Latest acquisitions and donations

We have been fortunate enough to be given a Tony Giles’ painting of St Agnes Parish Church by a donor who wishes it, as a local subject painted by a local artist, to remain in the village in perpetuity – a task that the Museum is happy to undertake.
Recently we had an email from a gentleman asking if we would be interested in having an old drill rod dating from 1776. Below is his email giving its history as far as he knew it. Given its age and provenance, we decided to accept.

“I have spent most of my working career as Export Manager for a Sheffield based company which manufactured tools for compressed air hammers and have now retired.

Many years ago my boss had on his wall a framed drill steel which had the caption ‘Drill Steel’ used in a drilling completion at St Agnes in 1776’. The company still exists but over the years has gone through many turbulent periods and takeovers and the old premises have been demolished. In one of these reorganisations I acquired this drill steel minus the framed board and still have it in my possession.

I do not know where it originated but believe it could well have been a gift to the company from Holman who for many years was our major customer. It could have been part of that Holman museum that used to be near the railway station in Camborne.

It is about 8 inches long and ½-inch in diameter with a point – very rusty – but still recognisable for what it is.

I would like it to be properly conserved and would be delighted to return it to its rightful home.”

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We have been given a fascinating pair of caricature drawings by the well known artist Hyman Segal (1914-2004) whose Russian Jewish parents fled to London. At the age of 12 Hyman won a scholarship to St Martin’s School of Art and went on to work for many big companies.

After serving in Africa during the war he came to Cornwall, perhaps first to St Agnes, where we think he was involved with organising Art Therapy for TB patients at the nearby Sanatorium, before settling in St Ives. He enjoyed sketching local personalities in the public houses. Reg Trezise of Water Lane, with his cap and dog-headed cane, was very well known in St Agnes, and we understand that he brought back a walking stick from each of his visits to Canada and left them at the St Agnes Hotel.

However, there was also another sketch. This gentleman was thought to have been a regular visitor to St Agnes, possibly a schoolmaster, and undoubtedly a cricket fan, judging by the Wisden under his arm, but nobody was sure who he was. After an appeal for information, it seems that he was a George Morrison who, along with his brother Ken, holidayed in St Agnes. We believe that they both worked at a Public School, one as a Schoolmaster and the other as Bursar. George was, self evidently, quite large, while Ken was like a bean pole. They eventually retired to the Quay Flats and it is thought that they worked part-time for Jo Bates in the Ope, at Churchtown, possibly in the 1950s.

It appears that their daily routine included walking up to the St Agnes Hotel every lunchtime for a half of bitter and lunch cooked by the landlady, Audrey Simmons, and calling in at the Peterville Inn, either on their way there or on their way back, to enjoy a drink with Alfie Bunt. Alfie’s daughter thinks that her father also had his caricature sketched by Segal but she does not know what happened to it. She does, however, recall that Alfie used to take the Morrisons all over Cornwall in his car since they didn’t have their own transport.

If anyone can fill in any gaps in our knowledge, we would be pleased to hear from you.

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Three jigsaw puzzles have been donated by a lady in Wales. They are handmade bespoke puzzles produced by Ashley and Kathleen Rowe in the 1940s in Mount Hawke where they ran the Original Jig-saw Puzzle Club which, according to the label, was established in 1908. These particular puzzles were made for a couple who used to choose a picture, send it to the Rowes and await the return of their puzzle in a cloth bag with no image to work from. They took the puzzles on long cruise holidays to while away the hours.

The Jittery Bug jigsaw puzzle
The Jittery Bug jigsaw puzzle

One of the jigsaws so far completed shows a lively scene of dancers doing the Jitterbug.

 

 

 

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The Museum has bought at auction a pierhead-style painting of the schooner Mary. Built for Martin Tredinnick Hitchins, owner of St Agnes harbour and a fleet of ships, the schooner included the Lady Agnes whose charismatic figurehead is already on display at the Museum.

The Mary was launched by Martin Hitchins’ daughter Mary, after whom she was named, on 10 November 1855. Originally two-masted and with a length of 68 feet (21 metres), she was lengthened and had a third mast added in 1870/71. Sadly she sank following a collision on 20 January 1890.

Her Captain from 1871 was Captain Robert Radcliffe, great great grandfather of our Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, who for many years has loaned Robert’s Master’s Certificate of Competency and its canister to the Museum.

The Mary has now been installed in the Maritime cabinet close to the Certificate and the figurehead.

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Other recent acquisitions include:

  • 19th century samplers
    A selection of 19th century samplers, including those worked by two children called Clara Tredinnick (from a local family), and Emily Cann. The samplers were produced while Clara and Emily were attending St Agnes School. The headmistress of St Agnes girls’ school, Mrs Harris, eventually ran her own school in Rosemundy.
  • Items from Trevaunance Masonic Lodge
    Including an apron, gloves and booklets
  • Wheal Kitty Ltd vegetable dish
    On loan, with thanks to Carl Soper. The vegetable dish complements the coffee service which the museum received last year
  • John Opie commemorative mug
    Donated by Graham Bunney, this fine china mug is decorated with a copy of John Opie’s self portrait on one side, and the words A Cornish Wonder on the other
  • Items from St Agnes Pottery
  • Linen-backed maps of St Agnes area
  • Hocking longcase clock
  • Tea cosy belonging to Fanny Lockett