Cornwall Branch to be revived

Branch News

By Rob Guyver, published 26th October 2016

The Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association

The Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association is about to be revived after an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting [date to be fixed soon]) with the support of the Penryn (Falmouth) Campus of the University of Exeter, its staff (particularly Dr Garry Tregidga [to be Chair], Bob Keys [to be Treasurer], Dr Catriona Pennell [providing links to the FXU Student Society] and Dr Jo Esra), its students (through the Falmouth and Exeter [FXU] History Society, represented by 3rd year student Ed Groome), and Falmouth School (with special thanks to Ben Christophers, Head of History, who has agreed to be joint Secretary with Robert Guyver). In time it is hoped that more stakeholders will be actively involved in this enterprise, and there have been indications of interest from the Cornwall Record Office and the Royal Cornwall Museum. The Record Office has received an £11 million grant to rebuild a disused brewery in Redruth to convert it into a new archive centre (see video: Kresen Kernow), and the Royal Cornwall Museum is about to celebrate its bicentenary. There has been a resurgence of interest in Cornwall’s history with the success of the Poldark series on BBC1. It would be good if Cornwall’s primary and secondary schools and those involved in Higher Education in Cornwall could work with the CRO and the RCM in partnership with the general public and the Historical Association to secure some regular events (involving the CRO and RCM) that could be a recurring part of the HA’s branch programme in Cornwall.

It became clear that if the model operating for the Exeter Branch were to be offered to the same groups in Cornwall, a revived HA branch would be possible. The stakeholders in both the Exeter area and in Cornwall have been the University of Exeter, the respective student history societies, the general public and local schools. More needs to be done, especially in the Exeter area, to involve primary and secondary schools. It is very good news that there was sufficient goodwill, especially in Falmouth/Penryn, for this model to be adopted and adapted in a fresh way that will suit Cornwall. 

The initiative arose out of meeting in early October in Plymouth between the Exeter and Plymouth branches of the Historical Association, attended by Dr Tim Lomas, Honorary Secretary of the Historical Association. The meeting, also attended by Alan Cousins (HA Plymouth Branch), Professor James Daybell and Dr James Gregory (both of the University of Plymouth), was to discuss ways in which the University of Plymouth could support outreach to schools on both sides of the River Tamar. The Streatham Campus (Exeter) of the University of Exeter had already expressed its willingness to be involved in this. The Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter was subsequently informed of this project, enthusiasm was expressed, especially by Dr Garry Tregidga (Head of the Institute of Cornish Studies) and Dr Catriona Pennell, and step by step, the Cornwall Branch was reborn.

The first event on the programme, already billed as a joint event (the HA and the FXU Student Society), is:

28th November

1917–2017: The Legacy of the 1917 Revolution in Modern Russia by Dr Matt Rendle, University of Exeter

6 p.m. in Peter Lanyon Lecture Theatre 5 on the Penryn Campus (Treliever Road, Penryn TR10 9EZ) (see:

Parking is free on Campus after 5 p.m.

Penryn-based events in the new year will include: a debate, with Dr Catriona Pennell in conversation with Dr Daniel Steinbach (University of Exeter) on the subject of: ‘The First World War and the British Empire’; a multi-speaker session on the history of the Cornish landscape.