Granite Land

An Exhibit of Photographs by Jenny Leathes, ARPS, MA 1960-2014 Saturday, March 14- March 28, 10 am-4pm Helston Museum Jenny Leathes was an extraordinary woman with a passion for life and all it offered. She was a mountaineer, skier, sailor, cyclist and marathon runner, and a photographer with a drive to document the world around her. Her photos of granite in Cornwall, along The Tinner's Way, and elsewhere are a testament to her keen eye for detail in the world she chose to live in.

Her body of work includes her documentation of the River Dart from its source to outflow, as well as the studies of lichens and vegetation on Dartmoor.

Jenny died last year, after a long battle with cancer, and this exhibit is both a memorial to her life, and a tribute to her passion for recording her world.

Come and view this exhibit, view it with wonder, and capture a little of the essence of her work. We hope it will inspire everyone to see the world with new eyes, to absorb a little of the sense of wonder with which she explores the landscapes of her life.

You done good, Jenny. Rest in peace.

Jenny bequeathed her archives to the Hypatia Trust, and we at the Trust are privileged to sponsor this exhibit as a personal and professional tribute to a master of her art.

'Granite Land' by Jenny Leathes can be found in the Hypatia Bookshop.

Dreadnought Southwest's new Production!

Dreadnought Southwest’s new production! As we approach the general election, Dreadnought South West Association is going on the road with a new play - 'The Orchard' - starting in Redruth on 2nd March.

Part of the Rebellious Sounds project, which is looking at stories around women's activism across the South West, 'The Orchard' imagines a meeting between Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst, the moderate and the radical, and explores what happens when opposing political forces come together.

Dreadnought will host a series of unique Œscratch¹ performances of 'The Orchard' across the region. These scratch performances are similar to script-in-hand or rehearsed readings of the material so far, and Dreadnought is inviting audiences to have their say in this pre-election time and to add their voices to the creative process through lively Q&A sessions and debates on the issues contained in the play; the importance of using the vote, democracy, equality, women¹s voices and the paradoxes of leadership.

Nine million women did not use their vote in the last UK general election in 2010. What will happen this May?

As well as the performances, there will be a series of free workshops and events taking place - details of which will go up on the website soon ( - but I have attached the e-flyer for your information. Please feel free to share widely!


Woman with a Cause. Emily Hobhouse Remembered

Emily Hobhouse (Liskeard Museum)
Emily Hobhouse (Liskeard Museum)

On 16 November, the Hypatia Trust, in association with Liskeard and District Museum, is organising a free community history workshop called Woman with a Cause to explore and celebrate the life and achievements of Cornish human rights campaigner Emily Hobhouse.

She was branded “that bloody woman” by some, but Emily Hobhouse is a forgotten Cornish hero. She raised the travesty of human rights abuses in South Africa during the Boer Wars before such issues became headline news. While she was pilloried by her own townspeople in 1900 for highlighting the abuses in concentration camps, in South Africa there is a national monument to her campaigning work. More than 113 years later we are setting the record straight in her hometown.

Eleanor Tench, who will be giving the keynote presentation at the workshop said, “Emily was a fascinating woman whose work is deserving of far more recognition. I'm honoured to be helping to tell her story to more people, especially to be able to speak about her in her hometown, on the stage where she once spoke. Working on this project has been inspirational.”

Women's Memorial, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Women's Memorial, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Human rights campaigner Emily Hobhouse (Liskeard Museum)
Human rights campaigner Emily Hobhouse (Liskeard Museum)

Sally Hawken, Liskeard Town Councillor, is amazed that so little commemorates Emily in Cornwall. “I am delighted the History 51 project is working with Liskeard's excellent museum to bring to public attention one of our most famous daughters. Liskeard must make more of its connection to Emily Hobhouse, an internationally important campaigner who has a public monument in South Africa and nothing in Cornwall. This workshop is a fabulous opportunity for townsfolk and visitors to find out more in the very place where Emily certainly stirred things up, our own Public Hall.”

The day will start at 9.30am by gathering at Liskeard Museum for a special view of the new Women at War exhibition, followed by the lecture at the Public Hall opposite the museum at 10am. After a break the audience will be invited to take part in a practical workshop examining sources from Emily’s time to judge whether she was treated fairly. The workshop ends at 1pm. There is an optional tour of St Ive Church, where Hobhouse was born, at 2pm.


Booking is essential and must be made with Liskeard Museum either by phone: 01579 346087, email: using the subject Emily Hobhouse Workshop, or in person.

The Hypatia Trust’s History 51 project promotes women’s heritage in communities across Cornwall and has been made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories programme. To keep in touch please join us on Facebook too.

Hidden History - Women in Industry

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Cutting patterns at Flawns, Porthmeor Road, St Ives, 1958 (credit: St Ives Archive)
Cutting patterns at Flawns, Porthmeor Road, St Ives, 1958 (credit: St Ives Archive)

The Hypatia Trust and its History 51 project, to promote women's heritage in Cornwall, is delighted to support this fabulous event on 25 October at the Western Hotel, St Ives, to celebrate the women of St Ives's historical textile industries.

