Issue 12 (2007)
New Penwithian Issue 12 (2007)
Quite a lot has happened since I put pen to paper for the last Secretary’s Smidgin in the 2006 newsletter and I hope John Richards and I have managed to capture some of it in this year’s newsletter. The new format has proved a great success and has been so much easier to distribute. Once again thanks to John for his work on the editing and printing side.
The main event has been the unveiling of the Memorial Window to Mr Bradley and Mr Rising by Mrs Joan Hancock and Mrs Tean Rising. Over 180 old boys and staff contributed towards the window, some even donating in memory of fathers or siblings who were at the school. Without their kind donations we would never have been able to install the window and may I, on behalf of the Association, thank all those who gave. We eventually received a total sum of £3855 which more than covered the costs. We will need to decide what we might do with the balance and perhaps that could be a topic for discussion at the next Reunion. All those who contributed were given life membership of the Association which will mean that they all will now be on our database and receive this annual newsletter. An article on the ceremony is contained in this issue which includes a list of all those who contributed towards the window. If you by any chance have been omitted from the list then let me know and I will rectify it in the next newsletter. At the ceremony Mrs Joan Hancock, the daughter of Mr Bradley was originally going to say a few words but the light was not too good in the entrance hall so instead she has written a personal account of her father which we are very happy to pass on to you. Both Joan Hancock and Tean Rising are most grateful to the Association for installing the memorial and extracts from their letters are also reproduced.
Part refurbishment of the School War Memorial and Roll of Honour which featured in our last letter has now been carried out by John Mead. John cleaned the woodwork and the brass plates but he says that a complete restoration would require the dismantling of the memorial and, without the original plan, this would be an almost impossible task. We do not plan to do anything further at present. However, interest in the memorial has triggered John Laity to write an article on William Pezzack the craftsman who carved and built it, which, I am sure, you will find extremely interesting.
This year’s reunion was a great success and we are still hoping to get the recording made of the School Song on to the Association website. If you do come along to the next Reunion at the Queens on Saturday 29th December try and bring some memorabilia of your time at school. It is surprising what people can unearth and there is always someone there to share your discovered treasure.
We are still deliberating on how we might celebrate the centenary of the school’s founding in 2010. If you have any ideas come along and share them or drop me a line.
Finally, as always I am extremely grateful to all those whom have provided articles and photographs, also to our loyal advertisers. If you would like to advertise your business etc, we would be delighted to include you.
Andrew Coak, Secretary
Where Are They Now?
‘By Memories Chain We Linked Remain’
The appeal for the Memorial Window has once again focussed attention on to the Association. It has resulted in a fairly busy post bag and has generated a lot more contact and some very interesting correspondence. Ralph Pearce (38) from St Just, who also contributed to the window on behalf of his late father A. E. Pearce, whose school number was 21, made the very valid point that like many of his contemporaries he was surprised that no mention was made of the remarkable contribution that Mr M. J. Hearley, Headmaster from 1942-45, made to the School in the short time he was there. In a difficult time not only did he raise academic standards but by example and enthusiasm he raised standards in a variety of sports. Furthermore his pastoral care was such that that he was both supportive and even in some cases instrumental in assisting many of Ralph’s generation in getting into University or College. He also mentions the contribution made by Mr W. R. Smith Headmaster 1971-80 who in his final year at the School achieved its best academic results with 38 boys going to University or College. Jim Treglown (41) also known as ‘Trigger’ as a staff member (5784) recalls being taught Maths by Mr Bradley and playing the violin with him in the Penzance Orchestral Society. Jim also reminded me at the unveiling ceremony that it was he, on the direction of Mr Rising, who took many of the form photographs which we feature from time to time in the newsletter. Howard Curnow (48) sent in a Curnow family donation and wonders when his father Morley, who would have been 11 years old on 1 Feb 1911, actually started at the school. The school opened on the 24 January 1910 with 130 boys but I cannot find him in the early list. B. G. Williams (38) writing from Exeter recalls Mr Bradley as a superb pioneer and quite a disciplinarian but he did not like his Algebra lessons. Robert Perry (65) recalls Mr Rising as a headmaster of the old school, pun very deliberately intended, with a tremendous force of personality. Conversations in the canteen dimmed noticeably in volume whenever he walked through. Billy Leah (45) writes that like all of us he has marvellous memories of Mr Rising, too many to list; but he also had one lasting memory of Mr Bradley when he gave an introductory lesson on the oboe at his thatched cottage in Alverton. It was Billy who suggested that we should add the ‘MA’ after their names on the window to denote their academic profession.
