Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Treasure those Memories … part 2 … early days, Hawk's Point mining, St Ives coastal railway ...

 

Well ‘we left me’ in my very young nakedness on Carbis Bay Beach … my grandmother’s house was about half-way down the steep Porthrepta Road to the beach … and Carbis Bay Hotel, where the G7 Summit is going to be held (apparently!) …

 

Carbis Bay - looking south east towards
Lelant and Hayle;
Carrack Gladden headland + Hawks Point cliffs

 … opposite St Anta church and Hendra’s Hotel … my great uncle and his wife would come across from St Ives to the church – these two my mother would look after in her Care Home into their late 80s – they were great fun and we often visited them in St Ives.

 

St Anta Church, Carbis Bay
A little lower down Porthrepta road there was a lane through to a rough path above the railway line, which took us through nut groves … always overgrown – but if the steam train passed and the driver saw us … we’d get a toot, or two! – just what kids needed – we waited with baited breath on hearing the puffing billy approach.

 

 

It was not maintained in my day!
This track is now the 21st century South West Coastal Path – there’s lots of information on the net about the various routes.  Back in the day – we’d grope through the hazel nut fronds pushing out to claim their light …

 

 

… this took us round Carrack Gladden headland and on towards the sand-dunes of Lelant … but hidden in these rocks above the path was Hawk’s Point – an early mine producing 670 tons of copper, 1 ton of ochre and some tin – most during its short life 1851 – 1870.   (see first photo above).

 

St Ives station c 1890
Hacked out from these 60 metre (200 foot) cliffs … transported somehow – possibly by mule to be smelted or processed at a local mine … probably via Hayle to the major mining area of Camborne/Redruth during the 1800s – 1900s – South Crofty, the last mine, closed in 1998.

 

 

Tin Mining Redruth, c 1890
Mining began in the early Bronze Age (bronze is mostly copper with some tin) … and it is possible that the Phoeniceans controlled tin mining (one of the earliest metals to be exploited) (c 1250 BC) … but more likely under the Veneti tribe of Brittany – trading with the Roman Empire.

 

 

Steam train coming from St Ives towards
Carbis Bay - with fishing boat 1950
But the railway did get to its westerly terminal, Penzance, in 1852 … and the branch line to St Ives opened in 1877 … too late for the ‘scraggy’ Hawk’s Point mine.

 

I’m having difficulty breaking down these snippets of remembrances into salient posts … but I think I’ve worked it out finally!  


Ad in the late 1920s or 1930s
I’m going to cover the first 20 years of my life to 1968 – the time my grandparents were still alive and living in Carbis Bay, before my mother moved her mother over to the house she’d bought in Penzance/Newlyn – where she made her future life.  They won’t be long … bits of history added in …


For info: T for Tin Miners ... post

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


31 comments:

John Holton said...

I looked it up on a map. Wow, that must be a beautiful sight...

Elephant's Child said...

Precious memories - with snippets of history thrown in.
Perfect. Thank you. Muchly.

bazza said...

We have so many treasures in the UK. If we can't travel abroad for a while there are very many places to go right here at home! The south-west is a wonderful part of the world!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s knowingly knackered Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That mine operated for a really long time.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love these in-depth insights into life and history! Thanks for sharing.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
however you present it, it's always appealing! Some names to trigger memories here too, of childhood holiday (via Cheddar gorge - never forgot those caves!) to the 'foot' of the isles...St Ives and Penzance. Delightful! YAM xx

Anabel Marsh said...

Good memories!

Joanne said...

How fun and positively delightful. Snippets and glimpses into adventuring young kids. I always loved going to the train tracks (even though it was forbidden - oops). And for you to get to be near coast and water - that's heaven! You can meander and always pull us in - lovely post.

Hels said...

I would rather have lived on the southern coast, far away from the big cities with their dirty air. Even if there were fewer jobs and lower incomes down there. But I bet everyone was delighted when Penzance and St Ives got their railway connections.

Fil said...

The joy of hearing the train being tooted as children - wonderful memory Hilary. And hazel groves - I rarely see hazels now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John – it’s a stunningly beautiful part of the world – now very crowded, sadly!

@ EC – just odds and ends – but bringing the area to life through the last 70 years or so … so pleased you enjoyed it …

@ Bazza – yes so many stunning places to see, or countryside to wander in, or coastal areas to visit – I love our lands. I have to say I’ve realised that there’s a lot of people here! I agree the South-West is just wonderful …

@ Alex – the hand-worked Hawk’s Point mine lasted 20 odd years before the obvious advantages of industrialisation kicked in and mines not viable were abandoned. South Crofty has been worked, or kept viable, for 400 years … it’s the last of the original mines working in Cornwall: kept now for history and training.

@ Tyrean – very little memory … but I do love bringing back the history to life of those very early days.