Please come along to this free event and support Cornish women's heritage in St Ives.

St Ives is well known for its fishing, mining, artists and tourists, but for about forty years it was the home of a vibrant textile industry based in former pilchard cellars near to The Island.

The industrial manufacture of textiles is not usually associated with a seaside town in Cornwall. The majority of the employees were women who went into the factories when they left school at the age of fourteen. Maybe for this reason the work that they did has almost been forgotten. The Town Council, by the 1970s, had removed all traces of industry from the centre of St Ives and transferred it to new industrial estates.

And the buildings themselves were demolished to make way for luxury accommodation to expand the tourist industry.

St Ives Archive is part of the wider History 51 project in Cornwall initiated by the Hypatia Trust with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the role of women in a number of key aspects of Cornish life.

What better project for St Ives than to highlight and bring to life the story of these factories and the people who worked there?

On Friday 25 October at the Western Hotel, Royal Square, St Ives, between 11.00am and 3.00pm volunteers from the Archive will be hosting an event and workshop to which as many employees as possible are invited from the various textile companies located Downlong between the 1930s and 1970s: Crysede, Hamptons, Flawns, Berketex and Fryers.

Members of the public and visitors to the town are very welcome to see this display of St Ives hidden history.

Let's make one giant net for St Ives!

One of the key events will be an opportunity for everyone to assist in the making of a ‘camouflage net’ of memories. These nets were originally made at home, during the war, by young women and children, based on the nets that were made by their fishermen relatives. Camouflage nets had strips of material inserted into them (scrimmed) so that they could be draped over objects that needed to be hidden from the air.

On this occasion, strips of calico with individual memories and images will be sewn into the net, and these will be a lasting reminder of this chapter of St Ives history. As the original nets were used to hide objects, the new net will remind us that women’s working lives are also often hidden.

The Archive will present this fascinating history through personal memories, photographs, memorabilia and a display of the fashions of the time. One of the companies, Flawns, was owned by John Lewis, which has been very supportive in providing images and information from their extensive archive.

The day will be filmed and refreshments will be served. It is hoped that the resulting camouflage net will be on permanent display, ensuring that this important period of St Ives history is never forgotten.

Women making camouflage nets at Hamptons factory on The Island, St Ives, during World War 2 (credit: St Ives Archive)
Women making camouflage nets at Hamptons factory on The Island, St Ives, during World War 2 (credit: St Ives Archive)

Rug Tales in Helston

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The History 51 Roadshow, organised by the Hypatia Trust, is going to Helston Folk Museum on Saturday 12 October.Download the Rug Tales poster and share it with your friends (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Rug Tales will be a FREE, practical, fun-filled workshop led by Diane Cox of the Mesdames Myrtles rug hooking group (and well-known We Are Not Doormats). Mesdames Myrtles have been creating seven rugs inspired by the History 51 project representing different historical Cornish women. This workshop, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will demonstrate how biographies of women in Cornwall needn’t just be written but they can also be made. Mesdames Myrtles have been creating stories of seven women as part of History 51.

So if you want to have a go at rug hooking and find out more about it, this is the event for you.

Rug hooking is an ancient art, largely passed down through the generations by women. It is a wonderful way to make beautiful new things from old remnants and clothes, and to have fun choosing the colours you love. You don't have to be arty, already skilled or able to draw!

Date: Saturday 12 October 2013

Time: 10am-4pm

Venue: Helston Folk Museum (Old Butter Market, Market Place, Helston, TR13 8TH. Tel: 01326 564027)

Cost: FREE

Booking: Email: or telephone (if leaving a message please leave your name, a return phone number or email address) on 01736 366597).

You don't have to be arty, already skilled or able to draw!

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What's going on?

  • Learn the ancient technique of rug hooking -- a skill for life
  • Hear Diane Cox talk about this important part of women's heritage
  • All materials provided and a chance to buy your own beautifully crafted rug hook at the end so you can carry on at home (£15 on the day)
  • Bring your own sharp scissors if you  have a pair
  • Bring any old cloth fabrics whose colours you love, e.g. old T-shirts
  • Be inspired by the stunning collections of Helston Museum
  • Tea, coffee and refreshments provided
  • Bring your own lunch or break and have lunch in the ancient Cornish town of Helston

Places limited, book now!

Email: or telephone (if leaving a message please leave your name, a return phone number or email address) on 01736 366597).

Olly Pickford's Cornish Land Girl rug in the making (credit: Olly Pickford)
Olly Pickford's Cornish Land Girl rug in the making (credit: Olly Pickford)

Sea Women in Fowey on 7 September

Sea Women in Fowey 7 Sep 2013

Who said women stayed at home while men went to sea?

Join us in Fowey to hear expert historians talk about the women that shaped our seas and coasts and come on a free tour of historic Fowey and its harbour.

The next History 51 Roadshow FREE event will be in Fowey on Saturday, 7 September 2013.

