Tanner Project to catalogue Cornish women's library


The Hypatia Trust has launched a new project to catalogue the Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Thanks to a £5000 grant from the Tanner Trust, this important collection of 3000 books and archives will be catalogued to modern library and archive standards. The collection currently lives at Trevelyan House on Chapel Street in Penzance, the headquarters of the Hypatia Trust.

Dr. Tehmina Goskar will direct the Tanner Project which formally begins this week. She said, "Building on the success of History 51, our public engagement project to promote women's heritage in Cornish communities, the Tanner Project will ensure that the books, papers and ephemera we collect and that get donated to Hypatia will be properly recorded so researchers and students can use this important resource. Properly documented, the Elizabeth Treffry Collection could be the seed of a future women's library in Cornwall."

Researchers can visit the collection by email appointment but access may not always be possible during the cataloguing process.

Telling Our Story: Cornish Women’s History Celebrates £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant

Call to Women, part of the Judith Cook archive We are delighted to announce that the Hypatia Trust of Penzance, Cornwall, is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant.

This exciting project called History 51: Unveiling Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has been given £10,000 to encourage people to reconnect with the history of 51% of our population, and to champion historical female role models.

All Our Stories

All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme – launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the History 51 project as they embark on a real journey of discovery. (Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West)

The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.

This project gives a voice to the women of Cornwall and Scilly. So much research has illustrated how girls' voices become silenced as they grow to womanhood, and we hope that this project acts as a spur to girls and women everywhere, giving them the courage to be all they can be. (Polly Attwood, Director, Hypatia Trust)

One of our readers with Elizabeth Forbes's 'King Arthur's Wood'

Exploring women's lives and achievements in Cornwall and Scilly

The Hypatia Trust’s mission is record and promote the literary, artistic and scientific works of women in their communities. The Trust founded the Elizabeth Treffry Collection in 1996 to be the antidote to the domination of Cornish heritage by stories of ‘great men’. It now contains over 3000 books and archives that bear witness to the lives and achievements of the women who have shaped Cornish and Scillonian society and culture.

Following our success with the national Hidden Treasures Campaign in June we are absolutely thrilled to receive this award which will help more people be inspired by the women who have shaped Cornish history. (Melissa Hardie, Founder of the Hypatia Trust)

What History 51 will do

History 51 is inviting volunteers to come and explore the collection and to choose from a range of subjects and personalities that interest them, or to bring their own stories to be documented. They will receive free training to research, catalogue and author information which will help build an innovative online resource called the Cornish Women’s Index. Over the next year six free community workshops on themes such as writing, health and business, will be held across Cornwall where anyone can come to debate and learn more about the heritage of women.

This collection is so important to Cornish heritage but at the moment it is little known. I can’t wait to work with more people to help discover its treasures. If you love women and you love Cornwall and Scilly, come and join History 51! (Tehmina Goskar, Honorary Curator of the Elizabeth Treffry Collection)

The project will represent women from across the centuries. It was a woman, Alice de Lisle, who won the right to hold a market in Penzance in 1332, it was Dame Elizabeth Treffry who led the defence of Fowey against French raiders in the fifteenth century, Elizabeth Carne of Phillack was a celebrated geologist, writer and banker in the mid-nineteenth century and Violetta Thurstan, nurse and expert weaver and dyer, has been the subject of a major exhibition at Penryn Museum.

History 51 needs you! Get involved!

Do you want to take part or find out more? Register for History 51 Online. Or please contact Curator, Tehmina Goskar at the Hypatia Trust on 01736 366597. Go to full project details.

More information

The Hypatia Trust is based at Trevelyan House, 16 Chapel Street, Penzance, a charity that exists to further the understanding of woman and her achievements. For more information: http://www.hypatia-trust.org.uk/

All Our Stories is a new, simple, funding programme for 2012 with grants available ranging from £3,000-£10,000 developed so everyone can get involved in their heritage. From researching local historic landmarks, learning more about customs and traditions to delving into archives and finding out the origins of street and place names All Our Stories will give everyone the chance to explore their heritage and share what they learn with others. This programme is now closed to new applications and decisions were made in October 2012.

Heritage Lottery Fund. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic, places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK. Website: http://www.hlf.org.uk.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Yes Papa! Our latest addition

Yes Papa! by Barbara Eaton (credit: Francis Boutle Publishers) The Elizabeth Treffry Collection, like a healthy baby, seems to be growing by the minute. Our latest addition is a book by Barbara Eaton, from the Lizard in south west Cornwall, on Hester Chapone, an early Bluestocking.

