East Cornwall talks

Dave Crewes is organising talks in Liskeard. Check the Programme page for details.

Forthcoming: Charlestown Engineering 1828-2002

This book is written by Jeremy Jackson and will be available in the near future - we will pass on details when we have them. The book shows the history of the site from its beginnings as the Charlestown Iron Foundry and Iron Works Company up to its closure and subsequent conversion into a housing estate.

Mount Wellington

Richard Shaw has written a review of the Mount Wellington book for the Peak District Mining Historry Society. He describes the account as "fascinating", more so because of the author's close connection with the project from start to end. The photos in the book brought back many memories of a visit to the mine in the late 1970s.

John Hurr's book on the reopening of Mount Wellington Mine is very readable and continues to receive very positive reviews. Grab one while there are still some left! Great value at £15, if you have any problems trying to get a copy please contact Kingsley on 01209 716811.

Readers said:
“A superb book . . . a must read for anyone interested in recent Cornish mining history.”
“A fascinating first hand account.”
“The story told from the inside . . . a pretty hairy tale.”

Also for Christmas, there are great gifts to be had from the Trevithick 250th Anniversary Shop. T shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and mugs still available.

2023 AGM

Planning is now in place for the 2023 AGM and details are now on the AGM News page.  

Digital versions of the Society's newsletters are now available online, see the Newsletters page link above.

Book Review

It may be a British characteristic but is often the case that projects which never come to fruition are as fascinating to us as those which succeed. The ‘might have beens’ or ‘never weres’ also tend to attract their share of speculation and legend. A good Cornish example of this is the Great Western Railway’s proposal for a brand new branch railway from Plymouth to Looe. This was one of a number of major works proposed in the late 1930s and backed by a government seeking to reduce unemployment.

The Looe proposal receives a mention in most railway histories of the area but details have been scant and in some cases contradictory. This has now been splendidly rectified by our member, Alec Kendall, in his latest offering, “The Great Western Railway’s Last Resort”. Here we find details of the proposed route, which left the main line near Trerulefoot and terminated on the cliff at East Looe. The very substantial engineering works, the proposed stations at Hessenford, Miilendreath and Looe are described as well as the luxury hotel – designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens no less – the 18 hole golf course and possible residential developments all of which would have transformed Looe as a resort. The new Looe station could have handled through express services as well a diesel railcars shuttling from Plymouth. Alec also gives details of post war activity which shows that it was not just the Second World War which brought the scheme to an end. Had it gone through, Looe would have changed utterly and the existing branch would surely have closed. Some might feel that was too big a price to pay.

“The Great Western Railway’s Last Resort” must be the definitive story of this fascinating project; it runs to 150 pages with generous plans and illustrations. Alec has made a lifetime study of the railways of Looe and Caradon and it shows. A very few copies are available for Society members at a price of £25 including postage. All income will be donated to the Caradon Heritage Project. If you want to reserve one, please contact Alec direct at Do not delay.
Graham Thorne