David Wright (56) contacted me from his home in Australia and was the first to make a donation and sent in some anecdotes on Mr Rising which appear later. Stuart Guppy (52) a regular correspondent let me know that he is now moving back to live in Carbis Bay and asked me to give details of the Association Website. Dicky Evans (57) still living in Kenya but spending more time in UK with his sponsorship of the Cornish Pirates wrote with a change of address. He has also been heavily involved in the Music Centre at the present Humphry Davy School. He admits to never joining the school choir as he could not sing, but as he says “Who cares”. Joseph Matthews (45) referring to the photos on OPA website has pointed out that the 1949 sixth form & prefect photos are those for the year 1951-52. The 1950 sixth form and prefect photos are indeed those for the year 1950-51. Thank you Cousin Joe.
Peter Nicholls (60) was interested to see the picture of 3A 1963 in the 2006 edition submitted by his classmate Anthony Casey. In the row next to the back Anthony mentions Michael Palmer but he was in fact Simon Palmer; the unknown person was Ian Gaulter and Randall was not Roger who was younger but was David ‘Jock’ Liston. Phew! Peter was also interested to read the article by Bob Dyson also 1960 vintage. He remembers Bob driving his maroon Wolsey 1500 778 OAF and doing ‘handbrake turns’ in front of the canteen.
Rikky Rooksby (72) wrote from Oxford asking for details of the Association. He is still in touch with two exteachers, Tony Fitt and Russell Jory, and until recently a third, Lawrence James. He tells me that he included a couple of allusions to the school song in an orchestral suite which he wrote a year or two ago called Pictures at a Cornish Exhibition.
Some of you may have seen John Hanlon (55) on TV talking about low cost airlines. John “retired” from British Airways in 1998 after 30 years, all of it overseas. His last post was General Manager Africa and Indian Ocean, based in Johannesburg. He is currently seconded from Flybe as Secretary General of ELFAA, the European Low Fares Airline Association, and living in East Northamptonshire.
Owen Waters (66) with his father Bill Waters (36) popped into the North Inn to see us in September and had a curry. Owen lives in Florida and is a retired computer programmer and software designer.
I have been in touch with Brian Coak (49) who I now discover is my 4th cousin, our great-grandfathers were brothers and ran building businesses in Causewayhead. Brian lives permanently in Hong Kong but continues to show a great deal of interest in things Cornish and has a very interesting website. It is worth a visit http://web.mac.com/briancoak/iWeb. His tribute to Tammy Rescorla is well worth a read. I have also had contact with Malcolm Clarke (49) in Guildford who was the same year as Brian and assumed we were related. He is still in touch with Richard Knox and Eddie Richards. Coincidentally Roger Veal (47) writing from Germany met someone in Dusseldorf who mentioned Brian. Roger wrote to thank me for his New Penwithian . He is always suspicious of brown envelopes thinking it might be from the Tax Office. He says “Imagine my delight on opening it. I read it from cover to cover that day.
Tom Rouncefield (46) writes from Restronguet Point with minor corrections to ‘Three Score Year and Ten’. In the 1953-54 Rugby XV the person to the left of Ben Batten is him and in the listing of pupils on p132 he (No 2486) comes from St Ives not Penzance! Lionel Pollard (46) and family over from France dropped in for Sunday Lunch at the North Inn and we discussed once again the centenary celebrations.
Humphry Davy also (46) found out about the memorial window from a cutting from ‘The Cornishman’. He has lived in Australia for almost 50 years but keeps in touch with other 46ers Edward Tanner, Henry Taysom, Ted Joyce, Mike Curnow and David Mann. He points out that his entry in ‘Three Score Years and Ten’ (number 2451) has been corrupted to ‘Dauby’. It is sod’s law that they had to get such an historical name wrong!
Desmond (CDR) Pengelly (34) wrote from Cheshire apologising for not being able to make the window unveiling. He had written to Mrs Joan Hancock saying he always remembered her father every time he had to draw a graph. He was elected to the Fellowship of the American College of Physicians last year.
Frank Blewett (55) moved down to Penzance in mid-December, having escaped from the ‘Big Smoke’ after 40 years in London. His move was delayed by problems in January when he had a fall in New Zealand, resulting in a collapsed lung and 6 weeks in hospital in Hamilton, from which he is now happily fully recovered. Frank was able to see a lot of Allan Green (56) who is Professor of Botany in Waikato University at Hamilton Allan is the son of wellloved local ‘bobby’ PC Johnny Green, whom many of you will remember.
