Laying the cable in Sennen
It’s not that long ago that people communicated via telegram to countries around the world via submarine cables that landed in at Porthcurno and Sennen that would revolutionise global communication. It’s staggering to think about how fast our means of communication have changed and the perfect time to reflect on this as the pandemic forces us to find new ways of connecting.
These changes were one of the themes that children at Sennen School explored as part of our collaborative project with PK Porthcurno. Delving into their local history, children learned about the laying of the cable into Sennen, constructing stories that imagined what this event must have been like through creative writing and weaving words along colourful wool cables.
Of course, telegrams still needed delivering, which is where the Messenger Boys and Girls came in. Dressed in smart uniforms and often straddling a bicycle, these Messengers delivered the telegrams to people’s homes. For this project children became Messengers themselves, writing telegrams and thank you letters to family members, friends and the community.
As part of the project children also explored the theme of kindness, writing and drawing on cheerful yellow parcel labels to share their stories. It’s been heart-warming to read about the gestures that children recognise as kindness, as well as read their thank you letters. It’s so important to take stock of what we’re thankful for and what kindness we have been shown, especially right now.
If you’d like to share with us your stories of kindness or community, we’d love to hear from you by post or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to PK Porthcurno, staff and children at Sennen School and to Feast and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund who helped fund the wider Kemeneth Project.
Over the past year Storylines have been working with the Hypatia Trust as part of the Women of Cornish Music- Past and Present project, which is uncovering and celebrating the contributions of women to Cornwall’s musical heritage. As a team of passionate women we were delighted to be involved in a project that will rebalance the awareness of women’s roles in Cornish music-making past and present.
We started off with an oral history training session that took place in Spring 2020 just prior to the first lockdown. Sharing food, stories and gathered in a intimate circle (something we can only dream about for now) the group were introduced to the basics of oral history and guided through a practical session which aimed to equip them all with the confidence and skills to conduct oral histories as part of the ‘Women of Cornish Music’ project. Then lockdown hit, scuppering any chances of face-to-face oral histories for the foreseeable and leaving many of us with little headspace for anything other than getting by.
Despite this we adapted the training sessions, with zoom meetings, tutorial videos and bespoke creative packs, and a small group managing to conduct oral histories and create artworks to accompany these for the project’s book. These stories include one that explores how Covid has impacted the life of a Cornish musician, which feels very fitting for the book that’s been created through this challenging time.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered on this project, it’s been a pleasure and the stories you have created are very touching. We hope you continue using these skills into the future.
This project has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Cornwall Heritage Trust, Feast and Screen Cornwall.
Since the first lockdown in Spring 2020 we have had the joy of collaborating with the Penlee Family Project, a fabulous intergenerational community support group based in Pool. To help the project continue to engage with their community remotely, and with thanks to additional funding from the Cornwall Community Foundation, Storylines created a series of 100 creative, story-sharing packs as part of the Library of Us project. These packs were bursting with resources, prompts and activities that enabled people of all ages to contribute towards a book to document personal experiences of the pandemic. This process provided families with a framework for reflection and healing and gave those who are isolated an opportunity to connect with others and engage with something creative.
We have been bowled over by the responses we’ve since received and there is so much material that we have created 3 beautiful books to share them. These books document many aspects of life over 2020: including what we have missed; what we’ve been doing; our daily walks; how communities have pulled together; acts of kindness; what we’ve eaten; what belongings have helped us through; what reflections we’ve had; what advice we’d give and what dreams we’ve had. From aged 2 to aged 92, new parents to those isolated at home, we’ve captured a wide range of voices and experiences of this past challenging year. Putting the books together we have experienced many different emotions. We have laughed and we have cried. Some of the stories were heart breaking to read, and others warmed our hearts and gave us hope.
We have been sharing some of these responses on our social media (we’re relatively new to Instagram, so if you can follow us here), and we will continue to share them through our website. Here is a couple of short films showing the books-
We’ll end with a lovely quote from Terry Reynard and Kim Parker, Penlee Family Project Directors…
Hope can never be taken away. We can be sad at what has been lost and taken from us but we can also rejoice at all we have come through and the beautiful lessons we have learned. Here in our book about the Covid 19 experience in our community, we capture the stories of everyday lives in everyday places across all generations. We thank everyone for their contributions to this testimony of our shared experience.