Published by Francis Boutle Publishers and formally launched at the Hypatia Trust in 26 July 2012, Yes Papa! Mrs Chapone and the Bluestocking Circle is a biography of a mid 18th-century woman on a mission. She educated herself and quickly formed an essential part of the circle of Samuel Richardson. An abrupt end to married life left her in debt and she turned to writing to make ends meet. Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, published in 1773 became a bestseller for decades afterwards, quoted in the novels of Jane Austen and W.M. Thackeray. It was even famous enough to be satired in the anonymously published Anti-Chapone in 1810. Eaton restores Hester Chapone to her rightful place in the hall of fame of the Blue Stocking circle.

We are delighted to have this new addition to the collection and offer Barbara very sincere congratulations on the publication of yet another work that brings women in history to life.

In 2005, the Hypatia Trust published Barbara's highly commended book, Letters to Lydia: ‘beloved Persis’,  a story of a 19th-century love affair between Henry Martyn, a chaplain of the East India Company, and his 'beloved Persis' in Cornwall, Lydia Grenfell, based on their letters and diaries. It was runner up in the 2006 Holyer an Gof Awards for Literature of the Cornish Gorseth. George Care commented in Cornish World:

‘… this is a fascinating study and deserves to be widely read. Barbara Eaton and Hypatia have performed an excellent service’

Yes Papa! is available from all good booksellers or direct from the publishers, RRP £14.99 (Paperback 274 pages with 35 black and white illustrations. ISBN 978 1 903427 70 5).


Name your woman of Cornwall and Scilly

Elizabeth Treffry Collection wordle Here at the Hypatia Trust we are in the early days of campaigning and fundraising for a new, public and permanent home for the nationally significant Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The women represented in the collection are the cultural ancestors of over half a million inhabitants of Cornwall and Scilly today. As we compile an index of these women who, through their writing, art and work, have shaped how we and the rest of the world view and understand Cornwall and Scilly, we would like to know who you think should be included, and why.

It could be someone from the past or someone living now, what contribution have they made? Why are they special? Leave a comment!

The history and heritage of Cornwall and Scilly is still, unfortunately, based on stories of 'great men'. That is not to say that women did not play a prominent part, but it is to say that their lives were not as well documented and so we have to find these fine threads and weave them into something stronger. That is what the Elizabeth Treffry Collection aims to do. We collect and document in three areas:

1. Information and works by women from Cornwall and Scilly (Cornish by origin and non-Cornish inhabitants). 2. Information and works about women from Cornwall and Scilly (by men or women). 3. Information and works by women on Cornish/Scillonian subjects or inspired by a Cornish/Scillonian setting.

So far we have documented the lives of at least 600 women represented in the books and papers of the Elizabeth Treffry Collection. These include artists like Elizabeth Armstrong Forbes, campaigners like Judith Cook, writers like Mrs Craik (aka Dinah Maria Mulloch) and teachers like Litz Pisk. In addition the Hypaita Trust has conducted projects into the Women's Land Army of Cornwall and supported research and publication on the subject of mining women (Bal Maidens).

So please share this post, leave a comment below, tweet us, join us on Facebook and give us your thoughts on how we can best use the collection to make sure that women's heritage in Cornwall lives long into the future.


Collections audit paves way to future

'New beginnings' are our watchwords as the spring months arrive.

In January of this year Dr. Tehmina Goskar accepted the post of Honorary Curator of the Elizabeth Treffry Collection of the Hypatia Trust. As friends and associates, who were with us at its Opening party in 1996 know, the collection is named for the 15th century Lady of Place in Fowey, the ancestral home of the Treffry family of Cornwall.

Elizabeth Treffry Collection at Trevelyan HouseIn a few short months, we are now in a position to make known our plans for ensuring the future of this Collection as a focal point for telling the history of women in our county, the stories that are unknown generally and glossed over often. The neglect is understandable in a region known for its long-standing poverty and traditional dependency upon the leading male occupations of mining, fishing, and farming, though women have always taken a part.

Help us to reveal more about the outstanding women who have also built this 'nation' of Cornwall. Keep watch on this blog and get ready for our campaign ----.

Read more on Curating the Elizabeth Treffry Collection