The hollow jarring of the distant steam engines

From page 6 of my The Real World of Poldark: Cornwall 1783-1820 ... On television, we saw Ross Poldark galloping along the cliff tops, crystal clear in the sparkling sunlight. Back in 1795, an anonymous visitor was more concerned with the smoke that enveloped the mining district. Redruth was ‘in a cloud of smoke ... … Continue reading The hollow jarring of the distant steam engines

‘The dialect of the people grew more provincial’: the east Cornish mining boom of the 1840s

The 1840s was the first decade for over a century in which population growth in Cornwall, fuelled by the growth of mining, abruptly slowed down. In the 1840s mass emigration began from Cornwall to places overseas. But that overseas movement, stimulated by the economic difficulties of the later 1840s, has masked a parallel contemporary migration … Continue reading ‘The dialect of the people grew more provincial’: the east Cornish mining boom of the 1840s

Cornish mining in the 1790s: truly world-beating

We hear a lot these days in the UK about ‘world-beating’ this or that, usually based on precious little evidence. If we want to find historical examples of genuinely world-beating enterprise, then look no further than late eighteenth-century Cornwall. It’s sometimes easy to forget how far one small district in Cornwall dominated eighteenth-century copper mining. … Continue reading Cornish mining in the 1790s: truly world-beating

Peter Lanyon’s insider modernism

The St Ives school of modern art was dominated numerically by temporary residents. However, one of its central and most talented figures was locally born Peter Lanyon (1918-64). According to Andrew Causey’s biography of Lanyon, his method was ‘one of sublimation, where the figure disappears into landscape’. For Lanyon, the landscape was not the object … Continue reading Peter Lanyon’s insider modernism