Booking essential. Sea Women in Fowey poster(download PDF, 641KB)

Book now! Email or call Jo Schofield: Email: Phone: 01326 231146.

Event details

A free community history event organised by the Hypatia Trust in association with Fowey Harbour Heritage Society.

Places are limited and booking is essential.

When? Saturday 7 September, 10.30am-4pm

Where?Fowey Library (Meeting Room)


In the morning from 10.30 at Fowey Library meeting room:

  • Dr Helen Doe on enterprising maritime women
  • Dr Leonie Hicks on women in the Viking world
  • Celebrate Lady Elizabeth Treffry
  • Digital display of old documents and images
  • Free tea and refreshments

Lunch from 12.30: DIY or bring your own.

In the afternoon from 2pm, for about 1.5hrs.

  • Town and harbour walking tour
  • Wear sensible shoes and keep an eye on the weather forecast


Places are limited so please book your place with Jo Schofield by email or telephone.

You will be asked whether you want to book for the morning and afternoon tour or just the morning. NOTE: You will not be able to book only for the afternoon tour.

Email: Phone: 01326 231146

Location and travel

See location on map

Fowey Library and One Stop Shop Caffa Mill House 2 Passage Lane FoweyPL23 1JS


There are 20 spaces next to Fowey library.

Other town carparks. The Fowey Town Bus operates from the Main carpark at the top of town.

Public transport

Western Greyhound buses nos. 524 and 525 from St Austell and Par railway stations.

Other public transport options.

Ferry and taxi information.

History 51 Roadshow dates

Did you come to Heartlands on 26 May for our very first History 51 Roadshow event Wise Women? If not, this short video gives you a flavour of the energy and enthusiasm the Hypatia Trust has for promoting women's heritage in communities across Cornwall and Scilly. And the huge amount of interest shown in it. Remember women's heritage belongs to all of us, it's about the history of the majority of our people!

Roadshow dates

We have planned four more History 51 Roadshow events. The dates and subjects are as follows. We are still on the trail of an event in North Cornwall and one on Scilly. We have a small amount of funding to publicise, promote and organise the events and those who volunteer to help run the event will have their expenses paid.

Sea Women in Fowey

Women in Cornwall were not left on shore while the men went to sea, nor were they absent from the many maritime industries and trades that were vital to the Duchy's economy and culture. Special guests Dr. Helen Doe, a maritime historian and Dr. Leonie Hicks, a medieval historian, will talk about women and the sea across time, including Jane Slade, the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier's first novel, The Loving Spirit. There will follow an afternoon tour of the the ancient and picturesque port town of Fowey, still an active harbour for the China Clay industry.

Date: Saturday 7 September 2013.

Venue: Fowey Library.

Places: FREE but places limited. Booking will open soon.

Rug Tales in Helston

A practical, fun-filled workshop led by Diane Cox of the Mesdames Myrtles rug hooking group. It will show us how biographies of women in Cornwall needn't just be written but they can also be made. Mesdames Myrtles have been creating stories of seven women as part of History 51 and it is hoped some of these may be on display. So if you want to have a go at rug hooking and find out more about it, this is an event for you.

Date: Saturday 12 October 2013.

Venue: Helston Museum.

Places: FREE but places may be limited.

Women in Industry in St Ives

Women working at sewing machines at Flawns, St Ives (St Ives Archive) St Ives is not normally associated with industry. But did you know it was until the 1970s a hive of activity for hundreds of women especially in dress-making and military clothing. An open day organised jointly with St Ives Archive. Following an overwhelming response to the archive's call for women who made clothes for department stores such as Flawn's we hope to show you displays, conduct interviews, share photographs and even have a go at knitting string vests!

Date: Friday 25 October (11-3pm).

Venue: The Western Hotel.

Places: FREE. Drop-in basis.

Woman with a Cause in Liskeard

Emily Hobhouse was a pioneering campaigner who brought to the world's attention the horrors on both sides of the Boer (or South Africa ) Wars. Hobhouse is a national hero in South Africa but hardly known in her native Cornwall and indeed was reviled by several town worthies from Liskeard who attempted to discredit her. This workshop will introduce you to several important issues about how we understand history, and more importantly, what we remember. Our very own Eleanor Tench will give a keynote address after which we will have a small debate. Afterwards you will have the chance to be a historian by working on primary sources from Emily's time and understanding for yourself why she is so poorly represented in Cornish history. Organised jointly with Liskeard and District Museum, there will also be opportunities to visit the brand new exhibition on Hobhouse both before and after the event.

Date: Saturday 16 November 2013 (9.30-1pm).

Venue: Liskeard District Museum (for the exhibition) and Public Hall (for the talk, debate and activity).

Places: FREE but strictly limited. Booking will open soon.

