News and Items of interest to CALH Members and all Cornish local historians.



AGM Official Announcement..




The AGM will be held at 10.45am on Saturday, 10 March 2018  

at the Kilbirnie Hotel, Narrowcliff, Newquay TR7 1RS,

for which there is no charge.


Minutes of the 2017 AGM will be approved, Reports received, Rates of Subscription considered and office-bearers and members of the committee elected.  Members are invited to stand for election. In particular, a Study Day Secretary is sought to shadow the Joint Events Secretaries in 2018 with a view to taking over in 2019.  


Joan Webb

Hon Secretary


St Austell Footbridge to Go..

 (article from Cornish Stuff)

St Austell Railway Footbridge loses listed status and will go to Wales

Part of Cornwall’s built heritage is to be dismantled and moved to Wales.

Historic England have upheld an appeal by Network Rail to delist the St. Austell station as a whole including the iconic iron foot bridge. Newtwok Rail say too many changes have happened over the years at the station for it to be listed anymore and the footbridge is just a common GWR model. The decision was made because of “many years of stripping away its historic value by Network Rail” and against advice and public opinion according to Cornish Buildings Group.

The foot bridge this very morning Photo Mike Thompson

Historic England desicion notice cites “considerable local concern over the potential de-listing of the station and, in particular, the footbridge. This has prompted a petition to save the footbridge as well as correspondence with the local MP who has objected to the possible de-listing, noting that the footbridge is valued by local people who wish to see it retained”.

However they concluded that cumulative change to the station, including the loss of the downside building and substantial alteration to the upside building means that the station no longer retains the special interest for which it was first listed.

“The footbridge of 1882 is of a standard design, typical of the GWR. Having lost its group value with the wider station, and being of a standard design, it does not merit listing in its own right.”

It’s a case of third time lucky for Network Rail, who had appeal to delist turned down in 2015, applied again in July of last year.

The report concludes “After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are no longer fulfilled. St Austell Railway Station and footbridge should be de-listed”

The full report is here 

At present the bridge and station are designated heritage assets for St Austell. Under Historic England’s guidance to delist there is a “need for clear and convincing justification for harm or loss – substantial harm through physical impact – Less than substantial harm through development affecting the setting – substantial public benefits that outweigh substantial harm”

Network Rail have applied for demolition of the bridge in the past, only to be turned down by planners at Cornwall Council. They also lost the subsequent appeal. But back in July the launched a fresh appeal and the decision has gone in their favour this time.

Campaigners in St Austell including Cllr Mike Thompson and MP Steve Double have been calling for Network Rail to restore the bridge to it’s former glory rather than remove it.

Photo: Mike Thompson


Cllr Thompson told us “Network Rail had allowed this structure to become dilapidated and unsafe through inaction over a number of years which allowed arguments for replacement with newer facilities allowing much greater access. These replacements have been labelled as soulless by some and add nothing to the local environment.

Image result for mike thompson st austell to

The town councillor continued “This decision by Historic England obviously was deeply disappointing as it came as something of a shock simply because of the scarcity of this type of Heritage within Cornwall and the fact that St Austell uses much of it’s historical heritage to attract visitors to the town as it forms an integral part of the Discovery Map supported by St Austell Town Council.

It came at a time when Network Rail had spent £395,000 on upgrading a similar bridge in Wales.

Network Rail is a nationalised company and as such is spending taxpayer’s money, yet the petition and local campaign led by Steve Double and Cllr Sandra Heyward could not influence the opinion of the company.”

‘This bridge is listed for a reason. It is part of St Austell’s heritage and its loss would see another part of town’s history gone’

Network Rail have maintained that the bridge itself will be better preserved elsewhere. Back in July they told us “It was always our intention to carefully remove the existing bridge and find a long term home for it where it can properly be maintained in a suitable setting.  We are currently working on this whilst making sure it is remains structurally safe.” They have now found a heritage railway in Wales to take it.

Historic England held the appeal hearing just before Christmas.

A statement from Cornish Buildings group reads

“The Cornish Buildings Group is very concerned to learn of the delisting of St Austell railway station despite an online petition and an objection from the parish council. The station had been recognised since 1996 as a grade II listed heritage asset of special architectural interest. It also sits within the St Austell Conservation Area

The station was opened on 4 May 1859 as part of the Cornwall Railway. The riveted iron lattice footbridge is dated 1882 and has the Great Western Railway monogram in the spandrels and is supported by pairs of cast-iron columns with enriched bases and capitals. Along with St Erth and Redruth, this was one of three listed station footbridges in Cornwall. Network Rail has already applied without success to demolish two of these, St Austell and St Erth, something the Group has monitored for some time now and remain concerned on their declining condition”

Local MP Steve Double said “I was very sorry to see the historic rail footbridge at St Austell railway station de-listed.”

“While the Minister was aware of the weight of public support for keeping the footbridge, this decision was essentially a planning one, and the amount of public support is not a planning consideration. Equally, based on the planning legislation used to make the decision, there were no planning grounds to keep it.”

“Since the decision was made, I have spoken to senior management at Network rail and expressed my disappointment that more was not done to find a new location for this part of our local heritage locally in Cornwall.”

