‘Merchant Schooner Memories’ was a community project that uncovered local memories of merchant topsail schooners from Cornwall and beyond. Working in partnership with the Rhoda Mary Project, the project involved conducting multiple oral history interviews, the creation of a series of digital stories and a workshop with Devoran Primary School.
During the 19th century, coastal communities throughout the West Country financed, built and operated a great fleet of merchant schooners, creating a golden age of sail-driven transport with far-flung links to North Africa, the Baltic and the Americas. This was a period of booming world trade and brought great prosperity, as well as drama and risk to the local communities involved.
Although the times of merchant schooners are not within living memory, there are a legacy of stories that have been passed down through the generations. It is these memories that the project sought to uncover and preserve; sharing them through the creation of a series of digital stories and preserving them for future generations.
“What a wonderful experience the Storylines workshop was. So creative and immersive, the children were engaged throughout. There were plenty of opportunities for the children to be creative and a good level of support was provided for those who were less confident in their artistic abilities. The workshop made history come alive in our classroom and the pupils have produced a spectacular piece of artwork of which they are immensely proud.”
Katie Thurston, Class 6 teacher at Devoran School