A Fine Line Between Authenticity and Disneyfied Kernow – Part 3

From: — Doronieth Kernow

In this week’s third part of the paper that I presented to the Gorsedh Kernow Conference, we look at the outcomes of my interviews with Visit Cornwall, English Heritage and the National Trust and see a mixture of some potential grounds for positivity and confirmation of the rather worrying stance and views of English Heritage. oOo […]

via Cornish Culture & Tourism – A Fine Line Between Authenticity and Disneyfied Kernow – Part III — Doronieth Kernow

Cornwall housing: Tories are still trapped by their ideological obsession with private market delivery.

From Cornwall – a developers’ paradise? So the Government has come up with yet another cunning plan to encourage more housebuilding. Communities Minister Sajid Javid is consulting on a new, simpler method of calculating housing targets to be applied across the board for housing targets to ensure that the ‘right homes [sic]’ get built in […]

via Cornwall – Bring us your huddled masses: housing target rises yet again — coserginfo

He never met General Franco but suffered some collateral damage

An event in the life of Thomas Williams, merchant seaman (1907 – 1950) of St Ives, Cornwall

We heard recently that Spain’s newly installed prime minister was promising to remove the remains of the former nationalist/fascist dictator Francisco Franco from a state-funded Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) mausoleum situated near to Madrid. His remains lay there along with more than 30,000 or more other Spaniards who fought in the 1936-39 civil war. Thousands more lay buried in and around Spanish villages and towns in single graves or mass graves all over Spain. Lots of families are only just finding out where the bodies of their relatives were buried. Franco ruled Spain with with what some call an “iron fist” from the end of the  civil war until his death in 1975. Before that people were afraid to look for or ask about their dead relatives particularly if they or their diseased relative had sympathies for the former Republican government or had fought against Franco’s forces.

Hopefully,  the remains of the dictator Franco will be removed from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum, because as the new government in Madrid has said, “It’s a good initiative, because while the remains of Franco are there, it will continue to be a place of pilgrimage for those who were in favour of his dictatorship.”

The last surviving British person to have fought for the Republican Government in the Spanish Civil War was reported to have died in 2016 aged 98. As far as my family goes I know of only one family member that lived in that period and  who had some direct experience of that conflict. This person was my grandfather and  a crew member of a British merchant ship that was bombed and machine gunned, most likely by Franco’s air forces, while the ship was passing through the Straits of Gibraltar on route to the Persian Gulf  (see Gloucestershire Echo newspaper report below). None of the crew were injured and the ship received no substantial damage, but other ships and crews were not so lucky. According to a later post war study  29 British ships were wrecked or lost during the civil war, at least 26 of these destroyed by enemy action. A previous report published by the Spanish Republic’s embassy in London in 1938 calculated that, between July 1936 and June 1938, 13 British merchant ships were sunk by enemy action, 51 others were bombed from the air, two were mined, five were attacked by submarines and 23 seized or detained by Franco’s forces (or perpetrated by aircraft, ships or submarines belonging to Franco’s allies, Hitler and Mussolini).

The following message was received at Portishead wireless station yesterday from the British steamer British Endeavour:— “Bombed by planes noon to-day off Tarifa. Was in imminent danger, but not hit except for fragments of bombs. No casualties. Believe machine guns used also.”  (Source: Gloucestershire Echo 22nd July 1936 via British Newspaper Archives)

SS British Endeavour

SS British Endeavour Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart (via uboat.net)


List of ships wrecked or lost in the Spanish Civil War…

Let’s avoid a simplistic debate about the future of National Parks — Inside track

This post is by Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Campaign for National Parks Following the launch of the government’s review of designated landscapes, and controversy around the subsequent resignation of James Rebanks from the advisory panel, the issue of farming and nature within the National Parks is once again back on the agenda.

via Let’s avoid a simplistic debate about the future of National Parks — Inside track

Yes lets create a diversion and blame the old for the housing problems facing the young!


CoSERGinfo, 13 July 2018

Philip Inman in the ‘Guardian’ has fallen into the trap of blaming old people for the plight of young people. Referring to a report by the Intergenerational Commission he has a rant about the way in which old people have gained and in his view at the expense of the younger generation.

There are several glaring errors in his commentary…

via Yes lets create a diversion and blame the old for the housing problems facing the young!

Cornwall is being urbanised to meet the needs of manufactured market!

Daily Telegraph, 10 Jun 2018 Property Poldark Country: buy your own cove or a sprawling farm in the wilds of Cornwall.

