Deaths at Camborne Railway Crossing in October 1865

A later picture of the crossing gates at Camborne railway station

In October 1865 within a fortnight , there were two separate accidents at the Camborne Station railway crossing . The second death was possibly a consequence of the first accident .

Here are details of the first accident as reported on the 20 November 1865 – in the Western Morning News 


An inquest concerning the death of John Thomas, a porter on the West Cornwall Railway, was held at the Railway Hotel, Camborne, on Friday evening, before Mr. Grenfell Pascoe, deputy coroner, and a respectable jury, of which Mr. William Eddy was foreman. Mr. Denbigh, the traffic superintendent, was present during the inquiry.
The jury having viewed the body .

James Thomas Williams said: I am an engine driver on the West Cornwall Railway, and live at Camborne.
Yesterday I was driving the goods train which left Hayle at half-past two. We arrived at Camborne on the up line and shunted two carriages from the back of the train to the siding leading into the company’s yard. I then proceeded with the train to the points about 100 yards east of the Camborne gates, and shunted on the down line to await the arrival of the up mail train.
I received a signal from the pointsman to shunt back the train; but after it
was in motion I discovered that the gates were closed.
This was about three minutes after we passed up. On seeing this I immediately blew the alarm whistle, and reversed the engine.

The brakes were also applied. but with every possible effort to do so, we could not stop the train in time to prevent the accident.
There were 27 laden trucks and two engines, and from the wet state of
the weather the rails were exceedingly slippery, which made it impossible to stop the train before we did.
I saw the back of the train strike the gate, which divided into two parts, knocking a man away with it. It is our custom every day to shunt the mineral train from the up to the down line, in order to let the mail train pass.

Joseph Tregonning, a railway porter, said: Yesterday afternoon at three o’clock I was on duty at the Camborne station, and I saw the mineral train arrive. The driver shunted two trucks from the end of the train into the Camborne yard; the train then passed through the crossing, as far as the points – the gates being opened by the deceased-to shunt the train on to the down line to wait, the arrival of the up mail.

Deceased closed the gates and was going back to the platform, when I called to him and said “The train is coming.” There was not sufficient time
for deceased to open the gates before the train came into collision with them. I saw the breaksman, who was on the train, signal the engine-driver to stop the
train; he then jumped off and ran forward and slipped the bar of the eastern gate just as the train reached it.
Deceased was at the western gate, and on attempting to open it the train came into collision and broke it, knocking deceased away with it. 
I immediately ran to his assistance, and found him bleeding profusely at the ears. I
then procured assistance, and carried him into the waiting-room. where I left him in the care of the surgeons, Messrs Vincent and McLelian.

-By a juryman: Deceased ought not to have closed the gates until the train had shunted. It was customary to shunt the mineral train at that time to allow the mail to pass.

-Mr. Mills (a juror) asked if any signal was passed between the pointsman and the man at the gates.-Witness: No. The man at the gates had no right to open them for town traffic, nor had he any business to leave them. I do not know how he could have so far forgotten himself as to close the gates before the engine had properly shunted the train, especially as he has been at that post so long.

-By the Coroner: It would have been a dereliction of duty for him to have
opened the gates for the town traffic until the train had shunted. I cannot account for his leaving the gates; I never knew him to do so before. To the best of my knowledge he was not required elsewhere.
Mr. Marston said that he believed fewer accidents occurred on the West Cornwall Railway than on almost any other, but considering the immense traffic at the crossing, a man should be placed at the gates whose sole duties should be to watch them.

Mr. Denbigh, the traffic superintendent, said that attending to the gates was really almost the whole of the deceased’s duty.

William Simmons said he watched  the deceased throughout the night of the accident, but he was quite insensible, and expired on Friday morning at two o’clock, having survived the injury eleven hours.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
Deceased was 67 years of age, nearly 20 of which he has, spent in the service of the company; he was deservedly respected. The inquiry lasted two hours.


The second accident as published in the Royal Cornwall Gazette 30 November 1865. If the gate had been in position , this young boys death may possibly have been prevented .