During this challenging time we have been very blessed to have had continuous collaboration with Penlee Family Project in Pool who have asked us to further contribute to their Library of Us project. This time we made very different books and POCKETS was the name of the game! Everyone loves delving into a pocket to find out what’s inside and these pockets came in all shapes and sizes and colours and textures. The one thing they had in common though was that they would contain very special messages and pictures between people of different ages. Once COVID allows for it, the Penlee Family Project is hoping that these books will form an exchange pathway between older members of the community in local care homes and local school children. Hopefully these will build some very special lasting relationships.
Cloth pocket story exchange book
There were 2 types of pocket books. 2 made from card, paper and collage and 2 made entirely from cloth. Sarah scrabbled through her extensive archive of recycled decorative papers to collage upcycled children’s board books and create beautiful monthly pocket pages complete with vibrant envelopes. Storylines is proud of its use of recycled materials and using what we have available, so this was the perfect solution. Ali on the other hand was toiling behind her trusty workhorse sewing machine, delving into her extensive stash of fabrics to choose the right cloth for the perfect monthly seasonal pockets. We hope these stunning books will inspire their users to fill the pockets with precious keepsakes.
Storylines is delighted to be collaborating with PK Porthcurno to deliver an off- shoot of the Kemeneth project to children from year 2, 3 and 4 at Sennen School.
Using some of the fascinating archival objects and documents from PK Porthcurno as a starting point, Storylines have been busy creating some very special packs, which will soon be winging their way to Sennen School. Inspired by the uniformed Messenger Boys, who delivered telegrams by bicycle or foot, children will become ‘Messengers,’ sharing their own stories and collecting stories from their families and friends. Children will explore themes such as belonging, kindness, community, communication and connection, as well as learning about local history of the cables that travelled around the world from Porthcurno and Sennen.
When we come to put together the community book in Sennen, it’ll be lovely to have children’s responses sit alongside some of the memories that we hope will be contributed by the wider community through the Kemeneth story-sharing packs. On this note there are still a few packs left so if you, or someone you know would be interested in getting one, please do get in touch and we can deliver it to you.
Storylines would like to thank PK Porthcurno for supporting this project and Sennen School for their enthusiasm and willingness to get involved.
The wider Kemeneth Project is funded by FEAST and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Storylines are delighted to share that we have received funding for the Kemeneth Project from FEAST and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. Kemeneth, which means community in Cornish, began in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, inspired by stories of communities pulling together. The project will correspond with people by post, phone and online to gather and share personal stories that explore and celebrate community, past and present.
Do you have memories of Sennen or the Clay Country you’d like to share?
Over autumn/winter 2020, Kemeneth will be focusing on gathering stories from two very different communities in Cornwall; Sennen near Lands End and the Clay Country. We will be delivering 100 story-sharing packs within each area to help people share their memories, experiences and reflections of their community. These packs are free and will help people contribute their memories and experiences, past and present, to two community books.
If you know someone who would like to receive a pack then please do get in touch so we can arrange this via email email@example.com or phone 07767382552
As there are a limited number of packs, we are prioritising those who are more isolated at this time, but will be sharing prompts and activities on the Kemeneth website for anyone else interested in contributing.
Find out more about how to get involved, wherever you may live, on the Kemeneth website.
In these times of Covid-19 we have all had to adapt and restructure our lives. Storylines has been no different, so instead of doing face to face interviews and intimate creative workshops to gather stories we have had to explore new avenues of working.
We were introduced to Terry of the fantastic Penlee Family Project in Pool and have since been working in collaboration with them to document the stories of the myriad of participants belonging to groups run by the project. From nursery children, new parents, the Friday Friendship group, sewing circle and local care home residents; the whole age range was there… the true essence of a Family project.
