St Agnes Museum’s Annual General Meeting 2024

St Agnes Harbour by Mabel Keighley

22 February 2024

St Agnes Museum Trust held its 40th Annual General Meeting at the Methodist Church Hall on 22 February. Welcomed by the Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, Members were given an update on the Constitution, explaining that the Museum had joined the Co-op Bank, and the Bank required the status of the Trustees to be clarified, as follows. He explained that the Committee of twelve were Managing Trustees, and that there were also Holding Trustees who signed the Lease and whose numbers the Museum wished to increase from 5 to 7 in order to satisfy the Bank. The additional Holding Trustees are Nicholas Roberts, Philip Mitchell, Rozen Whitworth and Tom Whitworth. Members were overwhelmingly in favour.

Treasurer, David Teagle, reported total receipts of £20,513, total payments of £20,876, giving a negative balance of £362. The Museum started the year with a bank balance of £38,357, ending with £37,994. The new Lease required payment of £723 to Pullen Davies, Solicitors. £10,500 had been set aside as a fighting fund for roof repairs. Gift Aid had raised £1,815. Subscriptions will remain the same from January 2025 although the cost of the Journal has doubled.

Curator, Clare Murton, said that our Accreditation with the Arts Council remained valid. We were 80% ready for it when it needed to be renewed. She had received much help throughout the year, particularly from Tracy Dumper and Duke of Edinburgh participant, Luke Jones. Recording the headstones on one side of the cemetery had been completed – a great help for those seeking information on their ancestors. Next season there would be an enlarged mining display with mineral specimens. She hoped to update the touchscreen in the long term. The Museum’s two John Opie paintings are currently being restored and will be returned for the Museum’s reopening. Among gifts received were two framed paintings of St Agnes Harbour, an oil painting by Boscastle-born Mabel Keighley, better known as a miniaturist, and a watercolour by Richard H Carter of Truro, a pair of bloomers, and two signed prints by Jo Pollock.

Membership Secretary, Mary Wilson, announced 287 Members, 19 more than last year.

The Chairman thanked the whole Committee, Rota Organiser, John Oaksford, and volunteer Tracy Dumper. He said that priorities were to begin a new 30-year Lease, opening up possibilities of grant aid. He urged everyone to consider volunteering.

The following were re-elected as Officers: Chairman, Roger Radcliffe; Vice Chairman, Clive Benney; Treasurer, David Teagle and Secretary, Jackie Cotton, and the following Committee Members were re-elected en bloc: Colin Harris, Nicholas Roberts, Mary Wilson, Peter Thomas, Steve Roberts, Liz Thompson, Mike Furness and Clare Murton. Claire Morgan, FMAAT, of Champion Accountancy was reappointed as Auditor.

After refreshments and a chance to browse the pop-up Museum Shop, Neil Roberts gave a thoroughly researched and detailed illustrated talk on the St Agnes Home Guard 1940-45. He recalled Anthony Eden’s radio broadcast on 14 May 1940 calling for men aged 17-65 to register for the Local Defence Volunteers. Initially there were no uniforms, no equipment, no service weapons and no organisation. Army combat dress became available in 1940/41. Fourteen battalions were raised across Cornwall. St Agnes Parish was designated “E Company of the 11th (Newquay) Battalion with 5 platoons and over 200 men overall. The headquarters of the 11th (Newquay) Battalion was at Trerice. E Company had a chough as its emblem with the motto “Eyes Everywhere”. Among their headquarters were the former Parish Rooms in Churchtown, Cannonball Farm in Beacon Road and the Trevellas Men’s Institute. The observation post for 25 Platoon in St Agnes Village was St Agnes Castle above Cleaderscroft. At one time the Miners’ & Mechanics’ Institute was used to store arms.

Thanking Neil, Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, said “the level of detail gives an indication of his research”.

Come to the St Agnes Museum AGM 2024

St Agnes Home Guard 1940-1945
St Agnes Home Guard 1940-1945

The 40th Annual General Meeting of the St Agnes Museum Trust will be held on Thursday 22 February at 7.30pm in the Methodist Church Hall, British Road, St Agnes.

After the business, there will be an interval when tea/coffee will be served before Neil Roberts of St Agnes will give an illustrated talk, “St Agnes Home Guard 1940-1945” beginning at approximately 8.15pm. Visitors will be most welcome for whom there will be a small charge of £1.

Winter coffee morning raises amazing £1K!

