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.
Despite several other events happening in St Agnes, many St Agnes Museum Stewards enjoyed their private Coffee Morning at the Museum on Saturday 3 November to celebrate another successful season. Thanked by Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, for their hard work and enthusiasm, it was their first opportunity to view the portrait of Tony Giles by Ken Symonds recently bought for the Museum collection.
Stewards’ coffee morning
Shop Manager, Mike Furness, recalled a stunning year with record overall sales of £7232 and the best ever month for sales with £1402 raised in September. Sales are already £861 ahead of last year with the Winter Coffee Morning in the Church Hall on Saturday 17 November still to come. In the light-hearted contest between Stewards, the Wednesday Wonders were in Bronze position with £995 of sales, the Saturday Supershots in Silver with £1075 and the Friday Fireballs in Gold with £1186.
The Museum has closed for the season having welcomed 5168 visitors, with several group visits to come. We welcome group visits out of season whenever possible. Last year we welcomed 5010 visitors.
Our visitors came from all over the United Kingdom and from 24 different countries. The most overseas visitors came from Australia (61), many seeking information on their mining ancestors, followed by Germany (59) and the USA (52). Most American visitors came from California, and, again, many were researching their family history. There were smaller numbers of visitors from Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and single visitors came from many countries including Hungary, Portugal and Finland. Closer to home, there were many visitors from St Agnes, some who had lived here for many years but never visited before.
So many visitors commented on their warm welcome, the helpful information they were given, the help with family history and the enjoyment of the Cuckoo Hunt. There was particular praise for the surfing exhibition and a request that it remains for 2019. It will!
Here are a few of the comments:
- Very helpful information about walks and tides
- Extremely welcoming staff
- What miners endured!
- Should have visited years ago
- Came to visit my great great grandparents who have a headstone in the burial ground
- You made us and the kids so very welcome
- Inspired by the painted door, off home to get the paints out
- Interactive screen is brilliant
- Very interesting. Shame no large print or audio descriptions
- Splendid to see myself as a museum piece (Tris Cokes, surfboard maker)
- Came to see the surfboard exhibition – great, please, please leave this another year – friends from Aus and NZ will be coming
Museum stalwart, John Branfield, has decided to retire after an amazing twenty years as a Museum Steward. John will be greatly missed for his scholarship, warm welcome to all, and a gentle sense of humour, but we will still benefit from his experience and enthusiasm in many ways. Enjoy a restful Friday morning John!
John Branfield on his last day
Here are some of John’s favourite moments in his own words.
“It has always been satisfying to see the obvious enjoyment most visitors take in the Museum, showing their appreciation in their comments in the Visitors’ Book. I have been interested in foreign visitors, where they were from and what drew them to St Agnes. I have enjoyed the look of wonder on the faces of children when they see the size of the turtle and feel hope for the future in their response to the story of how this magnificent creature was killed by a plastic bag in the sea. I remember a beautiful drawing that a 12-year-old girl made sitting at the tiny desk, her response to the mining cabinet. Of particular pleasure have been the local people who have come in with stories of characters and places, and objects in their possession. In the last few minutes of my last morning I met a woman who has a sketchbook by Tony Giles – and who is willing to lend it to next year’s exhibition.”
St Agnes Local Improvements Committee has very generously awarded the Museum a grant of £1000 to purchase a small, very secure case in which to display small items of value and which we hope will be in use at the start of next season. The Museum is very appreciative of the Committee’s continuing support.