Researching Emily Hobhouse

In the autumn, I will be doing a workshop for History51 on Emily Hobhouse. Although my current research is during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the role of women was starting to change, and many of my protagonists were strong supporters of women’s rights, this is one of my first forays into looking at a woman as a primary subject. Hobhouse2 Although I knew the basics of her story, and knew a lot about one of her most influential mentors, Leonard Courtney, I am learning a great deal about Emily. This includes using her friendship with the Boer leaders to try to support Gandhi's work while he was living in South Africa. She was also to use this influence in an attempt to convince the Boers to alter their attitudes towards black South Africans. Although her meddling was to cause a rift, she was remembered as a hero by the Boers. Her ashes are interred at the Women's Memorial in Bloemfontein, that she helped design. The significance is that she is one of only 3 people to be honored in this way; remembered alongside their first president and their greatest general. This gives a very stark contrast to her native Cornwall, where none of the local newspapers published an obituary upon her death.

However, I was thinking earlier about her return to Cornwall. As the daughter of a vicar, from a ‘good’ family, she had been comfortable but not rich. However she lost almost everything during the Great War. The money to purchase a small property was raised for her by her friend, Mrs Steyn, wife of President Steyn. My feeling is that there is a reasonable comparison to be made in the Boer veneration of Emily and the veneration of  Oskar Schindler, although not an exact comparison. She was fighting to save the Boer civilians from incompetence rather than deliberate malice.

I also wanted to ask if anyone knows enough about St Ives in the 1920s to say why Emily chose there to live. My best guess at the moment is that it was the most cosmopolitan place in Cornwall at the time, and a woman with a reputation for being difficult, who had become a national anti-hero despite being proven right, would be more welcome there, than in many other places. Or at the least less unwelcome. However, my knowledge of the history of artistic communities can be written on the back of a stamp, so if you think I’m wrong in this, please let me know.

As I continue on this journey through Emily’s life, I will be sure to keep you updated. I will also be speaking at the Institute of Cornish Studies conference this autumn. Their theme this year is ‘Daughters of Cornwall’ which should prove very interesting.

Further reading:

B. Roberts, Those Bloody Women: Three Heroines of the Boer War (John Murray, 1991).

T. Pakenham, The Boer War (Futura, 1982).

Oxygen. Celebrating women's voices

Imagine that fifteen women gather. They have a conversation that maps eight geographic arteries across England and Wales, like points on a compass. These arteries reach out towards a singular destination like roots forming a tree. The destination is Hyde Park. At Land’s End, a group of women start putting one foot in front of the other. For them there is no going back.

It’s June 1913 and the Great Suffrage Pilgrimage begins.

Oxygen by Dreadnought South West

Tomorrow, on 19 June, an amazing thing will happen. In the footsteps of our female ancestors, Dreadnought South West will perform Oxygen, a brand new play by Natalie McGrath, along an historic route from Land's End to Hyde Park exactly 100 years after the greatest march from Land's End to London since 1497.

An episode will be symbolically performed at Land's End before the first full performance will take place in the Plen-an-Gwarry in St Just. Oxygen runs for 90 minutes with 21 episodes. The full-length play will be performed at venues along the route, with episodes taking place at various points in public, non-theatre spaces as trailers for the full production.

View the itinerary and book tickets.

The play focuses on two sisters, and what happens to their relationship when one of them decides to take the militant path and the other chooses to participate in the peaceful pilgrimage. An ensemble piece that will be infused with the real stories and experiences of those who took part in the march, the play will also feature music composed by Claire Ingleheart, who has worked with Wildworks Theatre and Kneehigh.

Dreadnought South West is a new organisation that works with arts and heritage to champion women’s voices and stories. As the play tours from Land’s End to London, retracing the steps and thoughts of 100 years ago, it will be accompanied by a series of responding events, discussions and land journeys that celebrate the courage of those who participated in the pilgrimage, and questions how women’s lives have changed since 1913.

Oxygen & Dreadnought SW Media Pack

The Hypatia Trust has been a supporter of Dreadnought South West since its inception. Natalie McGrath, the playwright, was a Hypatia Resident Scholar last summer. We are delighted to be supporting Dreadnought South West.

History, drama and entertainment rolled into one.

As a tribute we have donated copies of Katherine Bradley's classic study on the Suffrage movement in Cornwall, published by the Hypatia Trust, to be sold to benefit their further work.

You should be able to buy a copy at one of the performances so what are you waiting for! History, drama and entertainment rolled into one.

Keep a lookout here for our guest historian, Eleanor Tench, who will be publishing a series of short articles on women and the vote and politics in Cornwall.

Land's End to London, 1913 (credit: Jill Morison)

The Pilgrimage through Cornwall

You can book tickets from the Hall for Cornwall box office or risk buying at the door.

Date Ticket Prices Full/ Episode Time Venue Address Normal Box Office
Wed 19/06/2013 FREE Launch/ Episode 12pm Land’s End Custom HouseLand's End


TR19 7AA

Unticketed EventPlease make your way to the Custom House for 12pm to witness the launch of this amazing journey and to see several episodes from the play Oxygen performed.

Parking: For free parking at Lands End please visit

and claim your 'Locals Pass'

An informal walk is scheduled to take place after the launch from Lands End to St Just.  This event is not being organised by DSWA and we would advise that you take part at your own risk.