The early morning rain stopped in time for the Museum’s Winter Coffee Morning in the Church Hall on Saturday 18 November. It was very busy with visitors enjoying a coffee and the stalls which included homemade cakes, the Museum Shop stall (ideal for Christmas presents), an extensive Cornish bookstall, amongst which was a rare first edition edition of Maurice Bizley’s “Friendly Retreat”, a toy stall and a raffle.  

The raffle made £140, the Museum Shop an amazing £212 and the toy stall £152. The total raised was a very pleasing £1032 including Membership subscriptions of £265. Five new Members joined.

The Museum is very grateful to everyone who came or who helped in any way.

Thank you coffee morning for Museum stewards

On Saturday 4 November, 28 of the Stewards, who had kept the Museum open 
seven days a week for seven months, were warmly welcomed by Chairman, 
Roger Radcliffe, and Shop Manager, Mike Furness, to a “Thank You” Coffee 
Morning at St Agnes Museum. It was a chance for Stewards to meet and chat.

Mike Furness thanked all the Stewards for such a good season, with very 
few problems and many positive comments from visitors. The new shop has 
really improved the Museum’s look. Visitor numbers (4,954) were up about 
300 on last year.

The most visitors welcomed – 851 – were by the Monday Marvels, and the 
best sales day was on 10 August when the Thursday Titans sold £174.35 
worth of goods.  The busiest day for visitors was 9 August when 77 
visitors were welcomed.

Sales in the Shop totalled £9,675, online sales £497, the Coffee Mornings 
£193 and Sunday sales £262.  This gave a total of £10,627, including £795 
in donations and Membership fees.  This was down about £1,300 on last 
year but the difference relates almost exactly to the drop in income 
while the online shop was closed. This gave a profit towards Museum 
funds of approximately £4,000 – or half the Museum’s electricity bill!

Among the Museum stock, the best sellers were Blue Hills tin, with 
Tormark Books in second place and local author Clive Benney’s books in 
third. The Museum had 46 different suppliers, all but four of them Cornish.

The light-hearted team placings were as follows:

  • •  Bronze position with sales of £1494 – the Friday Fireballs
  • •  Silver position with sales of £1626 – the Wednesday Wonders
  • •  Gold position with sales of £1753 – the Thursday Titans.

There was an appreciative round of applause for Mike Furness.

Membership Secretary, Mary Wilson, organised the refreshments which were 
much appreciated.

Our busy 2023 season saw visitors from 25 countries

St Agnes Museum welcomed 4,954 visitors in 2023, a 7.5% increase on last 
year’s total of 4,610. This was very pleasing, especially since there 
were fewer visitors to Cornwall this year. Perhaps we were helped by 
the poor weather and the fact that admission is free. One of the 
abiding memories of visitors’ comments was their universal praise for 
our Stewards.

Visitors came from all over the United Kingdom, with many local 
visitors, some saying that they had lived in St Agnes for many years but 
had not visited before. A good number were repeat visitors. They had 
learned of the Museum in many different ways, but a common theme was the 
signs at the gate.

The Museum was like a mini United Nations with visitors from 25 
different countries signing the Visitors’ Book. Sometimes there was 
only one visitor, as in the case of Chile (someone searching for his 
Gripe ancestor) and Hungary, but there were many more in the most 
represented countries; Australia (37 signatures), the USA (43) and most 
of all, Germany (52). Seventeen States were represented in the USA with 
California having the most visitors (12), while most Australians came 
from Melbourne, one tracing his Tonkin family ancestor.

The comments in the Visitors’ Book were so appreciative of so many 
aspects of the Museum. Here is just a small sample:-

  • St Agnes Museum is an absolute gem.
  • A wonderful and informative visit, researching Family Tree.
  • Loved the surfboards and cuckoo hunt.
  • Love the turtle and the olden days body boards (a young visitor).
  • Fantastic volunteers.
  • Wanted to find out more about Rosemundy House where I was born in 
  • the 1950s.
  • Full of fascinating exhibits displayed with skill, enthusiasm and 
  • creativity. An example to other museums.
  • Great for the kids. They loved the cuckoo trail.
  • We loved the VR. Going to look back in time was amazing.
  • Fantastic records.
  • Interesting to see the Opie paintings.
  • Always a pleasure. A real asset to Cornwall and the World Heritage 
  • Site.
  • Good to see the local GPs contribution acknowledged.
  • Stellar exhibits, wonderful conversation.

Not only did we benefit from visitors in person, we had an outstanding 
response to a submission to the World Heritage Site Facebook page. When 
it was posted on the site on 19 July there were 3,450 viewings. Our 
submission had highlighted the Cuckoo Hunt and the surfboard display in