Others who have been in touch include Horton Bolitho (43) trying to track down the address of Humphry Beckerleg (48), (it was Humphry who sent in the photo of form 1b 1950 which he had obtained from Brian Burrell of the same year). Peter Weller (42) has sent in the photo of the prefects in 1947; Frank Blewett (49) asking for information on his namesake (see above), Keith Mollard (47) who kindly offered to contact all the 47ers on his database to tell them about the memorial window and what an excellent response we had from them, Ken Litt (34) now living in Salisbury, Geoff Seymour (52) in Australia, Ian Campbell (44) from Bournemouth, Jonathan Page (62) now living in Calgary Canada and Malcolm Saunders (62) in the Cayman Islands.
I am finding also that a lot more old boys are communicating by e-mail so if you want to drop me a quick line then please do. Keep your memories, anecdotes and letters coming.
[Use this e-mail link. or write to: 7 The Square, Pendeen, Penzance, TR19 7DN]
The Unveling of the Memorial Window
On Wednesday 27 June 2007 the stained glass window in memory of Mr Bradley and Mr Rising was at last unveiled in the old School Assembly Hall. Over 60 old boys and staff were welcomed by Mr Rod James, the Headmaster of the present Humphry Davy School, for the unveiling ceremony by Mrs Joan Hancock and Mrs Tean Rising. In his introductory remarks the Association Secretary, Andrew Coak, thanked both Mr James for his welcome and for allowing them to invade his school premises in the middle of a school working day, and Kathryn Uren, Chair of the School Governors, for agreeing to the installation of the window.
He also took the opportunity to give a big thank you to all those old boys and staff who donated to the window. Over £3600 had come in from all over the world and this sum had more than met the costs of production, installation, administration and celebration.
In the window the designer, Simon Harvey, son of Percy Harvey (38), had captured the historical roots of the school and included the two badges of the old Grammar School, the old school motto ‘Onen Hag Ol’ and a pertinent line from the School song. ‘By memory’s chain we linked remain’. All this was superimposed on a Cornish flag. At the bottom was a tribute to Mr Bradley and Mr Rising with dates acknowledging their 58 years of service.
Between them in those 58 years they had overseen the education of over 4,500 pupils at the school, nearly three quarters of the total intake, and also administered over 140 teaching staff.
He said how extremely delighted the Association was to welcome Mrs Tean Rising and Mrs Joan Hancock to carry out the simple unveiling ceremony and he was sure that, as a wife and a daughter they would have very different memories of the two men who contributed so much to the school than we the pupils under their authority. For us when 10 conduct marks were looming and the inevitable interview with the headmaster was pending we did not always have a great deal of affection for our headmaster. Undoubtedly for some they were strict, sometimes harsh disciplinarians, but if one was willing to work hard then the ‘Boss’ (for they both had earned this nickname) gave full support and, as the great leaders that they were, inspired many pupils to achieve their true potential.
Many of the letters and phone calls that he had received from old boys since launching the appeal testified to the great influence that these men had had on their lives and in some instances their fathers before them.
He hoped that in future years the window would help to remind everyone of the dedication and service they gave to us, to the school and to the community .
Before the actual unveiling of the window a short dedication was made by the Reverend Derek Polgrean (44).
The unveiling ceremony was followed by light refreshments, pasties and a bit of saffron cake, and many memories were awakened, particularly for those old boys who had not visited the school for 40 or 50 years. The oldest old boy present was Hugh Miners who joined the school in 1923 and there were a few who had been at the school with both headmasters.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS
Mrs Rising wrote:
“Thank you so much for the special unveiling of the stained glass window dedicated in memory of Mr Bradley and Tommy. Every Old Penwithian, including Mrs Hancock and myself were so proud and so grateful – so many memories.”
Mrs Hancock wrote:
“I am very sorry I was such a bruised reed. I now have only partial sight and can only read with a torch magnified. In consequence I realised that I could not do justice to a speech about my father without notes to refer to.
I am enclosing a copy of the speech I wanted to make which you may like to put in your magazine.
I thought the write up in ‘The Cornishman’ was splendid and the window really beautiful. My father would have been very touched and honoured, as indeed I am, that the Old Boys collected to have it made as a memorial to him. I was delighted that you asked me to be present at the dedication and to help with the unveiling.”
Memories of My Father, Gilbert Lesley Bradley
by Joan Hancock
My father was born in Dudley. He was the youngest of a family of 11. He was educated at Leatherhead and Cambridge where he read Mathematics. He taught at Worcester and Northampton. My mother was a nurse at Northampton General Hospital. For 6 years she was Sister in charge of the eye ward and assisted the ophthalmic surgeon in theatre. He suggested that she took her optical examinations and she went to my father for coaching in mathematics. They fell in love. My father applied for the Headship of the newly built County School for Boys and he was appointed Headmaster.
