Museum flies the flag at Coronation Day party

The Museum stall at the Miners’ & Mechanics’ Institute

Saturday 6 May 2023

The Museum was invited, along with other charities, to have a free stall  at the Miners’ & Mechanics’ Institute for an Indoor Street Party on Coronation Day when the Coronation itself was shown on a big screen in the café. A Brass Band entertained and a choir sang outside when the  televised event had ended.  The other stallholder was the Old Cornwall Society, there in a promotional capacity.

Mike and Lynn Furness brought a selection of items from the Museum Shop for our stall and Clare Murton operated Roger Radcliffe’s powerpoint with a display of local photographs. You may be able to make out Bawden Rocks on the screen in the photograph.

With his Old Cornwall Society hat on Clive Benney also displayed numerous Ken Young photographs from the 50s and 60s, a taster for his forthcoming book about Ken Young which we hope to be selling at the Museum.

Children’s activities in a side room, including “Make your own crown” were popular.

The Museum took just short of £80 and welcomed a new Member.

We are grateful to Mike, Lynn and Clare for giving up their time and “flying the flag for the Museum”.

Innovative Museum training session is huge success

Can you guess what this mystery object is? Answer below!

The Museum held a hugely successful and innovative training session, with a plentiful supply of tea and cakes, at the Miners’ & Mechanics’ Institute on Tuesday 21 March. 

Arranged by Jackie Cotton, Jain Hodson and Caroline Clifton, there were more than 30 attendees, including Committee Members as well as Stewards.  Journal Editor, Peter Thomas, was the Quiz Master, while Vice Chairman, Clive Benney, challenged everyone’s power of observation with ten photos of shops of yesteryear. Thanks to Curator, Clare Murton, there was an identification round based on eight mystery objects brought from the Museum. The one shown here is a Patten which fitted over one’s shoes to keep them above the muddy roads of the time.

To bring things to a close Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, drew everyone’s attention to the “Spirit of the Awards” trophy which the Museum recently received at the Cornwall Heritage Awards, and pointed out that it was thanks to the collective effort of all our volunteers that we had been judged worthy of such an award.

The Museum always welcomes new Stewards. If you would be interested, please visit the Home Page.

Portrait of Elizabeth Opie – a happy update

Elizabeth Opie by John Opie RA
Elizabeth Opie by John Opie RA

Last October, as you will know, the Museum launched an appeal “Bring Betty Home” to purchase the beautiful portrait of Elizabeth (Betty) Opie by her brother John Opie RA, the “Cornish Wonder”.  We were so lucky to have the chance to purchase this painting at a very generous reduced price of £9500 and to be loaned it to help with our fundraising.

We are delighted that we have been awarded both grants for which we applied and, with our own fundraising, have enough funds to purchase the painting.  The Museum has raised £1590, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund has offered a grant of £4750 and the Art Fund has awarded a grant of the full £3800 that we requested.  We also have pledges of money that we can call on.

We would like, if possible, to use the extra money to have the painting cleaned and lightly restored, as recommended in the condition report.  It feels good to “Bring Betty Home”!

Exciting wins at Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards 2023

Roger Radcliffe at the Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards 2023
Roger Radcliffe at the Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards 2023

The Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards 2023 presentation took place at the Royal Cornwall Museum on 8 February.  St Agnes Museum was represented by Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, Vice Chairman, Clive Benney, and Curator, Clare Murton. 

Clare had nominated Roger on behalf of an enthusiastic Committee for the “Leader of the Year” award for which he was one of three people from 70 Cornish museums to have been shortlisted.  Despite the stiff competition at this glittering event, Roger was awarded the “Leader of the Year “ title.  Enormous congratulations, Roger!  Both Roger and Clive were interviewed by Daphne Skinnard from Radio Cornwall.

There was also a category of which the Museum was not aware – “Spirit of the Awards”.  Cornwall Museums Partnership’s Co-Chair and representatives from the World Heritage Site Team chose organisations that they felt most encapsulated the Spirit of Cornwall Heritage Awards – a commitment to excellence in heritage, environmental sustainability and inclusion.  All the nominations in every category were appraised and three larger museums and three smaller ones were shortlisted. 

Everyone at the Museum is proud to announce that St Agnes Museum won first place in the small museums category!

The Museum's two Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards
The Museum’s two Cornwall Museums Partnership Heritage Awards

The awards, as you can see, are simple blocks of wood with the names of the award and winner.  Clare will have to find somewhere to display these awards in the Museum for next season!

Do you recognise our Wheal Ocean watercolour?

Wheal Ocean watercolour
Wheal Ocean watercolour

Everyone at St Agnes Museum is thrilled to have acquired this exceptionally rare watercolour, dated 24 July 1858, of Wheal Ocean perched on a rocky ledge “on Trevellas Point in Trevaunance Porth”.  In the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 23 March 1849 there is mention of an engine “successfully put to work” at Wheal Ocean, the engineer being Mr T James of St Agnes.  

The watercolour is unsigned and the Museum would love to uncover the identity of the artist. Can anyone help?