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Exploring the role churches and chapels played in port community

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 23, 2013

  • Henry Fleming's 1905 class at Newlyn Wesleyan Day School. Can you identify anyone?

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The religious life of a Cornish port is being celebrated in an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia at the weekend.

Entitled Church, Chapel And Playtime, the event has been organised by Newlyn Archive to provide local people and visitors with a history of the churches, chapels and other religious institutions that have existed in the village from earliest times until the post-war period.

As well as a large collection of photographs, there will be a display of artefacts, including the stone-laying implements used to build Trinity Sunday School. Visitors will also be able to see an episode of the BBC's Songs of Praise programme, in which Newlyn Male Choir sings in the fish market.

Honorary archivist Pam Lomax said: "The main exhibition covers the history of the Anglican Church of St Peter's, the Wesleyan Chapel at Trinity and the two Primitive Methodist Chapels – Ebenezer in Boase Street and Centenary at Bellevue.

"It explores the role these institutions have played in the educational and social life of the Newlyn community.

"There are also exhibition boards about Paul Church, Sancreed Church, Methodist chapels at Mousehole, the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and the Fishermen's Rest at Newlyn Town."

The Newlyn Archive, which is run by volunteers, was stared in 2009 with the aim of making history relevant to local people by inviting them to participate in preserving their heritage. It consists of a collection of digital and non-digital documents, certificates, pamphlets, books, photographs, paintings, films and recordings about Newlyn and its people.

Local people are able to contribute by personalising archive documents and identifying individuals and locations in photographs.

"The time span of the archive is from earliest historic times until yesterday, so it is an archive for tomorrow as well as for today," said Pam. "All age groups in the community are included, so we value the oral history of older members of the community but also encourage children to become our archive detectives."

The archive currently contains more than 5000 items on paper or in digital form. In 2012 the archive expanded its area of operation to include a significant Arts & Crafts section. This was the result of taking over the West Cornwall Art Archive. The task of sorting through and listing the material is being undertaken by a group of friends of the archive and the material is steadily being catalogued.

"It is a very exciting job and there is much work to be done in identifying the personal face – the people and places – hidden in the documents and photos," added Pam.

As well as researching and archiving, volunteers also published their findings. Two books – Newlyn At War 1939-1945 and Newlyn At School 1846-1946 have already been released by Newlyn Archive, while a third, Newlyn At Play, is currently being worked on.

For those unable to attend the open day, archive workers are on hand every Friday from 9.30am until 12 noon in the Mount's Bay Room at the Trinity Centre on Chywoone Hill. They welcome visits from anyone who fancies a cuppa and an opportunity to reminisce, research or learn.

For more information visit www.newlynarchive.org.uk or call 01736-364537.

Church, Chapel And Playtime is at the Trinity Centre in Newlyn from 10am to 3.30pm on Saturday April 27.

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