My father’s mother was a Cardew and a descendant of Dr Cornelius Cardew born in 1748 and died in 1831. He was Rector of St Erme and Headmaster of Truro Grammar School. Interesting that my father, a descendant, came to Cornwall to teach. My parents married and came to Penzance in 1910. My mother took her examination and qualified as an Opthalmic Optician. She was the first woman to qualify in England. She set up in practice in Penzance. My father had the task of building the traditions of the school. He was a very strict disciplinarian as some of the old boys may well remember. He taught algebra throughout the school so that he would know every boy in the school. He insisted that the boys should wear school uniform.
My brother was born in 1912. He was educated at St Erbyns and the Penzance County School leaving to train as an engineer. He married and had two daughters. I was born in 1915. I followed in my mothers footsteps qualifying as an Opthalmic Optician and I took over my mothers practice and worked in Penzance all my life. After I was born we moved to Mythyon, Heamoor. It was a detached house and had a lovely garden and stables. My parent’s means of transport was a donkey and jingle. The donkey used to graze on the school playing fields.The First World War broke out in 1914 and there were some boys who were separated from their parents because of the war. My mother turned a very large bedroom into a dormitory and several boys boarded with us until the end of the war. My father believed so much in an all round education that he wanted a sports pavilion, a gymnasium and tennis courts. There were very little monies after the war that my father, the caretaker and the groundsman built the tennis courts with a little help from the boys. He formed a school orchestra in which he played the oboe. The school put on plays, concerts and musical operettas such as some Gilbert and Sullivan. This was to develop the singing, acting and musical talents of the boys and to raise money for the pavilion. He was a good carpenter and made all the window frames of the pavilion. I think he was able to obtain a grant for the building of the gymnasium. He started school dinners. He thought the boys needed a hot midday meal. Mrs Streets the caretaker’s wife cooked the meals and my father did the carving of the joints every day and woe betide the butcher if the meat was not of top quality. He was very proud of the boys’ achievements and was very proud to hear of their successes in many walks of life.
The Second World War broke out in 1939 and because of the bombing the Devonport Boys School was evacuated to Penzance and my father had to find classrooms and accommodation for 400 boys and the staff which was no mean task! When 1942 came and he was 65 I think he was glad to retire although he loved the school and teaching.
He would have been very touched and honored as indeed I am that the old boys have collected to have this very beautiful stained glass window made as a memorial to him. I was delighted to be present at the dedication and help with the unveiling.
List of Contributors to the Memorial
Arnold Derringlon 33
Ken Olds 45
Howard Eddy 55
David Chapman 54
Ian Robertson 53
Alan Perkins 52
Terry Johns 58
Barry Lambe 54
Patrick Hanlon 53
Peter Weller 42
Stephen May 66
Tom Rouncefield 46
Geoff Osborne 59
John Peak 41
Barbara Grover staff
Mike Hunter 44
H Beckerleg 48
Derek Polgrean 44
Roger Sleap 44
Tom Hill 54
Morley Hosken 40
CDR Pengelly 34
Donald Lockhart 55
Morely Curnow 11
James Curnow 45
Kenneth Curnow 46
Howard Curnow 48
George Curnow 54
John Wallace staff
Ken Rogers 44
EJD Eddy 48
Chris Goninan staff
Frank Turner 51
Graham Evans 49
Bill Cock 34
Des Nicholls 54
Anthony Penhaul 58
Gary Wilson 70
Percy Harvey 38
Ben Richards 44
Tl Jones 46
Julian Keen 43
Peter Salmon 52
Bob Murrish 44
WR Smith 64
Derek Beale 52
David Mann 46
BG Williams 38
Lionel Pollard 46
DG Loten 31
Joe Matthews 45
Robert Wearne 66
Robert Perry 65
Ray Treloar 43
Jim Treglown staff
Roy Nicholls 59
Paul Glanfield 51
AR Newport 58
Martin Scrase 54
Justus Hattam 58
David James 54
Paul Tyreman 72
Phillip Potter 56
RK Virgin 51
Phillip Slater 55
John Hanlon 55
George Goldburn 36
John Harper 43
WH Nicholls 39
Stuart Guppy 52
Billy Leah 43
Des Hosken 54
Colin Kempthorne 43
Danny Hall 56
Roger James 61
Paul Snell 65
JPB Pengelly 34
R Ollerearnshaw 42
Rob Coneybeare staff
Alan Metherell 45
Ron Prowse 38
Fred Peak 45
AE Bryant 53
Roger Burrell 54
George Laity 29
Terry Drew 53
RJ Oates 43
Chris Symons 55
Roger Gazzard 67
H Chapman 55
D Greenhaugh 52
Ralph Pearce 38
AE Pearce 10
Andrew Coak 55
John Coak 52
