Archive by Author

Morrab Library receives grant to digitise archaeological photo collection

The first Gorsedh Kernow in 1928 with Grand Bard, Henry Jenner

The first Gorsedh Kernow in 1928 with Grand Bard, Henry Jenner

The Morrab Library has been awarded a grant of £3000 from Cornwall Heritage Trust to digitise an important collection of photographs relating to the archaeology of Cornwall.

The Stanley Opie collection consists of 1,001 glass negatives, covering topics such as the first Cornish Gorsedd in 1928 at Boscawen-ûn, standing stones, excavations, buildings, crosses, settlements, historic landscapes and more. They are, on the whole, beautifully taken photographs which deserve to be seen.

The grant will allow the Library to place its Photographic Archive database online, along with access copies of all photos scanned to date. The Stanley Opie negatives will then be scanned, placed into conservation grade four-flap envelopes, boxed, and finally placed online as a dedicated collection for all to see.

Stanley Opie was born in 1912 and took up photography, and gained a passion for archaeology, at quite an early age. He gained a diploma in Anthropology from the University of Oxford and took part in many archaeological excavations during the 1930s to 1950s. Some of his photographs depict the excavation of a Roman villa at Magor Farm near Camborne, others are of excavations and sites yet to be identified.

It is hoped that by publishing Stanley’s photographs online that we may improve their descriptions and identify excavations and sites through comments and suggestions received through the website.

The Morrab Library is grateful to Cornwall Heritage Trust for their generous support.

Wednesday Lectures 2013-2014

Below is a list of forthcoming talks for our Wednesday Lecture Series.


Wednesday 9th October, 2.15pm

MICHAEL LEACH: Cornish archers and the history of the longbow

Wednesday 13th November, 2.15pm

TERRY MARKS: 500 years of Penzance harbour

Saturday 7th December, 10.30am – 12.30pm



Wednesday 8th January, 2.15pm

JOHN POTTER – Film: KRUZENSHTERN. From Penzance to Bremerhaven on one of the world’s last sailing ships

Wednesday 12th February, 2.15pm

DAVID DEARLOVE: Joined-up Writers. A chain of acquaintance four centuries long

Wednesday 12th March, 2pm

JANE DARKE – Film: The Art of Catching Lobsters
(N.B. Early start as film is 90 minutes long)

Morrab Library Summer Fair 2013


Saturday 22nd June, 10 – 3

Come along to our annual Summer Fair this Saturday for books, bric-a-brac, cakes, plants and lots more. The Friends of Morrab Gardens will also be holding their fete on Saturday so there’ll be lots to see and do in the gardens!
The extension is coming on very well but building work is still being carried out so we are still somewhat in turmoil and as yet without a completion date!
Apologies for any inconvenience


The book selection committee met last week and decided to focus on fiction. We’ve ordered lots of new titles, and they’re coming in from the book shop as we speak. Here’s a selection from the latest batch… Reading the blurbs, we want to borrow all of these. They’re brand-spanking-new (fabulous new book smell) so come in and be the first to borrow these before Annabelle + I get our hands on them!


The library will close at: 
4pm on Friday 14th December
and re-open at:
10am on Wednesday 2nd January

We are closing a little earlier than planned, as the builders anticipate that they will be joining up the new and old buildings during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for your patience.

Please note that members are welcome to borrow up to 12 books (rather than the usual 6) to tide you over during our closure.

Building Update # 4

We have a wall!
We didn’t have lights upstairs (we tripped them), but now we do! (Scaffolding had to go up in order to reach the fuse box – thank you Rob).
We have a French drain! (Not sure what that is, but it takes the water away from the back of the wall so that’s good).
We will have a ground floor on the carpark within two weeks!
We are still open!
Lots of huge vehicles and bits of machinery have been in and out of the gardens and amazing us with their workings!

On a more serious note, we are still operational, despite circumstances. The rooms which are open are useable, but a bit of a squeeze, so if you don’t mind cosying down between the various piles of books then please do keep visiting us! We are missing the buzz of the Winter Lecture Series and all our other weekly lecture groups, which have unfortuntaely had to be cancelled. But we are still here. If members would like to borrow more than their usual six books, they are welcome to, as we know it’s difficult to get in and out at the moment.
We still have no official word on a completion date, or on the period when we may have to close (while the builders join up roofs and connect new to old), but with an unpredictable job like this it is understandable. As soon as we know we will pass on the dates and details to you. In the meantime, if you have questions about if we’re able to accommodate you or if we can put something by then just get in touch and we’ll do our best. Thank you all again for your patience.


Meg has been working away over the past few months to create a digital copy of our Archive index. We’d like to say a huge thank you to her, for all her hard work to make this information available. You’ll now be able to look at and download the Archive Index on the blog here, just click on the ‘Archive Index’ tab under the banner at the top of this page and you’ll find the link to the Archive index PDF. Thanks again Meg.


Glyn and Alan have been toiling away to put together a fantastic exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the voyage of the Rosebud to Westminster in 1937.
The crew of the Rosebud carried a petition from the people of Newlyn Town, in an atempt to save fishermens’ cottages from wholesale demolition by the Penzance Council under their interpretation of the Housing Acts 1925 – 1935. You can find out a little more about this history here, but for a more insightful look, come and see the exhibition in the library, featuring photographs, a bit of the keel, and a model of the Rosebud.
The exhibition runs between 17th and 27th October in the Reading Room at the library.
We look forward to seeing you here!

The Balcony and Navy Inn at Newlyn Town, demolished by Penzance Borough Council in 1939

We would like to say a big “THANK YOU!” to everyone who came along to our annual Book and Postcard Fair at St John’s Hall last week. You all helped to raise £1580 for the library, for which we and all our members are really grateful.
It was an early start for the first team on site – 7:45am – Annabelle, Mike and Alan were outside St. John’s hall ready to start unloading, preparing, directing stallholders, dishing out floats and all else the day entails. As well as the stallholders and the excellent team of willing volunteers (thank you all), we had over 450 visitors, who shopped, browsed, and partook of the raffle in the hall, and ate & drank in the cafe. The event was busy all day, with Jenni sat stoically in the entrance hall collecting donations (which were up on last years by a pretty penny).  Thank you all once again for a brilliant day – hall is booked again for the same time next year! Thanks for the photographs Maike.