On Monday, a boy named James Bryant, aged 14, met his death under circumstances which are detailed in the evidence at the inquest, held before Mr Roscorla, on Tuesday, and which we give below. Mr Cornish, of Penzance, watched the case on behalf of the West Cornwall Railway Company, and Mr Daniell, of Camborne, on the part of deceased’s family.

The first witness called was Captain Grose, a mine agent, of Helston, who said: About a quarter to 12 on Monday, I was driving my trap over the Beacon Hill, towards the station. When opposite Redbrook-terrace I observed a boy driving a one-horse cart towards the main road. The horse seemed to hesitate to cross the road, on which
the boy smacked the horse with his whip. I could see the horse was a spirited one.

After the horse was struck it made a bolt into the road, and turned its head towards the station.
In less than a minute, there being a bend in the road, I lost sight of the horse and cart; it went off at a great speed. Deceased was standing up in the cart, and held the reins in his hand, but appeared to have no command over the horse.

I arrived at the station in two or three minutes, and ascertained
that the driver of the horse and cart was the deceased, James Bryant. I saw also that the horse was dead, and the cart broken in hundreds of pieces.

Mary Ann Jenkin, of Carn, said. On Monday I came into Camborne, and was at the crossing at the Camborne railway station, returning to my house from the town. I had to cross the rails a little east of the station.
As I was in the act of crossing I observed the down train approaching the station.
One of the porters called out, “Be quick,” and I passed on. I heard a shriek, which appeared to be the voice of a boy. I looked up the road and saw the boy with the horse and cart coming very fast.
I heard one of the porters cry, “Stop, stop.” He was on the lower side of the rail.

By the Coroner: He was on the town side of the rail, but I cannot say positively whether he was inside the gate or outside.
As he was approaching me I called out,” My dear boy, you will killed, I can see it.”
The boy was holding back with all his might. The more he did so the more excited the
horse appeared. He passed me like a bird, and dashed right in between the post west of the southern gate and the engine.

The horse was carried away from the cart, and crushed at once. I saw the little boy either trying to get out or sliding out. His head was towards the carriages and his
feet towards me. I saw him just afterwards under the carriages.
I have often waited to observe trains go in and out of the station, and this train drew up, I think, more slowly than usual. There was one gate only at the railway crossing on the town side.

By Mr Maine: There was no person or porter standing on the south side of the gates.
By Mr Bishop: If the porter could have been one instant before he would have saved the boy, but the porter came as quickly as be could from one of the carriages on my side, and exclaimed, “Oh, the poor boy is gone.”

-By Mr Hidderley:
If a man with great presence of mind had been near the gateway where I stood he might have laid hold of the boy and tried to have saved him: I mean after the horse had been carried away from the cart. The boy threw himself back into
the cart, and held on to the rains until the horse was carried away by the engine.

-By Mr Daniell: I think if the porter had jumped down one moment before he did he might, with great presence of mind, have saved the boy. It was impossible
a porter could have stopped the horse.

Joseph Tregonning said. I am a porter upon the West Cornwall Railway, at the Camborne station. Yesterday at half-past 11 o’clock I opened the Eastern Gate, for the down train, which was at this time coming in over the points about 100 yards distant.
I heard a boy screaming. I looked up the road and saw a boy coming with a horse and cart towards me, as fast as the horse could gallop. I ran towards him to try to
stop the horse. I had been standing at the south side of the gate, but found it was impossible to stop him. I then ran to signal the driver to see if I could stop the train, by which time the horse had got over the rail. The engine then struck the
horse on the further shoulder and knocked it away. The break van struck the cart, and tossed the boy out, and drew him under the wheel.

By Mr Charles Budge: We had a chain provided as a temporary protection for the public, there being no gate, but we did not use it on this occasion.
By the Coroner: There has been no gate on the south side since last Thursday week, when it was broken by an accident.
A chain has been kept there as a temporary security, not to protect the public, but to protect the line at night. I have always stood in the gateway since the gate was destroyed, on the approach and departure of the trains. I have done so to
protect the public against danger. The horse was galloping when it passed me.

