Lament for Cornish Cafe Society

Perhaps it exists only in the imagination. I remember visiting the Cafe Central in Vienna with its wide variety of journals and literary magazines, gorgeous variety of coffees and its habitués. Mostly tourists when I visited but there were the ghosts of writers and revolutionists from Krauss to Trotsky. Then naturally the confectionary of all… Continue reading Lament for Cornish Cafe Society

Histories of War as seen by two indispensible Poets-Part Two

The St Ives September Festival had a range of controversial poets come to visit. I remember there being a huge stir when D.M.Thomas came to read and the proctor’s of moral rectitude in the unlikely form of delegates from the Town Council were said to have occupied the back row to ensure that an unseemly… Continue reading Histories of War as seen by two indispensible Poets-Part Two

Museums, memories and myth making.

In reading about museums I discovered that Derrida had written about archives. He develops a post modern approach to how the perspectives on the past are subject to change. Witness the recent debates about racism and colonialism in relation to this. There are two moving poems by Louis MacNeice that moved me when I… Continue reading Museums, memories and myth making.

Remembering Red Barnaloft

I have previously posted about Red Vienna – the time in the 1930s when an attempt was made to establish a form of social security system in the elegant city and when worker’s flats were built to ease the conditions of poorer citizens. Notoriously, they were shelled by nationalists in the dark period leading up… Continue reading Remembering Red Barnaloft

A house in Downalong in St Ives

Bethesda Hill (The Pool of Bethesda was a pool in Jerusalem known from the New Testament story of Jesus miraculously healing a paralysed man, from the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, where it is described as being near the Sheep Gate, surrounded by five covered colonnades or porticoes.) This cobbled hill leads down to the… Continue reading A house in Downalong in St Ives

West Penwith by Adrian Stokes

This poem interests me and looks fairly simple – let us  consider one or two lines and see if we can explore some more deeply. Indeed, this is a poem about surfaces and depth with a number of words that suggest rest- abolish pace, slow, apart and torpor. There is too a general feeling for… Continue reading West Penwith by Adrian Stokes

Harry Ousey-Neglected Colourist amongst the St Ives Artists

  Very recently I attended an intriguing talk by Sue Astles, Ousey’s neice about this little known Northern  Artist. I found myself wondering just how such a brilliant colourist could seemingly be rather overlooked. Further information and background can be found at and at There are two possible factors which one might surmise… Continue reading Harry Ousey-Neglected Colourist amongst the St Ives Artists

The Last of the Fire Kings -an extract from Derek Mahon

Five years I have reigned During which time I have lain awake each night And prowled by day In the sacred grove For fear of the usurper, Perfecting my cold dream Of a place out of time, A palace of porcelain Where the frugivorous Inheritors recline In their rich fabrics Far from the sea. I… Continue reading The Last of the Fire Kings -an extract from Derek Mahon

St Ives in the 1950s as portrayed by Hyman Segal

This uniquely illustrated pamphlet of around 20 pages offers a brilliant summary of life in St Ives just after the War. The town’s Silver Age it might be termed. This fascinating time period is manifest in the vivid sketches by the well-known St Ives artist, Hyman Segal.    Segal is probably best remembered for… Continue reading St Ives in the 1950s as portrayed by Hyman Segal

Coming soon- “Growing up in West Cornwall”

Complementing our previous title, Women of West Cornwall (ed. Pam Lomax, 2016), Growing up in West Cornwall describes the experience of childhood in West Cornwall, from the seventeenth century onwards. It documents childhood memories, mostly from the early years of the Twentieth Century, set in the context of institutions that structured the children’s lives –… Continue reading Coming soon- “Growing up in West Cornwall”