Michael Hamilton 51
W R Smith staff
D Astin staff
Ernest Hosken 38
Bill Waters 36
David James 47
Frank Blewett 49
Gavin Tonkin 58
D Nebesnuick 58
IL Campbell 44
RA Hunter 31
Mike Jones 55
Malcolm Clarke 49
Brian Rowe 56
Peter Colliver 57
Patrick Dunn 67
PR Cossins 68
M Saunders 61
Roger Carne 54
JC Polglase 50
Steve Rodda 65
Michael Vickers 68
Jonathan Page 62
Simon Gregor 68
Terry Pope 52
A MacGeorge 41
J P Bennet 66
RG Waters 58
Michael Fox 44
Roger Cargeeg 58
Arthur Harvey 38
Walter Fulcher 52
John Pollard 61
Chris Jervis 52
Julian Otto 47
Brian Coak 49
John Hosking 67
J Daniel 47
Roger Dugdale 52
Peter Dugdale 45
GE Paul 47
John Laity 35
John Crosby 54
KJ Warren 29
Hugh Miners 23
Dickie Evans 56
Bill North 47
Trevor Millet 43
WP Millet 36
R Millet 69
Peter Luke 47
CH Ninnes 47
Peter G Nicholls 60
Gerald R Jenkin 50
Bill Burnett staff
ER Richards 49
Geoffrey Nicholls 45
Humphry Davy 46
David Rundell 55
Max Rogers 53
Roger Veal 47
Philip Wade 54
Phil Dennis 67
John Trewhella 51
Nick Marston 70
John Daniel 52
David Jory 50
Malcolm Rudlin staff
TN Richards 41
Tony Fitt staff
Maurice Hogg staff
Geoff Seymour 52
David Wright 56
Bryan Cuddy 52
Kenneth Litt 34
Old Penwithians Association Reunion 2006
Over 70 Old Boys met up for the 2006 Annual Reunion in the Queen’s Hotel on the 29th December. As is now the custom old boys turned up with the usual memorabilia. There was the 1959 School Jubilee Photograph, which engendered much interest, and some extremely well documented photographs of the 1940s era from Horton Bolitho. Humphrey Beckerleg turned up with a named photo of Form 3c from 1950/51 and 2 original copies of the School Song typed by Mrs Biddle, the then Headmaster’s Secretary. Martin Tutthill wore a brand new but original PGS school cap but had lost it by the end of the evening. He would like it back.
On the agenda for discussion this year was a report from John Mead on the restoration work he had carried out on the War Memorial in the old School assembly hall, following the concern expressed last year by Rod James the present Headmaster at the poor state of the woodwork. John said that he had cleaned the woodwork and the brass plates but a complete restoration would require the dismantling of the memorial and, without the original plans, this would be an almost impossible task. He did add that the memorial had gathered a lot of surface grime over the past 80 years and, in spite of his cleaning efforts, still required further work. He asked for volunteers to assist him in this task.
The details of the latest project to install a stained glass window in the present Humphry Davy School to commemorate the contribution that the two Headmasters Messrs G.L. Bradley and T.C. Rising had made to the School over a combined period of 60 years were unveiled by the Association Secretary. He reported that a stained glass window designer, Simon Harvey, son of an old boy Percy Harvey, had produced an outline design for a window. The artist’s first detailed sketch of the window was displayed and apart from a minor change it was agreed by all those present that the Association, subject to the approval of the current Headmaster and School Governors, should proceed with the window. The cost of making and installing the window would be in the region of £2000 and an appeal would be made to all old boys to contribute to the cost. Fundraising started during the evening and by the end over £600 had already been pledged by those present towards the total.
Discussion also centred on a suitable celebration to mark the Centenary of the Founding of the School in 2010. The most popular suggestion was a dinner or lunch but further discussion would be made over the coming year and possibly a subcommittee formed. Old boys with any ideas were asked to contact the Secretary.
The highlight of the evening was a recording made of the School Song King Arthur ruled In Lyonesse, a mighty Christian king. As Old Penwithians were now slowly becoming a dying breed, the opportunity to make the recording was taken so that a permanent record could be kept for posterity. With old boy Dr Nick Marston on the piano and the combined voices of the assembled throng a hearty rendition of the Song was given and it only took a short practice to get the sound levels correct and to get the two verses on to disc. It was planned to put the recording on the Association’s website and be available for anyone to hear. The recording was carried out by Dave Richards from the Music Department of the present Humphry Davy School who was very pleased with the sound quality of the recording. The singing was pretty impressive as well.