By Mr Daniel. the engine and the tender struck the horse, but the boy only came in contact with the break van. The train was going very slowly at the time, and by the concussion with the break van the boy was thrown out. I do not think
if the gate had been there, it would have been strong enough to stop the horse. There is a high wall and some trees inside it east of the crossing, which prevent porters coming down from seeing the train coming in on the down line.

Mr Libby, a mine share dealer, of Camborne, confirmed the first witness’s evidence. He saw the boy Bryant in a single-horse cart, about 40 yards up from the station gates. The horse was trotting very fast, and the boy was calling out, “Woa,Woa.”

Tregonning ran out to meet the boy, and witness heard him say “Stop, stop.” He appeared to have done all in his power to stop the horse.
By Mr Hidderley: I think if there had been a gate there it would have saved both the boy and the horse. The boy did all he could to stop the horse. The train was coming in very slowly, and the engine driver and all the officials appeared to
do their best to stop the train and prevent the accident. At the moment the engine struck the cart , the boy was in it.

Tregonning did everything in his power to prevent the accident, and was standing all the time on the south side. Had the gate been replaced it would probably have saved the boy’s life. The horse was not going more than from six to seven miles an h

Tregoning stopped the pace of the horse very much.
If a gate had been there most likely no accident would have
occurred. The chain, if used, might have prevented it.

James Eddy, a shopkeeper, of Camborne, said: The horse and cart spoken of by the witnesses were mine. The deceased, Joseph Bryant, has been my servant ever since May last; a part of his duty was to drive the horse and cart, and carry out
flour to my customers, who are in different parishes. I purchased the horse last April twelve months, and since then I have driven it frequently myself; it was then about two years old.
I was informed it had been used in a cart  before. It was then quite a colt, and a lively spirited horse.

Deceased was about 14 years of age. He had been accustomed to drive horses
before he came with me. He always spoke well of the horse, and never complained of it. About 12 months ago William Thomas, a labourer of my father’s, was driving the horse from Barripper, when it ran away . This is the only time I ever knew of the horse running away.

James Doyle Sheriff said: I am resident engineer of the West Cornwall Railway. The gates of the crossings are subject to my inspection. One of the gates was destroyed on Thursday the 16th. It was the south gate, and was rendered totally unfit for use. I came from Penzance on the following morning, and took measurements for a new one, which will be longer and higher than the old one. I made a rough drawing the same morning, and gave directions to the carpenters to have the gates made. I gave the directions to the inspector.
The timber was not cut for the gate until the following Wednesday, owing to the difficulty of getting sawyers.
Since the railway has become the property of the Associated Companies
we have purchased the timber ready cut. On Wednesday last they began to make it, and it is now nearly completed.

By Mr Burgess: We do not keep duplicates of the gates.
By a Juror: It was the duty of the porters to keep up the chain in the absence of the gates, but it is not part of my duty to instruct the porters; they are not in my charge.

By Mr Cornish: It would be in my department to issue the chain, but not to instruct the porters.

By the Coroner: It would take seven days to make a gate such as the one required.
Mr Hidderley: I should think twenty-four hours quite enough.
by Mr Allen: Sixteen trains a day pass the Camborne station; these include the passenger and luggage traffic on week days. There are four trains on Sundays.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the question for the jury
to decide was, whether there was culpable negligence on the
part of the railway officials. If they considered that there
was, their verdict would be that of manslaughter; but if on
the contrary, no such negligence was considered to have been,
then their verdict would be that of accidental death.

The room was then cleared, and the jury consulted for an
hour and a half, ultimately returning the following verdict:-
That whilst the said Joseph Bryant was driving a certain
horse and cart, the horse ran away, and coming in contact
with a railway train, the said Joseph Bryant was accidentally,casually, and by misfortune instantly killed; but they feel bound to express their regret at the great delay on the part of the railway company in replacing the gate which had been accidentally destroyed some days previously, as, had there been a gate across the road, in all probably the accident might not have proved fatal.” The inquiry lasted six hours.


