Who were these 1920s holidaymakers?

For nearly fifty years I have collected old photographs and postcards of St Agnes Parish. I have also acquired several albums containing people’s holiday photographs. Most albums contain close-ups of individuals and groups with occasional views of the Parish.

One album, containing about 90 photographs, is particularly interesting for the quality and content of the images but I know nothing about the people in them.

The families in this album took their holiday at Trevaunance Cove in the 1920s staying at the recently converted flats. The building had previously been a marine store owned by…

But what’s left now?

On display in St. Agnes museum is a small oval photograph of Churchtown measuring approximately 9 cms. high by 7 cms. wide. It is thought to be the earliest photograph of St Agnes and was taken c. 1850 by Thomas Opie whose occupation at this time was ‘druggist’ at Churchtown. In the picture the whole of road and roadside is cobbled or pitch paved. Looking at the bottom right of the photo there appears to be a line of pitch paving about a foot wide probably used as a drain and separating the road from the pavement. It seems likely…


But why was it there?

There was for a short time at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, what has been described as a castle, tower or summer-house, on the top of the Beacon. At this time it must have been a striking and dominating feature of the landscape, yet little is known of it today. Although documented there are no published close-up drawings.

It is not known when the tower was built, but it may have been there in 1796 when St Agnes Beacon was first used as a…

Why was Queen Anne’s patent revoked?

For centuries St Agnes held a weekly market on a Thursday when people from St Agnes and the outlying districts came to purchase goods from the many standings and stalls which lined the roadside in the Churchtown area.

In the BOOK OF ST AGNES, Descriptive Official Guide of 1925 it says:

From time immemorial a weekly market has been held at St. Agnes on Thursdays; but of late years, owing to the decline in mining and population, the market has been neglected. In the reign of Queen Anne, however (1706), the historian, Mr. Tonkin of Trevaunance, procured the Queen’s patent…

What happened to its cargo and crew?

Some of you may have heard of the wreck of the S.S. Eltham at Chapel Porth on the 18th November 1928. She was a 687 ton Liverpool coaster launched by Dublin Dockyard Co. in April 1915. Newspapers report that on the night in question, under the command of her captain Ellis Foulkes, she was en route from Swansea to Rouen with a cargo of coal and was found derelict on the beach during a north-westerly gale early in the morning.

A trainline was proposed through the village to the cliff above the harbour. What was its purpose and route?

Many will have heard of the Chacewater to Newquay Railway that passed through St Agnes Parish between 1903 and 1963 but how many know that there was a proposed railway to St Agnes nearly 60 years before this?

In 1845 fifty thousand tons of Welsh coal, very large amounts of Welsh Iron, bricks and tiles from Shropshire and slate from Delabole were annually imported into the port of Truro, and all conveyed there by sea around Lands End. …

A hundred years ago a couple were brutally murdered in the garden of their home. Two theories were put forward but what was the jury’s verdict?

The garden where the bodies were found.

On Sunday 25th January 1920 Joseph Hoare, a cattle and horse dealer aged 57, and his common law wife, Laura Sara aged 45, were bludgeoned to death at their cottage at Skinners Bottom near Blackwater.

At about 9.00am on the morning of the murder Joseph’s friend, Jack Prior, visited the cottage. He looked over the garden wall from the road and saw Laura Sara lying face down. He could hear her breathing and saw…

What was the purpose of this unusual structure?

For nearly 150 years a target stood on the cliff above St Agnes Head. The target consisted of a stone wall about nine feet wide with a cast iron plate in the middle. It was constructed in the Napoleonic period(c 1795–1815) for target practice, presumably by the local militia. The target was demolished in WW2 during the construction of Cameron Camp.

The below two photographs show the target c 1930.

Clive Benney

Clive Benney Is a local historian, author and Cornish Bard. His books are available at the St Agnes Museum online shop.

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