A list of those old boys and staff who signed in is below.
Hedley Nicholls Bryan Cuddy Des Hosken
Alan Perkins Julian Kenn Peter Keast
Gary Wilson Patrick Dunn David Nebesnuick
Timothy Coulam Kevin Marston Frank Blewett
Terry Drew Arnold Derrington Bill Mann
Stephen May Jamie Dunn Mike SagarFenton
Donald Ruhrmund Colin Polglase Frank Rowley
Donald Lockhart Jan Pentreath Martin Orchard
Stephen Rodda John Harper John Laity
Horton Bolitho Brian Thomas Simon Rodda
Percy Harvey Paul Worth Andrew Newport
Phil Dennis Reg Osborne Robert Conybeare
Terry Johns Ray Treloar Nicholas Marston
Morley Hosken James Bennetts Barry Lambe
Stuart Guppy Justus Hattam Terry Pope
Norman Amplford Ian Robertson John Coak
Edwin Bryant Les James Andrew Coak
Roy Nicholls James Dann Paul Tyreman
John Richards Martin Tutthill David James
John Mead Roger Cargeeg
Robert Grose Howard Curnow
A Master of Arts and Crafts
Recollections of Mousehole Man William Pezzack (1856-1933), by J. C. Laity
This brief story of William Pezzack was inspired by the undertaking of the Old Boys of the Humphry Davy School to arrange the restoration of the memorial screen he carved in oak to commemorate the school members who were killed during the First World War.
So little was known about him that I thought the story should be told. What was so remarkable about him was that William Pezzack seemed to be a master of so many arts and crafts despite undertaking all of them in his spare time! He leaves behind many beautifullymade artefacts, of which the rollofhonour at Humphry Davy School is just one.
Born on May Day in Mousehole, he was the son of a fisherman boatowner, in a community where many people’s lives and livelihood depended on a sturdy boat. William soon became familiar with the variety of crafts that were part of the life of a fisherman; he was keen to learn all about the construction and maintenance of fishing luggers, sails and tackle.
Although his father, also called William, did comparatively well as a fisherman he felt the industry was a precarious and often dangerous way to make a living and so his son was ‘written down’ to join the Post Office. It was hardly an exciting occupation for a young man but the career provided him with a steady income and the opportunity to develop the arts and crafts for which he became renowned. His love of the sea and boats remained with him throughout his life.
William became a postal telegraphist as a young man but also developed his abilities in woodcarving, painting and metalwork. At this time his sister, Mary Ellen Pezzack, married my paternal grandfather, William George Richards Laity, who was, like William’s father, a boatowner fisherman at Mousehole. This union established our family relationship.
In the 1880s William became wellestablished in the Post office at Newlyn. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Trinity Chapel on Chywoone Hill (having joined the ‘Band of Hope’ at the age of five), many years later William introduced my father to my mother one Sunday after morning service. My father had been attracted to the young lady contralto sitting with the choir!
It was in the 1880s that John Drew Mackenzie, artist and designer, came to Newlyn attracted by the art colony and the growing number of noteworthy artists gathering there. He became friends with Uncle Billy the two men were almost the same age, with the same interests and both were religious men. John took part in the church services at Paul and became known for his ‘beautiful and authorative’ reading of the lesson there.
When Mackenzie saw the need to help the young people of Newlyn it was William, amongst others, who supported him. With the financial backing of Thomas Bedford Bolitho, the then Liberal Member of Parliament, the plan to establish ‘The Newlyn Industrial Classes’ came to fruition.
In 1891 at the grand old age of 34 years William married Lavinia Thomas, a 29yearold school mistress from Trevaunance, near St Agnes. The newlyweds bought a home in Lane Reddin Terrace on Paul Hill which commanded a splendid panoramic view of Newlyn harbour and Mount’s Bay across to the Lizard. They named the house ‘Trevaunance’.
John Mackenzie lived quite near at hand a little further up the hill in number 2 Antoine Terrace lodging with Mr and Mrs Richards and their daughter, Gertrude. Gertrude knew both John and William and recalled as recently as 1990 going into John’s room and seeing his drawings and designs scattered about.
She was later the proud owner of a beautiful piece of repousse copper work beaten by John that he gave her mother. It had an attractive design of flowers created by him and especially fitting for the flower vase it graced.