Screenshot from the Antiques Roadshow , showing the photo album and letters , programme first shown 9th April 2017 ,

Eagle-eyed viewers of an old Antiques Roadshow programme may have spotted Tuckingmill (near Camborne , Cornwall ) mentioned in the episode mentioned above .

In the episode from 9th April 2017 a gentleman brought , William Lintern’s collection of photographs and letters about the murder of the Russian Royal family by the Bolsheviks, in 1918 to be valued .

At the bottom of one of the letters you could clearly see a contact address as :

“Mrs Arthur Thomas , 3 Pendarves Street, Tuckingmill”. Tuckingmill being on the outskirts of Camborne .

Screenshot of part of the letter from Mr Lintern to the wife of Arthur Thomas

Arthur Thomas was the Holman’s engineering representative for the region of Russia where the Russian Royal family were held by the Red army and subsequently butchered . The town was Ekateringburg.

Holman’s supplied drills to the platinum mines in the region .

It’s difficult to read the letters from the screen but whoever Mr Lintern had written to ,was asked to contact Mrs. Thomas at Tuckingmill , to let her know they were safe and that if Mrs. Thomas had heard from her husband she would reciprocate the message to his family .

Amazingly the collection of photographs and letters were deemed so important , they were valued by the programmes expert at £65000 !!

Herbert Thomas ( no relation) , editor of The Cornishman , claimed to be the first newspaper in the country , ahead of all the national daily papers, to give a verified account of what happened to the Czar and his family , after an interview with Arthur Thomas on his return to Camborne , (though the murders happened in 1918) . At one point Arthur Thomas became assistant British Consulate in Ekaterinburg .

Also below , in comments , is part of his account from 1920 as published .

 The gentleman that took the album and letters for valuation to Antiques Roadshow , said that the photo album was given to his uncle, William Lintern by one of the Czars servants . If she was found to have these photos in her possession she would have been executed .

As far as I can make out the letters were written by the same William Lintern to his home . William Lintern worked for a different company (sounded like “Becos” ?). Though obviously William Lintern and Arthur Thomas must have known each other , I can’t see any other written evidence about this .

A photo of the Czars family from the album

Further to putting this information on a Camborne Facebook page a Joyce Burkitt Fetterley wrote :

Uncle Arthur Thomas was my grandfather’s brother. These might be the papers one of Arthur’s sons gave to a reporter who was going to a court case about Anastasia.

I wish I could read them ! They might explain how Uncle Arthur reached Vladivostok to begin his journey back to Cornwall. I obtained his interview with Herbert Thomas from a newspaper in New Zealand and they kindly gave me permission to print the interview in my family book “One Cornishman’s Children, which is available from online book shops only.

I don’t know that he became Consul; he was acting consul at the time because the British Consul’s wife was ill and he took her back to Britain. Uncle Arthur was holding down the fort and was actually a mining engineer there in Ekaterinburg.

That reporter must have sold the papers. If anyone knows what was in them please tell me!

I did a lot of research into this for my book.

Thanks for posting this.

An extract from an interview with Arthur Thomas in the Cornishman, 21 January 1920 :




A mining engineer more accustomed than most people to strange and tragic adventures; -but probably nothing in Mr. Arthur H. Thomas’s adventurous life approaches his experiences in Siberia during the war.

He has returned from Russia to Camborne with memories burnt in as with a hot iron; and no Cornishman can claim have to have lived under the rule of the “Reds” (Revolutionists) and the “Whites” (Constitutionalists), and have lived in the centre of the most tragic event of recent, Russian history —the assassination or execution of the Czar and his hapless family.

Mr. Arthur Thomas (brother of Captain R. Thomas, formerly of Botallack and other mines) has visited almost all parts of the globe in the last thirty years. When I first knew him he was at Tregurtha Downs Mine, Marazion.

Since then he has been superintendent of the Famatina copper mine in Bolivia; of a gold mine in Mexico; and of various other important properties in Africa and other countries. When he retired from mine management, he toured Spain as the representative of the Holman Rock Drill and Engineering Works, and he was in that country when the war broke out.