The Cornwall Local Plan has a target of 52,500 houses (probably to be upped to 58,000), despite the fact that at most we only need 27,000 (thats to meet the needs of people […]

via Poldark another opportunity to sell (houses in) Cornwall! — coserginfo

Transition Cornwall+ plans to get us more active and in the planting mood

The summer months almost here, Transition Cornwall+ made two different presentations to council on Monday about its plans for the warm weather this year.

The group’s biggest initiative will be the Walk and Roll campaign to get people to cut back on driving in favour of human-powered forms of transportation such as walking, cycling or skateboarding, or using public transit. This year’s campaign will expanded from being just week-long to running through the entire month of June.

More via…. Transition Cornwall+ plans to get us more active and in the planting mood

The Race – running for your language


Ar Redadeg (Breton for The Race) was first created in May 2008 to support the Diwan (independent Breton language schools) network . The Diwan schools use the immersion approach of language teaching in order to give children, from preschool to 8 or 9 years of age, the chance to master Breton as a living language.

It  is a relay race which takes place every two years. It crosses Brittany, day and night “to symbolise the transmission of a lively, creative and dynamic Breton language, across the generations and territories.” Families, young and old, children, parents and grandparents run together.

The ‘Redadeg’ is the little sister of the ‘Korrika’ that takes place in the Basque Country, Hundreds of thousands of people participate every year in this to defend their language.There is also a similar race in Ireland the ‘Rith’ and in Wales called the ‘Rhas’. All these events to raise funds, publicise and protect their native languages.

Link to more information about ‘Ar Redadeg’


John Finnie’s Speech from the National Plan for Gaelic debate.

http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11481&i=104235&c=2084717#ScotParlOR ’S e latha math a th’ ann. ’S toil leam a bhith ag èisteachd ri Gàidhlig anns a’ Phàrlamaid againn. Tha mi às na Cluainean, baile beag snog ri taobh Loch Lòchaidh ’s faisg air a’ Ghearasdan. Cha robh Gàidhlig aig mo phàrantan ’s cha robh Gàidhlig san sgoil agam. A-nis tha sgoil ùr […]

via John’s Speech from the National Plan for Gaelic debate. — John Finnie

Extract from speech…

S e latha math a th’ ann. ’S toil leam a bhith ag èisteachd ri Gàidhlig anns a’ Phàrlamaid againn.

Tha mi às na Cluainean, baile beag snog ri taobh Loch Lòchaidh ’s faisg air a’ Ghearasdan. Cha robh Gàidhlig aig mo phàrantan ’s cha robh Gàidhlig san sgoil agam. A-nis tha sgoil ùr Ghàidhlig anns a’ Ghearasdan. Tha an nighean agam, Ruth, agus an dithis nighean aice, Daisy ’s Aimee, fileanta.

Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gum feum a h-uile duine sabaid airson na Gàidhlig.

Mar as àbhaist, feumaidh mi ràdh nach eil ach beagan Gàidhlig agam, ’s feumaidh mi Beurla a bhruidhinn an-diugh.

Following is the simultaneous interpretation:

It is a good day. I like hearing Gaelic in our Parliament. I am from Clunes, a small village beside Loch Lochy, near Fort William. My parents did not have Gaelic and there was no Gaelic at my school; now there is a new Gaelic school in Fort William. My daughter Ruth and her daughters Aimee and Daisy are fluent in Gaelic. Everyone should fight for Gaelic.

As usual, I must say that I have only a little Gaelic and must speak in English today.

The member continued in English.

It is important that we give a hearing to one of Scotland’s national languages. I want to talk briefly of my other two grandchildren who are residents of Catalonia. Having travelled South America with their parents, carrying rucksacks, they have settled in Catalonia and are at the first and second stages in a Catalan school. They speak English and they already understood Spanish; now they speak Catalan and Spanish, or Castilian, as they would call it. That is a broadening experience.

Liz Smith touched on bilingualism. As a councillor in Highland Council, I encountered much ill-informed discussion about Gaelic, so I decided to promote the benefits of bilingualism. Quite frankly, it does not matter what the other language is, but in Scotland there is the option for it to be Gaelic.

I will cite information from the bilingualism matters website:

“Research has shown that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s development and the future. Children exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view. But they also tend to be better than monolinguals at ‘multitasking’ and focusing attention. They are often more precocious readers, and generally find it easier to learn other languages. Bilingualism gives children much more than two languages!”

There is a rich opportunity in bilingualism, and a lot of people want to take it up.

There are challenges with Gaelic-medium education, one of which is that many qualified teachers who are fluent Gaelic speakers do not feel that they have the necessary writing skills to take up posts. There have been a lot of good initiatives in that regard, which I am sure will continue.