No offspring resulted from the match of William and Lavinia but both found much to occupy their spare time. As a school mistress Lavinia was a great help with the Industrial School, especially helping the girls through her expertise as a needlewoman and teacher.
In his spare time, in a substantial building at the top of the steep back garden William established his ‘kingdom of creation’. There you could find his great selection of tools neatly arranged and in tiptop condition. On one side of the room was an exquisite cabinet of drawers, made by him, and labelled in his own shorthand code informing of its contents. You would also find his lathe with it’s wellused foot treadle upon which I, my brother George, Arnold Derrington and many other youngsters had several exciting rides. There Uncle Billy displayed to his many visitors the skull of an albatross, an assegai and a stout piece of wood used as a weapon in the Newlyn Fish Riots! In his garden William nurtured cultivated blackberries and scrumptious apples that were picked and wrapped carefully in tissue paper.
In Trevaunance’ were many items of his creation. In the diningroom was a fine model of a barquentine which my brother, being senior to me, was allowed to rig and derig. In fact George benefited greatly by being sixandahalf years older than me because he visited Uncle Billy frequently between the age of nine and 14; I was barely eight yearsold when he died. Consequently George could understand Uncle Billy and enjoy his company so much better than I could.
George remembers the heating system that uncle invented. In the lounge he had a means of feeding the fire with air from outside the house, in order to avoid draughts. Ducts within the fire surround carried warm air to the main bedroom above.
Uncle Billy made all the door handles in the main part of the house; they were beautifullydesigned, leafshaped and of an artnouveau type, cast in bronze. Everything in the house was in shipshape order and much of it was fashioned by his own hand.
George remembers being there when Morton Nance came to tea to consult Uncle Billy regarding fishing boats for his ‘Glossary of Cornish Sea Terms’. On these occasions George had to leave early and was not aware he was in the presence of a famous Cornish personage who was not only a marine historian but the founder of the St Ives Old Cornwall Society, a Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorseth and an author of the ‘CornishEnglish Dictionary’ and ‘Cornish For AH’.
William Pezzack’s exceptional talent is probably best illustrated by his models of fishing craft. They are displayed in various museums including South Kensington, where his model of a Mousehole Open Seine Boat is on show with the large quantity of nets piled within. The nets, incidently, were made by Lavinia or Aunt Vin’ as we called her, for she, with her special talent, made all the sails for his models In the Maritime Museum at Falmouth can be seen his model of the Cornish lugger ‘Ganges’, another family vessel. Brother George recalls watching Uncle Billy building it. In George’s own words: “The model was built as a real ship would have been. The keel was laid, then she was ribbed, planked and finally the deck laid. Uncle Billy had made a brass bogie stove to scale with its concentric rings on top for the crew’s quarters. When he fitted it prior to decking the space over the cabin I remember his saying ‘George, I know its there, you know its there and nobody else does!”
The real Ganges PZ156 (1872-1915) was built at Mousehole and her keel was 42 feet long, the owners were W Pezzack and W G R Laity. P Thomas was recorded as the first skipper. I also remember the little double diagonal mahogany rowing boat which uncle Billy carried on his back down to the harbour for fishing or visiting other craft. It made him look somewhat like a beetle!
By good fortune, I am the proud owner of three of Uncle Billy’s creations. A model yacht called ‘Albatross’ which won many races and a gold medal at Hayle Regatta; a splendid sideboard that he made for Aunt Vin to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary and a copy of an oil painting.
The sideboard has three hand-beaten repousse copper panels in the top section, two shell handles on the drawers and two oval handles on the cupboard doors below, all handwrought in copper. It is made of five different hardwoods, beautifully carved with the all-revealing messages on the door ‘WP&LP 1906’.
The oil painting of a mackerel driver running before the wind northwest of St Michael’s Mount was brought to Morrab Studio from Plymouth for me to clean and renovate. The lady owner did not know who painted it but because it was a Mounts Bay scene thought it best to bring it to Penzance. I looked for a signature and was delighted to find the unmistakable initials of William Pezzack which matched perfectly those on my sideboard. The owner kindly permitted me to have a copy made.
There are many examples of William Pezzack’s work in churches, schools and houses in Cornwall, including woodwork, metalwork and paintings. Of these I must mention his restoration in Sancreed Church where he freely gave his labour to replace a part of the inner roof structure, which he carved in oak to replace that which had been completely destroyed by beetles.
His handbeaten copperwork, which is still to be seen in the area, changed under the influence of John Mackenzie design. [He made a] tray and gave it to Newlyn Trinity Wesleyan Bazaar for sale at the price of 30/. He said if it did not make 30/ he would have it back. It did not sell, but he let Morgan Hosking’s mother have it for 15/ as she was a good neighbour. How many hundreds of pounds would it fetch now?
