Memories

St Just & Pendeen Memories is where people can share photo’s and memories of times and people gone by. If you have anything you think people would be interested in and have nowhere else to share it then do email it to me to consider including it here.

THE TRENCHES PERFORMANCES JULY 2016

Many local people attended the experiential performances at Levant to help us understand and commemorate WW1 and in particular, local people who took part on the front line – from miner to soldier. The Trenches background

When I was there, I took on the character of Thomas Murley and what Ted Mole and Chris Hill found out about him can be read here:  Trenches Thomas Murley

During the experience, I enlisted and served under Sargent Trembath and it is very likely this was an ancestor of my husband, bringing the experience home to me. This is what Ted and Chris have discovered about him: Trenches Humphry Trembath

The Leat Project, Pendeen 1977 to 1991

This article was provided to me by Arthur Matthews but is from our very own Outreach! Shows how long that’s been going! Leat Project 1977 to 1991

 

Great Nephew of Capt Ben (described by Pam below) has made contact with more information

His great grandmother was Capt Ben’s sister Catherine. This is the information he has provided from his research.

The late Capt Ben Nicholas: Write up of Funeral at Pendeen in 1926

The death took place of Capt Benjamin Nicholas at his residence the Ponds Pendeen. Up to the time of the reorganisation of the Levant mining company and their flotation as a limited company he was, for a number of years, a general manager of the mine.  He was born in 1871 was always of a studious nature and made the best of his spare moments.  For 5 years he taught at the St Just mining school and was a member of the institute of mining engineers.

He was a free mason and Mark Master Mason of the Mount Edgcumbe Lodge.  At some point he went to South Africa for a while during which time he was first assayer and compound manager and was agent in the Balmoral Mine after which he returned to his home, where he remained a short time.  He also went on a expedition to Brazil exploring for a London firm.  During that time he had the experience of travelling up the river Amazon further than any other white man had been up to that time.

After returning from Brazil to his native home he soon began travelling again and went in 1902 to Italy as the manager of a Gold Mine.  While he was in Italy he married Miss Williams daughter of the late Rd.Williams of Potheras farm Pendeen.  Returning from Italy he was appointed agent of the Dolcoath Mine for four years, after which he went as manager another mine (unclear which).  There he was the recipient from the company of a marble clock set.  While at the mine he had several offers of similar positions.  He finally decided to takeover the management of Levant Mine, at the age of 36 years. He spent 19 years at Levant, retiring due to ill health.

Capt Nicholas was Chairman of the Tribunal during the Great War, was Chairman of St Just Urban Council and sat as a Magistrate on the West Penwith Bench. He was also trustee of Trewellard, Bojewyan and Morvah Wesleyan Chapels, and for years was the chapel steward of Bojewyan Wesleyan Chapel.

Memories From Pam Urquhart, who lives in Canada but comes from Bojewyan

Levant Miners

Could the man in the dark suit be Captain Ben Nicholas

Pam  contacted me after coming across my page on changes to the local bus services. She shared her memories with me about her family in Bowjewyan and she agreed to me sharing what she has told me with my readers.

“Reading your comments about the changing bus services in Pendeen brought back memories of the summers I spent in Pendeen (Bojewyan) as a young child with my grandmother in the late 40s/early 50s.

During my stay we would go to Penzance at least once, maybe twice. It was a major occasion and it was very exciting. There would be a discussion as to what route we would take to go and what route we would take to come back.

There were three buses to Penzance, the “direct” which went up North Road, via St. Just or via Morvah. Usually we went by the “direct” and came back by one of the other routes. Coming back via Morvah involved somewhere near Madron a steep hill and if the bus was full, the passengers would have to get out and walk up the hill as the bus was not able to get up the hill when full of passengers.

In Penzance there was one restaurant, Warren’s Bakery, where we could have lunch and the meal would be whatever it was that day, roast beef or lamb, chicken, etc.

Food at home was from the delivery man with his horse and cart, meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables. There was a butcher in Trewellard, Olds, but that has probably long since gone and in those days Trewellard was a long way from Bojewyan.”

Pam went on to tell me

“My grandmother was Mary Nicholas and my grandfather was Capt. Ben Nicholas who was the manager of Levant Mine at the time of the disaster in 1919. My grandmother was from the Williams family of Portherras Farm which was built by my great great grandfather around 1820.

It has recently been sold so I don’t know what will happen to it. My grandmother was a stalwart of Bojewyan Chapel for many years – you probably know the chapel is now a house which has apparently become rather dilapidated in recent years.

I never went to Trewellard Chapel, which was known as the big chapel, when I was a child and it is only a few years ago that I have seen it and discovered that “the big chapel” actually had 59 members! The only person I know from the old days there now is Arthur Matthews.”

Levant Mine Today

Levant Mine Today

Depending on your viewpoint, coincidence or fate, before Pam emailed me I had taken a book out of our local library called “Levant A Champion Cornish Mine” by John Corin and edited and expanded by Peter Joseph. I opened it up after receiving the email and, I suppose I should not have been surprised but Pam’s  grandfather is referred to.

Interestingly, there is a group photograph of miners in the book and the caption speculates that one of the men was captain Ben Nicholas. It also said he was a local preacher. I have communicated with Pam again on this and she hopes to get a copy of the book so might be able to confirm whether or not the photo is her grandfather. Pam told me a bit more about her grandfather, in response:

“I don’t remember hearing that Capt. Ben was a local preacher but he could have been – he was a very religious man. He had a near death experience, being pronounced dead by a doctor in 1922 but getting up and continuing working 4 hours later. He actually died in 1926 and my grandmother died in 1969 so a lot of information has been lost over the years.

He and my grandmother were mainly involved with Bojewyan chapel but Capt. Ben left there at some point when he was mine manager due to the fact that the miners were treating him very badly – this was at the time when the unions were getting started and some union officials came to Levant and got the miners up in arms about their low pay which they took out on Capt. Ben. He feared for his life so carried a gun and had a body guard.

He was quite upset about this as although their pay was low, he was very good to them in terms of giving them eggs, butter, firewood, etc. from the farm and generally looking out for those in real need. The miners were all Methodists and Capt. Ben was very hurt by the fact that they were very unappreciative of all that he did for them – he therefore left Bojewyan chapel and went to Pendeen church, while my grandmother continued to go to Bojewyan.”

An unrelated memory Pam shares is this:

Another little snippet from the old days is that my grandmother always kept 4 pennies (old money) in the house in case there was an emergency and she had to phone my father. The phone was at the post office in a shop (long since gone) at the bottom of Higher Bojewyan. I used to go to that store sometimes as you could get 4 sweets for 1d – however, they only had one kind of sweets!”