Portree Gaelic school has been mentioned. My word, we have some ability in the Highlands—indeed, elsewhere, too—to turn an amazingly exciting and positive story into a negative. Members who follow the Daily Gael on Twitter will know that the opening of the school has not opened a “Portal to hell”; it is a very positive news story and I am sure that there are more such stories to come. I particularly welcome the additional money for the new school in Glasgow.

Mòran taing.

How many new houses does Cornwall really need?

CoSERGinfo (Cornish Social & Economic Research Group information),
First pub. 18 Apr 2018

The current target set out in the ‘Local Plan’ is for 52,800 dwellings but recent material implies that the number is likely to be bumped up to 60,000. Lets get back to the basic question here – how many new houses does Cornwall actually need? It’s fairly straightforward, using existing evidence to estimate what need […]

via How many new houses does Cornwall really need? — coserginfo

The Funeral was a sight to behold.

“They wanted little to be said or written about their virtues or success”

Trerice, 13 April 2018

The above title formed part of a comment based on personal observations made about a particular ethnic group in Butte (Montana)  by a Presbyterian minister who, in the early 1900s, had travelled a great deal between both the untamed and less wild mining camps and towns in states from Arizona to Montana, building churches. He had gained over many years a first hand experience of the rich mix of ethnic groups,  U. S. born and those that had come to the USA to seek their fortune or, at least a better and more comfortable life than they had at home. In this instance the group that he was talking about was specifically the Cornish in Butte.  The Reverend Sloan added to his comment, “…and those I have known best seem to desire only that they may be worthy of respect.” 1

Old Butte

Back of main street Centerville Neighbourhood, Butte, Montana (Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center ~ Date: [1908-1912])

Now what of the Reverend Sloan’s view of the Butte Cornish? His is comment somehow paints a picture of people “free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity” 2  i.e. one definition of stoicism. However, evidence if only anecdotal, suggests that there was another side to these people. It’s the goings on in Butte itself around the 1890s and years of the following century that provides a picture of the Cornish as a group being as capable of enjoying life and being as crazy as anyone and they needed to be when you think of the dangers faced by these hard rock miners daily when underground (and not so comfortable for those working at “grass” or for the women and children.

A journalist in Butte wrote about the funeral traditions of the Cornish in the town which he thought, “was a site to behold” and wrote that, “Next to getting drunk, the average Cornish miner enjoys a funeral more than anything else in the world.” He frequently saw funerals of people who had emigrated  from Cornwall consisting of corteges of up to 500 horse drawn carriages snaking along the road in a line heading to the cemetery situated around a mile outside of town. This would generally always be a Sunday, because that was the miners day off and most times it seemed that nearly all of the Cornish community would want to attend. The deceased would certainly have had to have been preserved until the nearest Sunday if the death had occurred five or six days before.

The journalist noted that ride out to the cemetery would be done sedately even though many in the cortege had been drinking beforehand. The deceased would be interred and the crowd would make their way back to their carriages and then the fun would start. Now most Cornish men and women would not have had experience of driving a horse and carriage before coming to the USA, but once all were seated, they were off  “six and seven abreast, these wild miners would race back to town, urging their teams to the utmost.”

However, as this mad dash back to town was a well known characteristic of the Cornish in that there had been incidents at some funerals where horses had been killed or badly injured, owners of each of the livery stables in Butte would position their people along the road ready to stop the miners and take the team of horses from them. Whether or not there was some resistance from the miners and families to having the horses taken off them having paid for the service, is not mentioned by the journalist, but one can assume there was initially. And then, what happened when back in town? We can guess the strong Methodists, Presbyterians and Bible Christians went home, but the rest, well that’s left to a guess as well. What we know is that in the end the livery men stopped loaning  horses out to the Cornish for funerals and then it was said by some observers of the Cornish in Butte that “the funerals were deprived of their most spectacular and attractive feature.”

Addendum: The western U.S. in its frontier period popularly known as “the wild west” for many was not just wild it was a cruel place for both humans (particularly native peoples) and animals. The Cornish were no different from any other ethnic groups in that as immigrants to other peoples lands, they did, as individuals or as a group, wrong things knowingly and perhaps unknowingly (if that’s possible).  Particularly for those in Europe growing up in the 50s and 60s the term wild west had a kind of romantic image associated with it and folks received a whitewashed image of the frontier period. Things have changed in that we are more likely to be informed of what the American wild frontier period was actually like with “warts and all” and in a way that’s, I think, good thing.

Further information that may be of interest:


Historic American Newspapers, LoC
1  The Cornish Miner in America, Arthur Cecil Todd, 1967
2 Zeno Greek philosopher