Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you! Huge thanks to everyone who supported our pop-up-shop and auctions.  Working together with the Friends Of Morrab Gardens we have raised £7,500 all of which goes towards the renovation of the stables in Morrab Gardens. This dilapidated and unused building will be turned in to a horticultural and botanical learning centre open to everyone. Don't worry if you didn't make it to the shop we have lots more to auction (especially art) and are planning an arts and crafts exhibition and sale later in the summer when our new offices are up and running. Or if you'd like support the project by making a donation you can do so here. Find out more about Hypatia-in-the-Gardens here

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Hypatia Trust Crime Collection Receives New Home...

The Hypatia Trust Crime Collection - 1000 books on crime, written by or about women including Agatha ChristiePD James and Jessica Mann - was presented to Falmouth University by University Librarian and Hypatia Trustee Doreen Pinfold.   This collection now sits in Falmouth University Library at the Penryn Campus and is accessible to all, see here for further details.


'The History of Cornwall is eerily male in orientation, you do wonder where the women were.’


‘The history of Cornwall is eerily male in orientation, you do wonder where the women were.’

On International Women’s Day, The Hypatia Trust proudly launched The Elizabeth Treffry Reading Room at Krowji, Redruth, you can find lots of photographs on our Facebook page.

Dr Melissa Hardie, founder of the Hypatia Trust comments “The history of Cornwall is eerily male in orientation – you do wonder where the women were.  Historian Mary Ritter Beard stated ‘no documents, no history.’ The collection at Krowji focuses on Women’s lives and occupations, their writings and their artistic crafts. Here they are – and lots of them.”

In Cornwall, as true all over the world, the worthwhile achievements of women are often overlooked and even suppressed in oral and written histories.  This special collection will play an essential part in re-balancing narratives in Cornish and Scillonian history and literature by sharing the triumphs, stories and arts by women who have lived and worked in the county.

The reading room includes works by internationally acclaimed authors Daphne du Maurier, Helen Dunmore and Virginia Woolf and hundreds of the lesser known who should be found again.  It also highlights histories of great Cornish campaigning women such as Emily Hobhouse, Dora Russell, Judith Cook and many more.   The Hypatia Trust hopes that access to this important collection will provide young women and girls with inspiring role models whose lives were influenced by the place of Cornwall.

This fantastic resource, a unique body of over 3000 books and artefacts by and about women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is now open to everyone.

Housed at Krowji in Redruth, the reading room is accessible to all by appointment via Azook 01209 311070


Three good friends of Hypatia.

Apart from other tragedies of 2015 attracting global sorrow and tragedy, we are sad to report the deaths of three long-time friends of the Hypatia Trust – each a stalwart support amongst the many that both understand and work to carry out our educational and humanitarian objectives.

In her sensitive and loving obituary for Marion Whybrow (1931-2015), the novelist and poet Helen Dunmore presents a complete record of Marion’s work which will not be repeated here. Anyone reading the resume cannot fail to understand why we have valued her gifts – both her talents and her contributions to the Trust’s archives.  These take the form of many cuttings, manuscripts, photographs and of course, her published books, fiction and non-fiction. Apart from this, she was a loyal friend and participant in our book launches, art exhibitions and celebratory events over the many years at the Jamieson Library and Trevelyan House.  We will miss her gentle kindness greatly.

In mid-November came the death of author Eva Tucker (1929-2015), described in her Times obituary as a novelist and hostess of literary salons, is more fully biographically reviewed also in the Guardian. What a beautiful and charming woman! 

When the Trust moved its Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, from its original home at the Jamieson Library, Newmill, to Trevelyan House in Chapel Street, Penzance in 2002, we decided to celebrate with a literary salon.  Melissa Hardie was corresponding with Eva about the Trust’s collection of the work of Dorothy Richardson, who lived in Cornwall for many years while writing her 13-volume stream-of-consciousness novel, Pilgrimage. Eva offered to ‘launch’ our literary weekend with a talk as part of the festivities.  Her edited and expanded talk became the first publication from the new premises: · Tucker, Eva. Pilgrimage: The Enchanted Guest of Spring and Summer: Dorothy Richardson 1873-1954: a Reassessment of Her Life and Work. Penzance: Hypatia Press, 2003.

Attending Eva’s opener in 2002, were both Marion Whybrow, and our third close friend and supporter, Hilary Richings neé Scrope Shrapnell (1936-2015). Local to Newmill and the Jamieson Library, Hilary, acting as journalist to The Cornishman for our community, kept up with every event and activity that was mustered.  She was always our ACE (Aid Conservation through Education, for the building of Uganda’s schools charity) bookseller, eagerly counting up the proceeds from our annual Newmill Open Gardens Day. Very active with the Women’s Institute, she always saw that the local prize-winning local history projects as written up in bound volumes, made an extra copy for the Hypatia Trust. She pored for hours and days over the indexing of the history of the Newlyn Art Gallery when that was our 1995 Centennial book.  Wherever there was literary work to do, proof reading, and writing, she and husband Jack were there. She sat at the hub of the village of Newmill, and we all have loving memories of her.


Professional Archivist Rowan joins team Hypatia.

We are super excited to introduce Cornwall’s own Rowan Musser who has recently joined Team Hypatia. Rowan takes the position of lead archivist – an important role which will mark the Hypatia Trust's 20th year! Rowan will be responsible for archiving the correspondence, notebooks and original manuscripts in the Hypatia Trust collections so that these important documents about women and by women will be conserved and made accessible for future generations to enjoy.   Find out more about Rowan and the rest of the team here.


