Thank you to all the people who joined us at Treffry Viaduct yesterday for the ‘A Visit to Luxulyan Valley‘ event. It was a cold and changeable day, with sunshine, showers and even a rainbow which went from one side of the valley to the other! People of all ages were invited to explore the valley through the stories of past visitors, who were represented on large figure shaped boards dotted around the viaduct, and to participate in activities… We also captured some new stories, histories and traditions which will now become part of the ‘Landmark Travels’ project.
Inspired by a story from a journalist who wrote about the ceremonial laying of the 1st stone of Treffry viaduct, families made their own colourful banners to adorn the viaduct. These featured their own family emblems and were made using cloth napkins, referencing the many picnics that have been had here in the past.
Families considered the challenge that Joseph Treffry faced, peering over the edge of the viaduct, down the valley to get a clearer idea of the task he faced, before building their own scaled down viaducts between the granite moorstones that litter the valley.
The marble challenge was a great hit, with families having to work as a team to move a marble from one side of the viaduct to the other. This was inspired by the story of a local granite mason, again focusing on a colossal task of building the viaduct with just man and horse power, further emphasising the importance of team work..
A story of 12 year old Prince Arthur, son of Queen Victoria, who visited the viaduct in 1862, got families thinking about how the viaduct was viewed in the past, and what the Prince’s impressions would have been. With this in mind, and some advice about Victorian letter writing, people were invited to write a postcard home from the Prince. A story from a Victorian collector inspired the reverse side of the postcard, on which was stamped a small cabinet of curiosities. Families illustrated the inside of the cabinet with things that they had collected on their journey around the viaduct, including sights, colours, smells, sounds, textures, and emotions.
The final story was shared with us some while ago by Ivan Phillips whose great-grandmother Bessie Hawken lived in the farmhouse up the road and used to watch visitors arrive at Luxulyan train station (on the branch line from Newquay) out of her window, and welcome them with a Cornish tea. Ivan joined us again and was filmed re-telling this story.
We like to think all those who picnicked here in the past might have been lucky enough to enjoy some local music, as we were on the day. A huge thanks you to those who came to play, it was lovely to hear the music drifting down the valley.
Here are a few more photographs of the day…
One of the Public History students, whom is currently volunteering with Storylines, also created this short film to document the event-