*Please remember this is an outdoor event, please dress accordingly

Wed 19/06/2013 £10/£7 Play 6.30pm Plain-an-Gwarry St Just Cornwall

TR19 7HU

www.hallforcornwall.orgThen type 'Oxygen' into 'Search Events'

01872 262466

*Please remember this is an outdoor event, please dress accordingly and bring a rug to sit on

Thu 20/06/2013 £12/£8 Play 8pm The  Acorn Parade StreetPenzance

TR18 4BU

www.hallforcornwall.orgThen type 'Oxygen' into 'Search Events'

01872 262466

Fri 21/06/2013 £10/£8 Play 7.30pm The Tolmen Centre Fore StreetConstantine

TR11 5AA

http://constantinecornwall.com01326 341353

Sat 22/06/2013 FREE Episode 11.30am Lemon Quay Lemon QuayTruro


Unticketed EventPlease make your way to Lemon Quay for 11.30am to see several episodes of the play Oxygen performed
Sat 22/06/2013 £10/£8/£6 Play 7pm Sterts Theatre LiskeardPL14 5AZ 362382 or 01579 362962
Sun 23/06/2013 £12/£8/£6 (children) Play 2.30pm Heartlands Robinson's ShaftDundance Lane


TR15 3QY

www.hallforcornwall.orgThen type 'Oxygen' into 'Search Events'

01872 262466


01209 722320

Tue25/06/2013 FREE Episodes 4pm Mount Folly BodminPL31 2DQ Unticketed EventPlease make your way to Mount Folly for 4pm to see episodes from the play Oxygen performed.
Tue 25/06/2013 £12/£8 Play 7.30pm Shire Hall Mount FollyBodmin

PL31 2DQ

www.hallforcornwall.orgThen type 'Oxygen' into 'Search Events'

01872 262466

Thu 27/06/2013 FREE Episode / Boundary Crossing Noon St Germans / Plymouth Saltash / Plymouth Unticketed EventDetails to follow

We are not doormats

The first public showing of Mesdames Myrtles and We are not doormats rug exhibition, some of which are History 51-inspired, is taking place in St Just this week! Please come and support this innovative and deeply creative way of recording women's lives. Here's Diane Cox:

Come and have a cosy time surrounded by fabric and cakes.

An exciting exhibition of contemporary rag rugs by the 'We are not doormats' and 'Mesdames Myrtles' hooking groups. All in aid of a women's refuge.


St Just, W.I.Hall


Friday 7 June to Sunday 9 June ,10.30am - 4pm.

What else?

Vintage tearoom with lots of homemade cakes, craft stall, and a rug raffle in aid of buying craft materials for the Women's refuge.

There will be a big frame set up for people to have a go.

Come and have a cosy time surrounded by fabric and cakes.

Rug biography, inspired by History 51 and Hypatia

History 51 Roadshow gets off the ground

Heartlands, Pool during Kernow Fest On the gloriously sunny Sunday 26 May we put on our first History 51 Roadshow event called Wise Women. It was part of a huge festival of Cornish culture called Kernow Fest and took place in Heartlands in Pool.

Wise Women just before we got started

As a series of ongoing demonstrations, show and tell and an opportunity for the public to come in and chat, perhaps also take part in one of our activities such as writing charms and recipes with quill, handle historical objects--kindly lent to us by English Heritage from Pendennis Castle--or talk to a medieval household about their herbal apothecary--thanks to the brilliant Annie, Kay and Steve of People of the Past. Visitors also had the opportunity to view a rolling digital exhibition all about women, healing and medicine through time presented through Cornish sources. We dressed the room with fresh herbs and aromas of the past. We included in this exhibition photographs from what used to be the West Cornwall Women's Hospital, later Camborne-Redruth Hospital, which was just down the road from Heartlands, giving the event a bit of a local flavour. You can view this exhibition below.

Nurses at Camborne-Redruth Hospital in 1954 (credit: Cornwall Record Office X436/46)

The Wise Women

I was in awe of my co-organisers who each brought a different dimension to the event. Steph Haxton, an historian and educational consultant, who came up with the original idea for Wise Women, was dressed as an authentic 1520s Lady of the Manor, a stunning costume made by her own hand. She presented visitors with historical handling objects and a selection of ingredients that were used by 16th century households. Her responsibility was for the health and welfare of her household, including her servants.

Kay and Annie of People of the Past represented Cornish women and girls in the Middle Ages. Also in authentic clothing based on sources from the period, they showed visitors the range of herbs, ingredients and some implements used in treating and diagnosing people. Annie was a thoroughly brilliant advertisement for Wise Women and History 51 and went out amongst the crowds to draw in more visitors. This made a huge difference as from an expectation of 40-50 people we had at least 120 people come through our door--and those were the ones we managed to count!

Polly Attwood, the new Director of the Hypatia Trust, and I acted as introducers to people coming in. We were dressed in more modern garb, emulating the clothes of the 19th century masses. In theory I was meant to be a 'pellar' - a Cornish white witch - but no one came to me for charms or advice and I was happy to waft around in my overly long skirt and apron, but feeling quiet pride at representing a Cornish ancestor.

