephews, Joseph Sawle (89) and his brother Martin (86), together with other members of the family, travelled to St Agnes to lay a wreath at the headstone in the presence of the Chair of St Agnes Parish Council, Jinny Clark, and several members of Museum Committee who had become involved in research into the life and war record of Henry Jennings, and tracing his descendants. Philip Mitchell laid flowers on behalf of the Museum. Joseph’s grandson, Scott Turnbull, read Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen.

Henry was the subject of a short Cornish-made documentary film called Cornish Tommies being widely shown locally around the time of the Armistice. Part of the film was shot at the Museum with volunteers Joan Bunt and Philip Mitchell taking part.

After the ceremony the group returned to the Museum for refreshments. Roger Radcliffe thanked everyone for coming and paid tribute to the determined research of Museum Curator, Clare Murton.

Threemilestone School visit Museum

Fifty-nine Year 6 pupils and nine adults from Threemilestone School were given a private viewing at St Agnes Museum on Thursday 8 November to add a local dimension to their study of the Great War.

They visited St Agnes War Memorial and the Methodist Church, the local cemetery and the Museum itself, to piece together some stories of the men and women of St Agnes who had contributed to the war effort.

One of the stories featured was that of St Agnes mining engineer, Harold Llewellyn Twite who led a team of Cornish miners from the 183rd (Tunnelling Company) of the Royal Engineers to successfully detonate an explosion under enemy lines only to be killed along with nine other men hours later in an explosion.

Another story told of Nurse Ada Garland and her miraculous escape when the hospital ship on which she was tending the wounded was sunk in enemy action.

The children also learned how two local horses were hidden underground to prevent them being requisitioned by the army.

Returning to school full of stories, the children will long remember their visit to St Agnes Museum.