@ Yam – thank you so much … and yes many of you will know about the West Country – though I’ve never been to the Cheddar Gorge, or to the caves … always too much of a rush to get ‘home’ to the west. St Ives, Penzance, Lands End and the Penwith area – is just lovely …

@ Anabel – thank you …

@ Joanne – yes those days with the steam train were special – another story coming shortly. Those tracks draw us in, don’t they – despite parental warnings … and we had to cross them to get to the sea. So glad you felt happy reading these jottings …

@ Hels – yes the south coast is lovely, more so the western part. Back in the day the development with the coming of the railway changed our English landscape. The railway would have helped people get around more straightforwardly … and it opened the area up to literary types, creatives … especially artists, who formed talented, imaginative colonies …

@ Fil – yes I do remember the steam, puffing noise, and the hoots as the train went through a tunnel, or saw the kids along the line. We had hazels in Surrey too – so as you say hazel groves seem to have been vanishing … but they’re useful for basket-ware, and pea or bean sticks … also the trees can be coppiced, raising sticks for fencing … it’s an interesting tree.

Thanks so much to you all for being happy to read my rambling jottings: lovely seeing you … all the best - Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

This is all very fascinating, Hilary, and it's history with a human touch. Nothing dry or sterile the way you tell it, with facts interspersed with personal recollection, and delightful illustrations. I think you have found a new writing genre! I will very much look forward to taking the rest of the journey with you. Stay well. Hugs from southern Ontario. David

Jemima Pett said...

Oh, waving to the train drivers and getting a blast on the whistle back from them.... I wonder where my friend Janet Green is now? Her dad was the station master. :)

Deborah Weber said...

Love this series Hilary. Such a richness of memories! And your perspective woven through the glimpse of your country's fascinating history is a genuine treat. I'm ALWAYS learning something here when I visit. Thank you.

Jacqui Murray said...

Through your eyes, that history will be fun, Hilary. I'm looking forward to it.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Lovely snippets Hilary. The steam train brought back happy memories for me too. It's been years since my last visit to the West Country. Now that 'staycations' are becoming the in-thing I might just head back there with my tent one day soon!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David – thanks so much … I appreciate your thoughts … I’ll carry on as such. I keep thinking about interesting snippets …

@ Jemima – oh yes waving to the train drivers and getting that blast back – wonders for small children. I wonder where Janet Green went to – she’s not here … sorry! Where were her parents station master/s …?

@ Deborah – thank so much … and I’m delighted if you’re enjoy these posts – and our county – the western-most part of our little land. Chuffed to read you always find something of interest to think about …

@ Jacqui – great … so pleased you’ll enjoy it - or at least look forward to them!

@ Keith – thank you – oh great so pleased you too remember the steam trains from back in the day. Well that sounds like a really good idea – a break away with a tent … the way to travel – enjoy …

Thanks so much to you all – delighted you’ll be interested in the snippets of a young life, and a county moving into the second half of the 20th century. Stay safe - Hilary

Lisa said...

So fun to travel with you through your memories. I've been to Penzance once, a very very long time ago! Thanks for sharing!

Rhodesia said...

Love this post Hilary and so looking forward to hearing about the next 20 years. It is such fun looking back as I found out. I only wish I could put my posts in reverse so that people could read from the beginning to the end, instead of from the final years back to the beginning!! Cheers Diane

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - I love reading these snippets of history and your memories. I look forward to discovering more!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Wo what greeat memories

Liz A. said...

That must have been a fun place to tramp around in as a kid.

Jz said...

I'm enjoying the rambles, thank you. :-)

Janie Junebug said...

I know I'll enjoy your posts about your memories.

Love,
Janie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lisa – that’s wonderful you’ve been to Penzance back in the day … it’s got a brilliant history …

@ Diane – thank you … they’ll be short and sweet – just sort of thinking 20 years is a long time – so they will be snippets of life. I guess you could put links in a post pointing to the start, at 5 years … and on.

@ Donna – thank you … small items – but the history is interesting …

@ Jo-Anne – thanks you …

@ Liz – lots of places to see and get to … certainly fun times.

@ Jz – that’s great … shortish, I hope!

@ Janie – many thanks … appreciate your thoughts …

All the best everyone – take care and enjoy life, such as it is at the moment … Hilary

Steve said...

Great post and pictures about the memories do have a great weekend.

troutbirder said...

I love your little site mentions into history but then that's what I taught long ago and I've been away from blogging for a while helping nonfunctioning neighbors stuck totally with the pandemic but I hope to get back connecting again my blogging friends and getting the Covid vaccination will help a lot that's scheduled for next week. Ray

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Steve - many thanks ... good to see you again ...

@ Ray - well done on helping your neighbours and generally looking after yourself too; so pleased you'll have the vaccination next week ... when most of us have ours it will be a boon ... but still for now we'll need to be careful.

Thanks to you both - have good weeks - Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hi Hilary, Glad you had a very adventurous childhood surrounded by stunning scenery! Looking forward to learning more about your special memories.

Julie

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow, so fascinating, Hilary! Especially to see the links of history going so far back!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - we were lucky ... especially being able to go to Cornwall - it's always been special for me. Another goes up today ... I hope, if my internet stays on!

@ Deniz - lots of history in this little land - with connections around the world ...

Lovely seeing both of you - all the best Hilary