Kernow Fest


Hypatia had a wonderful day on May 26th at the KernowFest, held at Heartlands. Our presentation was on 'Wise Women' through the ages, showing how women have been the repository of Health care, herbal remedies and treatment. Using natural herbal treatments, as well as charms and traditional cures, they were very often the place that people went to in times of illness. The woman of the house would be in charge of any 'doctoring' that went on, and would be responsible for her family, any servants and tenants who needed treatment. Many of these old remedies and treatments were handed down from mother to daughter over the ages, and some can still be heard today in what we think of as old fashioned sayings.

The workshop attracted about 120 people through during the course of the day, and both children and adults seemed very happy to sample the herbs and activities, including writing charms with goose feather quills.

There was a lot of interest shown in the concept of the old remedies,and their upsurge today as people return to more natural and organic remedies,rather than using chemical substitutes. Thank you, everyone, for coming to seek out knowledge of this significant aspect of the history of women.

26 May: Wise Women at KernowFest, Heartlands

What did we all do before the NHS and professional medical practice? We turned to the women in our communities to help us, cure us and treat us.

History 51 Roadshow: Wise Women

Download Wise Women poster (PDF, 102KB)

When? Sunday 26 May (bank holiday weekend), 12-4.30pm. Where? Chi an Bobel (upstairs), Heartlands, Pool (between Camborne and Redruth). How to find us. What?

  • FREE
  • Create your own charm
  • Smell and handle ingredients and implements
  • Lady of the Manor and her servants’ ailments
  • Medieval housewife and nature's medicine cupboard
  • Meet the "Pellar of Pool"
  • Bring family recipes and old wives' tales
  • Write in the History 51 Cornish Remedy Book

History 51 Roadshow

Women and medicine is the theme of our first History 51 Roadshow FREE event. It will take place at Heartlands on Sunday 26 May 2013 and is part of KernowFest, a massive celebration of all things Cornish, especially food and culture. We obviously come in the culture bit even though some of the medical ingredients on show are edible too.

Wise Women will be a series of continuous demonstrations, digital displays of historical sources, costumed interpretation, and hands-on activities suitable for all ages, including kids, all based on real Cornish sources about the knowledge held by women as healers of their households and communities. We will be dressed up in period costume including a medieval housewife, an aristocratic lady from the 1520s and a Victorian-era white witch or 'pellar' in Cornish.

It is apt this event takes place in Pool, very near to what used to be the West Cornwall Women's Hospital, near Redruth.

History 51 Roadshow is a series of events taking place in 2013 to promote different aspects of women's heritage in local communities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

History 51 Remedy Book

As part of the event we are inviting people to bring with them their old family cures, treatments and old wives' tales, especially those passed down to them from their mothers, grandmothers and other women in their families and communities.

By collecting these remedies we hope to preserve an important part of our community history which might otherwise be forgotten.


We will be filming the event for the History 51 archives, some of the footage will be turned into a film about our project.

No prescriptions! Please don’t ask us for cures or treatments for your own ailments as we are not trained medical professionals.


Penlee House Gallery and Museum for lending us historical costume for our Pellar character.

Cornwall Record Office for images of Cornish sources.

Heartlands for welcoming us to KernowFest and giving us a free venue.

Steph Haxton for coming up with the idea and helping bring it all together.

The History 51 Battalion meets up

Talking shop, History 51's first meeting. On 9 February we invited all those who had expressed an interest in History 51 to attend an open afternoon at the Hypatia Trust in Penzance. Several were not able to make it but we still had a room of 18 people (all women) eager to share their passion, thoughts and ideas about how their own experiences could be brought to bear on this seminal project.

I think everyone would agree that the local rug hookers really made our meeting, they turned up in force!

We enjoyed all sorts of conversation, from setting up our own tour businesses, ornamental pets, herbal medical knowledge, women war artists to keeping hens, rug hooking, fishing ancestors, women in sport, Cornish migration, slavery and anti-slavery, medieval business women, husbands, teenage parents and weaving.

I don’t think I have been in a room full of more articulate people in my life!

What did we talk about?

The promise of tea and cake on the horizon got our humors working and any residual nerves at the thought of that classic ice-breaker, 'going around the room and telling each other a bit about ourselves', were soon forgotten. We enjoyed all sorts of conversation, from setting up our own tour businesses, ornamental pets, herbal medical knowledge, women war artists to keeping hens, rug hooking, fishing ancestors, women in sport, Cornish migration, slavery and anti-slavery, medieval business women, husbands, teenage parents and weaving.

History 51 is not a project just for women. It is about women

While I was listening my most immediate thought was how differently a room full of men or a mixture of men and women might have discussed their heritage. Here, it was personal experience and observation that informed the opinions of those present. History 51 is not a project just for women. It is about women and as such it is of importance to all of us, boys and girls, men and women.

It struck me that the study of history and the practices of heritage are inescapably 'male structures'. The development of social history, of which women's history is traditionally considered a part, was formatively a movement led by men.

