Canadian Memorial Cross update

Late last year the Museum purchased a Canadian Memorial Cross, complete with box and certificate, awarded to St Agnes man, Alfred Noall. It came with a chain which everyone assumed was how it was worn. However, Museum friend and former Steward, Les Donnithorne, is a medal collector and was in touch with a fellow collector in Canada who knew that the correct way for the medal to be worn was with a 10″ purple ribbon. He has generously sent Les the correct ribbon as a donation to the Museum.

Canadian Memorial Cross

We look forward to showing the medal correctly displayed as soon as the Museum can open.

A welcome uplift

In the midst of the second lockdown we were delighted to have some cheerful news when our Assistant Curator, Philip Mitchell, first spotted, and then bid for, Alfred Quick Noall’s Canadian Memorial Cross in a London auction.

Alfred Quick Noall’s Canadian Memorial Cross

Alfred was born in St Ives in 1895 but by 1911 he was a tin dresser living with his parents in St Agnes. His father was a Coastguard and the family lived at 1, Coastguard Station, St Agnes. Alfred was attested for the Canadian Army on 12 April 1916 in Jarvis, Ontario. He joined the Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Private and was killed in action on 12 September 1917, aged 22. He was buried in the Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France, and is commemorated on both St Agnes War Memorial and the Parish Church War Memorial and Roll of Honour.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal as well as the Canadian Memorial Cross.

Philip successfully bid for the silver medal, sold for hammer price of £140, on 12 November 2020. The cost was borne by some very kind donors to whom we are extremely grateful. Until now the Museum did not have a Canadian Memorial Cross. 

Isaac Rogers’ “Obnoxious Smelting House”, Porthtowan

A Museum Steward has made a fascinating donation to the Museum, having found discarded in undergrowth on a hedge in Porthtowan what seems to be a Georgian stamp for tin ingots from a tin smelting works owned by Isaac Rogers. It is small, but quite heavy, the back is hollow and had been affixed with two now rusty screws/nails.

Isaac Rogers, an investor in Wheal Lushington, was a London adventurer and principal shareholder in a tin smelting works that began operations in the Porthtowan valley early in 1811. During this time, smelters were expected to stockpile a certain amount of their tin at a lower price to satisfy a long standing commitment to the East India Company who, in the latter part of the 18th century, had established a very useful market in China at a time when Cornish tin mining needed all the help it could get. However, when the price of tin was high, there was more money to be made in the home market, so Rogers initially refused to join in with the tin stocking arrangement. The consternation that Rogers’ decision caused evidently led to a fall in the price of tin and distress among the working tinners. J. G. Thomas writes: “Such was the feeling against him that ‘above a thousand working tinners assembled and destroyed some ladders and other materials’ belonging to the works and a resolution was adopted to send no more tin to ‘the obnoxious smelting house’[RCG 15.2.1812].”  (J. G. Thomas, 1974, Journal of the Trevithick Society, No.2, p71). Under considerable pressure, Rogers was eventually persuaded to tow the line but the operation at Porthtowan was in any event short lived and stopped smelting early in 1814. 

We hope to do some more research on our tin stamp and have it on display when we are able to reopen.