Penzance: my brother was a baron

Among the roughly 4,500 Cornish men and women captured in the Victorian Lives database it’s not that common to come across someone with connections reaching into the Privy Council and the heart of the British establishment. But that’s exactly what we find in Penzance. In 1850 Louise d’Este Courtney was born at New Street, Penzance, … Continue reading Penzance: my brother was a baron

Migration from Mount’s Bay

The neighbouring parishes of Penzance and Paul were among Cornwall’s most populous in the Victorian period. That also means they provided more children for the Victorian Lives database, in fact a total of 133. Of those, just over three quarters (102) have been traced through to 1891 or their death. (Health warning: those of a … Continue reading Migration from Mount’s Bay

Penzance’s ‘truly independent cordwainers’

Penzance was a diverse place, containing a variety of occupations. The largest occupational sector in the town was craftsmen, accounting for almost a half of the adult men. Indeed, this was the largest of any Cornish parish in 1861. Among them were shoemakers. The shoemakers of Penzance had been described in1845 as ‘the bravest of … Continue reading Penzance’s ‘truly independent cordwainers’

The state of Cornish towns in 1600: Part 2

As Richard Carew turned his attention westwards, his accounts of Cornish towns became noticeably briefer, probably reflecting his lack of acquaintance with places increasingly distant from his home at Antony, close to the Tamar. St Columb was merely ‘a mean market town’, while St Austell was still too insignificant to get a mention. Despite being … Continue reading The state of Cornish towns in 1600: Part 2

Cornwall’s literary and philosophical societies

Currently, Cornwall’s largest museum, the Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro, is temporarily closed to the public. This is the result of ‘continued reduction in grants and consistently low visitor numbers’. The museum’s origins date back more than 200 years. On the 5th February 1818 a number of gentlemen met together at Truro Library. From that … Continue reading Cornwall’s literary and philosophical societies

Deprivation in Cornwall: new data

Recently a new Index of Multiple Deprivation was published by the Government. This index measures deprivation in several dimensions, including income, health, educational qualifications and crime among others. In the press reports of this, no comparison was made with earlier indices. Although the methodology has changed somewhat, which makes the exercise a little difficult, it’s … Continue reading Deprivation in Cornwall: new data