Just Published

A Special Issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 40, Number 4, November 2015) features as its opening article, the first formal publication stemming from Melissa Hardie-Budden’s current research into the maternal relations of the famed writers.  Entitled ‘Maternal Forebears of the Brontë Archive: “Nothing comes from Nothing”; or Stories from another Canon’ Melissa shares some of histories emerging as the Carne and Branwell families worked and lived in West Cornwall in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Especially exciting is the formal launch of the Maternal Brontë Archive, just as the announcement is made (BBC and newspapers, 12 November 2015) of the finding of unpublished manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë inside a rare book that belonged to her mother.

Maria Carne Branwell, of Penzance, travelled to Yorkshire in 1812 at the age of 29, joining other Cornish relations who re-settled there in the same year. In meeting the Reverend Patrick Brontë, within her family’s professional circle, she sent for her belongings and married him. The literary remains of poet Henry Kirke White, as written by Robert Southey, was a volume amongst her books, and this has come to hand in the USA, where it has been in the same family for over 100 years, with a poem and a short story by Charlotte between the pages. The bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth will be celebrated in various forms in 2016, and the Hypatia Trust will hold its own related event on 21st April.

The Carne-Branwell family archive detailing key personages and cultural influences will be made available for study in future. It will take an important place in the Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

* Brontë Studies, Vol. 40 No. 4, November 2015, 269-75

Maney Publishing ISSN 1474-8932 (print) Online at

Hypatia Trust part funds creative writing course.


Creative writing course with Linda Cleary in Penzance.

Linda Cleary is a writer and tutor who has been delivering courses since 1991.  She is also the Literary Arts Coordinator for the Hypatia Trust who are part funding this course.  The course runs for four weeks on a Saturday at the Morrab Library, Penzance, Cornwall from 10.30-12.30pm starting Saturday 21st November.  See here for further details.

Mermaids: Women at Sea


The new autumn exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall on 14 September will explore the hidden histories of women at sea. 

Mermaids: Women at Sea will tell the compelling stories of women who have challenged the establishment and made their mark in a male dominated world. 

It will feature extraordinary women such as Mary Lang, who joined a crew on the last of the merchant sailing ships - known as windjammers - to journey from South Australia to Cornwall in the 1930s, and Dame Ellen MacArthur who blazed a trail for women in competitive sailing, assuring herself a place in sporting history as the fastest woman ever to circumnavigate the globe in 2005.

The Museum will also be revealing from its stores a very special boat that belonged to Dame Mary Russell, Duchess of Bedford, better known as the Flying Duchess, but who was also a keen canoeist. The boat, called Endsleigh after her favourite country estate on the River Tamar, is part of the Museum's National Small Boat Collection.

Through first-hand accounts, film, photography and artefacts the exhibition, which is supported by the Hypatia Trust, will bring these stories to life.

Tehmina Goskar, Senior Curator at the Maritime Museum, says: “Mermaids represents a key moment for the Maritime Museum as it develops its interpretation and presentation of maritime heritage in non-traditional areas of the field by publicly addressing the hidden histories of women sailors, not because they are women but because their stories are just as fascinating and stimulating as those of men and therefore worthy of preserving and presenting to our visitors.

There have always been superstitions about women and the sea, from the myths of mermaids luring unsuspecting men to a watery death to the ill fortune a woman aboard a ship was meant to have brought to a voyage and its male crew. One of Cornwall’s most famous legends is of course the Mermaid of Zennor, and visitors to the exhibition will be able to see and touch a 3D print of the famous mermaid carving in St Senara Church in Zennor—the first time the Maritime Museum has used this technology to present an exhibit to the public. 

We hope this replica of the 15th-century mermaid carving will capture the imagination of our visitors. Guests will also enjoy the legend being recited as part of a special film commissioned by the Maritime Museum from new local Cornish Community Interest Company, Storylines.

I am particularly pleased that the Hypatia Trust, based in Penzance, a charity which exists to promote the study of women, has chosen to generously support Mermaids. I hope that all visitors to this exhibition will leave knowing that the sea belongs to women as well as men and so does its history.”

Supporting the exhibition is a lecture on Wednesday 23 September at 6.30pm, called Enterprising Women. Dr Helen Doe will be sharing stories of feisty, strong willed women who defied the popular image of the genteel 19th century lady. Many played key roles in shipping management, running businesses such as sailmakers, shipbuilders and managing the day to day running of the ships themselves in an era when gender roles were becoming increasingly polarised. Tickets cost £7 and can be booked on 01326 214546.

Mermaids: Women at Sea opens on September 14 and runs until February 21 at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth.

National Maritime Museum Website

Ellen MacArthur image courtesy of DPPI.

Hypatia Skydive

Polly Attwood became the First individual donor to the campaign to open the next Hypatia Trust Study Centre in the stables of the municipal gardens in Penzance, Cornwall.

In September 2015, taking flight from Land’s End Airport, Hypatia international director Polly, with the skilled assistance of her ‘sky-daddy’ made a courageous skydive to raise funds for her two favourite human rights causes – the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council (Massachusetts, USA) and our own Hypatia Trust. To each she made a truly handsome donation of £500, and we are so grateful!  This will join the funds raised at our first corporate fundraiser hosted with the Friends of Morrab Gardens at Trevelyan House prior to Christmas 2014, when we raised an equivalent sum from our Doll Exhibition and sale.

More about this soon when the surveyors and architects have been chosen for the project. Meantime, thank you Polly for your heaven-sent donation, and all the friends of Polly who made her (very scary) jump worthwhile.