“It is a shame that it has now also come to light that when the decision to put in the new footbridge was made, the removal of this one was part of the deal struck, and it is unfortunate our previous MP, who worked very closely with this project, did not tell the public about this at the time.”

An article in St Austell Voice described how back in October a part of the corrugated iron roof blew off in a gale which allowed Network Rail to use it as an example to say the bridge was becoming a danger.

Paul Holden, Chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group, said ‘This is a very disappointing decision and will undoubtedly create some vulnerability for both the bridge and the red brick signal box (c. 1899, closed in 1980), which we feel is every bit as good as the listed example in Par. Also at risk are good period railway buildings and canopies, an Edwardian upside station building, granite platforms, Great Western Railway railings, retaining walls and cobbled surfacing’.

The Group feel that St Austell was an important and iconic part of Cornwall’s railway heritage.

Mr Holden added ‘The station has lost its character over time, the historic downside station building was replaced some years back with a modern ticket office, waiting area, café and toilets with a loss of historic interiors, while a poorly designed and nationally unpopular Network Rail ‘standard’ lift bridge, has rendered the old crossing redundant. We feel that this decision reflects on the poor design standards applied by our local planning authority who have failed to listen to local voices and internal advice for many years regarding the state of this heritage asset’.

The plight of St Austell railway station is echoed by the Group’s concerns for the condition of a wider range of heritage assets including Polvellan Manor near Looe, Charlestown Chapel, the North-Light building at Tuckingmill used for cotton weaving in the safety-fuse factory, the Old Fire Station at Redruth and Wheal Busy on the Tregothnan Estate. The Group maintains its own heritage at risk register which can be seen on its website.


Kresen Kernow Newsletter - Dec..

 The December newsletter for the record office - Kresen Kernow - Remember to click on Enable Editing to be able to view the newsletter in full:

National Archives Changes..


If you are planning a visit to The National Archives, please be aware of these changes that may affect you.

Large suitcases and bags no longer allowed on site

Large suitcases, bags and other items too big to fit into our lockers are no longer allowed into our building.  This change is being introduced for safety and security reasons, and is in line with arrangements at similar institutions across London.

Our lockers can accommodate items with a maximum size of 43 cm x 42 cm x 24 cm. Please make arrangements in advance of a visit to leave larger luggage elsewhere.

This change does not include pushchairs or baby buggies, which are still welcome in our building.

Changes to self-service copying facilities from 11 December

From 11 December 2017, we will no longer provide self-service printing facilities or camera stations for users on site.

You will still be able to obtain copies of documents. For original documents, you are welcome to bring in your camera, phone or other device to take images (please note that devices that illuminate or physically touch a document will not be permitted). Digital documents can be downloaded on site and sent via email, free of charge.

If you require high-quality paper copies of original records, our record copying service will be able to provide these for you at our standard advertised rates.

Changes to document ordering hours from 1 January

From 1 January 2018, document ordering in our reading rooms will begin at 09:30 and finish at 16:00 every day we are open to the public.

If you advance order documents before your visit – or if you have reserved documents from a previous visit – you will be able to access these documents when the reading rooms open at 09:00. Advance ordering will close at 16:00 on the working day before a visit.

Our reading room opening times will remain unchanged.

Clarification of CALH's Role..

"The Cornwall Association of Local Historians are aware that there are posts on social media reporting that CALH, as a local history organisation, has made public statements concerning the planned development at Tintagel. The press coverage reported last year was a personal opinion by the member concerned, however we are also aware that this was unclear from the wording.


The Cornwall Association of Local Historians therefore wish to make it clear that neither individual committee members or the committee itself have a mandate to make public statements on behalf of the membership and therefore neither support or oppose the planned development at Tintagel. The committee are all agreed that CALH is not a campaigning group, but only serves as an information exchange and social organization."


CALH Chairman Heritage Champ..

 Our Chairman, Carole Vivian, has been awarded the Sir Richard Trant Memorial Award for Heritage Champion 2017. 

The award was presented to Carole by the Cornwall Heritage Trust at its recent AGM.

Carole was honoured for her work establishing and organising the Cornwall Association of Local Historians (CALH) as well as for her "extensive work giving talks to groups on the history of their locality."

The Trust noted that Carole "also supports the work of the Cornwall Historic Churches Trust by designing and running a tour of a different area of Cornwall and then producing a compaion booklet for sale with the proceeds going to the CHCT."

The Trust noted Carole's "untiring efforts in promoting Cornwall's history made her a very deserving recipient of the Heritage Champion 2017 Award."

CALH joins in congratulating our Chairman on this well deserved award.


In Search of Tywardreath..

 A group has been formed to find and trace the history of the Tywardreath Priory. Calling itself “In Search of Tywardreath” the community group aims to support archaeological and historical investigation into the Tywardreath Priory which existed from about 1088 to 1540. In addition, the group wants to support similar historic research on St Andrew’s Parish Church and identify and collate existing research on the Civil War Battlefield.

Also on the agenda for this very active group is to organise walking routes and a program of regular walks to explore the interesting area in and around Tywardreath. They also plan to investigate the natural and man-made landscape of the area, including palaeoenvironmental evidence.

Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Helen Barden at
More on the priory and local efforts to build its history at


Cornwall Associations of Local Historians