In the effort to equalise the treatment of men and women in history, I believe it is essential we recognise this because otherwise women's history, as a fundamental field of study in its own right, will never be more than a niche subject destined to be a minority topic.

This is why we are called History 51. Women make up more than half the world's population but women themselves don't see themselves as worthy a topic of study as do men (cue: generalisation).

...we will be documenting and sharing information about the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary; and about bad women as well as the good women who never seem to make history.

History 51 Battalion

So the project's aim to provide current and future generations of people growing up and living in Cornwall and Scilly positive female role models was considered possibly its most important. This means we will be documenting and sharing information about the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary; and about bad women as well as the good women who never seem to make history.

Why a battalion?

... an organised group of people pursuing a common aim or sharing a major undertaking.

There was a strong sense of purpose about our first meeting. There was also a strong sense of the need for an organised approach and so, inevitably, I could only think of military metaphors. Women do need to fight to get their stories and opinions heard and so I thought it was appropriate that we behave like a battalion, an organised group of people pursuing a common aim or sharing a major undertaking.

What next?

Talking heads at History 51 meet up.

Each person was given a folder with an information pack aimed at familiarising contributors and correspondents with History 51 and answering questions I predicted they may have. This pack will be emailed to all those who were not able to attend and is available via the link below.

Download History 51 Contributor Pack (PDF, 611 KB)

Next steps are to start recording who is interested in what and sharing this information amongst the group. The great thing about History 51 is that even those running the project are getting stuck into some new research and exploration. I am dusting off my old medievalist's gloves. Polly Attwood, Hypatia Trust Director, is thinking about looking at the Cornish connections to Transatlantic Slavery and Jo Schofield, Hypatia Trust Events Co-ordinator, is looking at the women of the Godolphin family.

The online database for the Cornish Women’s Index is being developed and will be due for testing early next month and then it will be time to organise some training. I am also contemplating using screencasts and Google Hangouts for live online training.

Our events co-ordinator, Jo Schofield, is currently scouting venues for our workshops. We already have one in Liskeard Museum confirmed and another almost confirmed in Fowey. Firm dates will follow some time in March.

Next we will be buying the equipment needed, making sure that History 51 is regularly promoted online and in the press, and commissioning some quirky bookmarks or postcards to be widely distributed across Cornwall and Scilly, and beyond.

"My Sister Life' Exhibition

‘My Sister Life’ is both the name of Sarah King's exhibition and a naming of her creative processes and work as an artist - her work is born out of necessity. This body of work was aided by two residencies at The Jamieson Library, Hypatia Trust, Cornwall between 2011 and 2012. The work is a response to exterior environmental sounds - listening without looking. Through drawing, scoring, stitching, recording and listening she responds to the weather - creating a series of repeated drawings, mapping sounds and recording trace. For more information contact

Sarah King - My Sister Life

Venue: Artspace 101, Plymouth University, Plymouth Dates: 23 October 2012 until 01 November 2012 Times: 11-5pm daily Private View 26 October 2012 5.30-7pm

In the Gift of Gay

Waterlolour by Gay Sagar-Fenton
Waterlolour by Gay Sagar-Fenton

The interests and artistry of the late Gay Sagar-Fenton were celebrated by some of her Hypatia Trust friends with an impromptu show of watercolours.

In aid of Shelterbox, her favoured charity, the Trust held an open house over two afternoons -

Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September 2012 at Trevelyan House.

On this occasion, the Trust asked Gay's friends, associates, and interested visitors to cast a vote to select two of her paintings for the Permanent Collection of Women's Art, being established by the Trust as a gift for Cornwall.

A member of the Jamieson Library, Newmill, home of the Trust since its initiation in 1986, Gay's art work was always of interest to Curator of its collections, Melissa Hardie. Gay attended an early book-arts seminar held at the Library, and from that meeting they became personal friends.

It was with special pleasure that in her final years, Gay attended Art for the Blind workshops when they were held at Trevelyan House, where she was a lively and popular member. Gay threw herself into assisting community life in many directions as her recent Cornishman obituary recorded (23rd August 2012).

Redwing Gallery & Asterisk* Bookshop at Trevelyan House 2012

Art by Peter Fox
Art by Peter Fox

The Redwing Gallery is a new Community Interest Company engaged in exhibiting 'outsider art' - for artists who have difficulty finding exhibition space in the established commercial galleries and artist circles of the district. The Redwing, for a six month period, finishing in July 2012, ran a 'pop-up gallery' at Trevelyan House, where artists brought in their work for short-term display in mixed shows alongside the work of painter and printmaker Peter Fox.

Creative workshops were offered to pupils of all ages for aspects of the book arts, by Roselyne Williams who is a maker of books.

Also on display was the 'Dwellings' Bookcase, created by Melissa Hardie together with the artist Roy Callow, to tell the story of a life spent in books - reading, publishing, writing and promoting literacy and education. Book launches and events related to the Penzance Literary Festival 2012 also took place and craft/arts fairs by community groups.