On his last resting place at Paul a few modest words reveal the life purpose of this modest man: ‘A lover of God and of men and of pleasant and beautiful things’.
© John Curnow Laity
by David Wright
I, like most young Catholics, had to sit out the Religious Knowledge classes in the Main Hall. All approaches to the Hall were granite and the floor parquet. Mr Rising always wore steel tipped shoes which made it impossible for him to disguise his approach. I don’t think he ever intended to disguise his approach. I’m sure he deliberately emphasized his step to put the fear of God – Catholic or otherwise – into those in the Main Hall. That he meted out the cane to recalcitrants on the balcony only fueled that fear. I made a promise to myself in my first year that academic and sporting achievements would always be secondary considerations. My primary objective for the next eight years or so would be to avoid the fate that befell those recalcitrants that were sent to the heads study!!!
I thought my ‘Waterloo’ had arrived one winter evening in late 1961 or early 1962. After school a group of us played football on the ashphalt between the tennis courts and the New Block. The goals were between the New Block and the Gym at the ‘topend’ and between two support of the tennis court fence ‘downbottom’. We were playing up hill and I let fly with a left footed shot which went just wide and crashed through the shower window how stupid to put windows so low. ‘Jesus!’ said I (or something like that!) and duly traipsed off to the heads study to report the incident. Mr Rising hardly raised an eyebrow. You know the routine, boy give five shillings to Jack in the morning and no more football after school for the rest of the month. I was relieved that I’d caught him in a relaxed mood.
As the time was approaching 5pm and we expected Mr Rising to be leaving soon, we decided to go around to the back of the gym and carry on playing football out of sight, out of mind! Unfortunately, another of my left footed shots went wide of the mark, this time it crashed through pavilion window and, this time, ‘Jesus’ turned into a four letter word – the one Kenneth Tynan used on the BBC Television – and I knew I faced a fate worse than death. I trudged up to the first floor, tapped timidly on the door, was summonsed in and made my confession. I stood there fearing the inevitable. Mr Rising peered over his halfrimmed glasses and simply said: Boys will be boys! That’ll be another five shillings and another month!!!
Who said the man didn’t have a sense of humour!!!
Old Penwithian Golf Competition
The Association is arranging an inaugural Old Penwithians Golf Competition at the West Cornwall Golf Club on Monday 2 June, 2008. The competition is open to all old boys who have a current golfing handicap. It will be a Stableford competition with full handicap and the winner will receive the Old Penwithian Golf Trophy. There will be other prizes! Players who are not members of WCGC will require a handicap certificate. Roger Dugdale (52) of ‘Penwithian Wholesalers Limited’ has kindly offered to sponsor the competition along with the Association. Tee-off will be from between 0900 and 1000 hrs and a lunch will follow at about 1430 hrs. Cost, including coffee and lunch, will be in the region of £12 per head for WCGC members and approximately £25 for visitors.
If you would like to play, registration notices with full details will be available in the WCGC and, we hope, other Golf Clubs in the area in the New Year. If you would like further details or to register your interest please contact the Secretary, Andrew Coak, Tel: 01736 7876504
We are sad to report the sudden death of Alfred Edwin Bryant (53) in April at the age of 64. Edwin was a stalwart member of the Association and attended regularly the annual reunion. He was a well known local Chartered Surveyor with his own practice in Bread Street and was Chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Branch of the RICS in 1996. His main passion was rugby and refereed at senior level until 1986. He was a keen supporter of the Pirates and Mounts Bay and served on the Pirates Management Committee and was latterly Chairman of the Pirates Press Gang Supporters’ Club. We extend our sympathy to his wife Carole and children Susan and Colin.
Also quite recently it was learned that Terry ‘Teds’ Edwards (59) had died suddenly. He left Humphry Davy in 1966 to train as a PE teacher in Caerleon, South Wales. He started is teaching career in 1969 in Luton until becoming Head of Department and continued in two schools in Luton as Head of PE and eventually becoming Head of Year. His final position was Deputy Headteacher at a middle school in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. Sympathy is extended from a lot of ‘Teds’ friends here in West Cornwall to his family.
We have also heard of the death of William (Bill) Trevaskis (43). Bill attended the school from 1943 to 1950. He worked in the Scientific Civil Service and was involved in chemical and biological munitions. He lived in Salisbury and was a keen amateur theatre stage manager and a classic car enthusiast. We extend our sympathy to Bill’s family.
If you do hear of the death of an Old Boy please let the Secretary know so that we can let other members know.