After much discussion it was decided that the best thing to do was to focus on the situation that we all found ourselves in… lockdown, and to gather stories from participants of all ages about their experiences of this challenging time. With thanks to additional finding from the Cornwall Community Foundation we have been able to produce a series of 100 colourful story-sharing packs to help achieve this. The responses from the packs will be collated and presented in a large book, which will remain in the setting as a constant reminder of these unprecedented times.
Over the past couple of months we’ve had our heads down and created an impressive production line that involved folding intricate bespoke booklets, drawing annotated ribbon maps and thinking of interesting prompts to illicit lots of stories. Activities in the packs explore such topics as how we inhabited our spaces during lockdown, what were our experiences around food and what was going on in our heads! Brightly coloured envelopes were filled with exciting goodies such as watercolour pencils, glue sticks, pens and drawing pencils, alongside luscious decorative papers for collage, providing people with a variety of ways to contribute.
Young People at the Penlee Family Project working on their packs
It has been a huge but very enjoyable experiment and we hope that people are enjoying beavering away at our challenges. We are now starting to see some of the responses, which is very exciting and feedback from participants about their experiences of using these packs will be really valuable to shape our future work. Storylines is not sure when it will resume its usual ways of gathering stories, so, this may be the way forward for some time.
After the last pack returns at the end of the summer then the mammoth task of collating all the responses will begin and we will create a large book that will remain at Penlee Family Project for years to come as a reminder of these very strange times.
As part of our recent partnership with the Hall for Cornwall for the Revealing City Hall project, Storylines have have learnt a lot about the City Hall building, exploring the buildings history through the stories of people who have lived, loved and laughed within these walls. Storylines had the pleasure of conducting a series of oral histories with people with personal memories of the building and we are delighted to share the digital stories we have created.
Through the ‘Revealing City Hall’ project, Hall for Cornwall are hosting a programme of events and activities that share and celebrate the building’s rich history. The beating heart of Cornwall for over 170 years, Hall for Cornwall call Truro’s old City Hall their home. Built back in 1847, the building is Grade II* listed and full of secrets waiting to be shared. In 2018 HFC won a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to do just that.
To find out more about the ‘Revealing City Hall’ project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, visit:
October 21st saw the Millenium Rooms in St Mawes decked out in celebratory style for the culmination of a year’s work between Storylines and The St.Just and St.Mawes Heritage Group. The screening of the 2 films which we made using much of the oral history material gathered during the year was to take place and the space was vibrant with colour and expectant chatter. There were displays of archive photographs and new, exciting information that had come to light during the year and the walls were festooned with colourful bunting made by children during sessions with artist Jane Nicholls at St Mawes Primary School. There was also the hand drawn wall piece we created with collaged memories which had been added to by community members as well as a sumptuous afternoon tea of scones and sandwiches. So the scene was set for a truly momentous celebration.
As the starting time crept up it was great to see the room filling with many familiar faces and the opportunity to make contact once again with some of the participants who had agreed to be interviewed or had been on the Memory Walks. It ended up being a full house with an audience of all ages and it was a delight to see smiling faces of recognition as yet another fascinating archive image appeared on the screen. There were gasps of surprise as long forgotten characters emerged in front of their eyes, heartfelt sighs at long lost traditions and hearty chuckles at some of the many mischievous stories that were told. These were beautifully illustrated with the inclusion of an incredible number of archive photographs, some dating back over 100 years and diligently searched for, collected and scanned by participants and members of the Heritage Group. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in this huge task as it brought all the stories we collected come to life. The films were enthusiastically received and enjoyed by everyone in the room and the exhibition and films continued to be enjoyed over the following week in both the Millennium rooms and later the village Institute in St.Just.
We really hope the films are enjoyed far and wide-
From Storylines view it was an absolute pleasure to work alongside the Heritage Group who worked tirelessly arranging interviews, contributing to artwork, organising events and tracking down images. We hope that you will be able to carry on collecting stories from your villages and adding to your archive for future generations. You have made a splendid start.
All participants will receive a DVD recording of the films and there will be an opportunity to buy further copies at a cost of £10 each. Please contact Chris Williams of the Heritage group if you would like to buy a copy by emailing her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project was made possible with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.