The Asterisk* Bookroom was open to the public for browsing amongst duplicate books from the Hypatia Trust Collections. Profits from the activities will contributed to the Campaign Fund set up to ensure the future of the Elizabeth Treffry Women in Cornwall Collection, a Special Collection of the Trust to remain in perpetuity in Cornwall.

Hypatia's Handbag - An Interactive Exhibition: The ordinary and the bizarre

Hypatia's Handbag
Hypatia's Handbag

23rd - 29th July 2012 11am - 5pm


Jess Allen, Mary Fletcher, Andrea Garrihy, John Garrihy, Jenny George, David Kemp, Laura Holliday, Susan Hoyle, Andrew Lanyon, Amanda Lorens, Maurice Pearson, Poppy Treffry, Shabby Cow, Smart Tart, and Charlie Roff.

Exhibition curated by Andrea Garrihy



In aid of the Elizabeth Treffry Cornish Collection.

Trevelyan House, 16 Chapel Street, Penzance TR18 4AW

Tel: 01736 366597

What's in Hypatia's handbag?

Handbag Tirggers Memory of Hero of My Youth by Andrea Garrihy

A handbag?

An Interactive Exhibition celebrating and exploring the ‘mysteries’ and capacities of the handbag, opens on Sunday, 22 July 2012 for one week at Trevelyan House, 16 Chapel Street, Penzance.

Curated by artist and exhibitor Andrea Garrihy for the benefit of the Hypatia Trust’s Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and Scilly, the exhibitors invite visitors to discover different aspects of our handbag culture.

Download, share, print and display the posters

Hypatia's Handbag 1 (PDF, 51KB) Hypatia's Handbag 2 (PDF, 42KB)

Fuschia by Andrea Garrihy

‘What’s in your handbag?’ will be the big question

Delving into the handbag through art, literature, music, drama, news and fashion can reveal unique insights into our day to day lives and our individual personalities. In addition to Andrea’s handbag sculptures, writers, craftworkers and visual artists are opening their bags to reveal all manner of handbaggery!

Exhibitors include Jess Allen, John Garrihy, Jenny George, Laura Holliday, Susan Hoyle, David Kemp, Andrew Lanyon, Amanda Lorens, and Charlie Roff.

Handbags for sale for women in Cornwall collection

Handmade handbags will be on sale from local makers including Smart Tart, Poppy Treffry, Maurice Pearson and Shabby Cow. Vintage and contemporary handbags donated by supporters and friends will be on sale throughout the exhibition.

Proceeds will benefit the campaign for a publically-accessible home for the Elizabeth Treffry Collection.

So what's in your handbag? Take part!

Party Time by Jess Allen

Artist Mary Fletcher to document Penzance’s handbag culture

Mary will hold drawing sessions on: Monday 23 June (11-1pm) Tuesday (11-1pm) Wednesday 25th July (1-3pm)

Every object tells a story

Visitors can open and investigate the contents from the depths of their own and other handbags. Every object tells a story and the top ten handbag contents will be exhibited, as will some of the more bizarre contents.

Hypatia’s Handbag, A Fable

Local history author, Susan Hoyle, has written an original legend for the exhibition, entitled Hypatia’s Handbag, A Fable, which is being printed and hand-bound in limited edition. Purchasers of bags to the value of £10 or more will receive a free book. Others may purchase copies of the tale.

Opening hours

The exhibition opens on Sunday 22 July from 3pm to 5pm at Trevelyan House, 16 Chapel Street, Penzance.

Opening hours 23-29 July: 11am to 5pm.

The exhibition runs in parallel with the Penzance Literary Festival.

For more information, please call the Hypatia Trust on 01736 366597.

Slow Food Cooks Fast Food at Golowan

Slow Food Cornwall Joanne Schofield

With festivities underway for Golowan on Saturday 23 June, Slow Food Cornwall will be will be adding to the atmosphere on Chapel Street on Mazey Day, serving fast food in front of  Trevelyan House.

Joanne Schofield, Secretary and Treasurer of Slow Food Cornwall, and Elizabeth Treffry Collection Campaign team member, is  known locally for her work with farmers’ markets, will be bending over a hot BBQ cooking local, marinated lamb kabobs, and tossing bowls of Greek salad.  Home-made lemonade, teas and coffees will be served out of the open window and onto the street by members of Slow Food and volunteers of the Hypatia Trust.

‘Slow Food Cornwall is delighted to help raise funds and awareness for the Hypatia Trust and the Elizabeth Treffry Collection,’ says Joanne.

‘People are welcome to come into Trevelyan House, sit down, relax and enjoy a bite or have a wander around the Redwing Gallery.  It is a lovely building and a great place to dive out of the crowds for a bit of peace and quiet.’

Mazey Day food and refreshments, 11am-4pm, Saturday 23 June, Trevelyan House

Food and refreshments will be served from 11am to 4pm.  Trevelyan House (16 Chapel Street, Penzance) will be open all day from 10am to 5pm.  For more information please call Joanne on 01326 231146 or Trevelyan House on 01736 366597.