In 1915 he was the head of the Mining Department of the British Engineering Company, an association of British manufacturers and engineers to extend British trade in Russia and Siberia, and this office included the representation of Messrs. Holman Brothers Limited: hence the Holman drills are at work in the remote Ural Mountains, from which 90 per cent, of the world’s supply of platinum is obtained.

It was the Camborne headquarters of the firm that I interviewed Mr. Thomas on subjects of world-wide interest.

“I had just returned from Spain,” he said, ” in a steamer which had to dodge submarines, and which for good reasons I had to assist in navigating into port .When I “agreed’ to go to Russia; and I made the journey by way of Newcastle to Bergen (Norway), Sweden, Finland, and so to Petrograd, which meant eight or nine days by rail from the coast.

The Czar was still on the throne ; the ” Russian steam roller” had done good work, and the Russian intellectuals boasted that they had prevented the capture of Paris by the Germans, just as their Allies had the right to claim that the Western armies had saved Moscow and Petrograd by defeating the first German offensive.

We still regarded Russia as a staunch and reliable Ally. The revolution had not taken place. The German traitors —Sturmer, the Czar’s Prime Minister and others— had, not been unmasked and shot; the Russian Army had not begun to show the dry rot, and we knew nothing of secret overtures by the Russian pro Germans to effect a separate peace with the enemy. In due course I travelled to the Ural Mountains because of its mining interests, reaching the town Ekaterinburg, little thinking that I should remain there through the ebb and flow of war, and that, in that town the Czar himself and his family would be murdered during my stay; nor that Russia would become a hotbed of Bolshevism, tyranny and diabolical crime.

An earlier picture of the Czar and family from The Sketch 01 August 1900


” What happened, in a nutshell, was this: when the Russians suffered terrible losses, and corruption in high places was revealed; when it was evident that Russia was ruled by the foul monk Rasputin, who was at length killed by prominent Russians, the Czar was compelled to abdicate. He wished his brother to succeed him, but the Grand Duke Michael refused, unless elected by the people, who preferred a Republican form of Government.

I have been in correspondence with John Spargo, the Cornish-American author of “Bolshevism,” and you will remember he details the course of the Revolution.

A Provisional Government was formed of well-known members of the Duma, including Rodzanko, Miliukoff, Lvoff, and other excellent leaders of democratic thought. Kerensky subsequently joined this body and soon became the dominant force, ultimately becoming Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

“Is it a fact that you have actually been in the room where the Czar was murdered You know the stories circulated—that he was executed, and that he has been hidden and so on.?

“Yes; it all happened at Ekateringburg,” said Mr. Thomas, “and I will tell you what is known, for some things remain a mystery.

The Czar was treated like a gentleman by Kerensky. The Royal Family were sent in private trains to Tobolsk in Siberia, and resided in the Governor General’s House. There were guards, of course, but the Czar was said to be quite comfortable and happy and chopped wood in his spare time. Later Kerensky proved too mild a Dictator. After abolishing the death penalty, he reintroduced it: after telling the soldiers they could decide by vote whether they would obey orders or not, and that they need not salute their officers, he announced that iron discipline would be enforced; but he had lost his grip and the Lenin and Trotsky element undermined his authority and himself and he became a fugitive.

At one time Lenin was in Kerensky’s hands. At one time we had Trotsky as a prisoner at Halifax. If Kerensky had executed these Bolshevik opponents he would have altered the course of history. His failure has imposed on Russia Dictatorship more ruthless and despotic than that of the Czar.

” After Kerensky’s fall Baltic sailors, who included many desperadoes, went to Tobolsk and removed the Czar and his family. They were under the impression they were going to Moscow, and from there to Germany, instead of which they found themselves in the Ural Mountains and absolute prisoners.


” Ekateringburg is a town of about 100,006 inhabitants, and for some days we had heard that highly-placed, personages were expected there, although it was a surprise when the Royal family were driven through the town in a motor-car. My office boy saw the Czar, and like many other people, but I did not chance to be in the street at the time. He was housed in a two-storey dwelling in the main street, which was surrounded by a hoarding. To this another hoarding was added, and this barricade, fifteen to twenty feet high, must have kept out almost every bit of light and air. The house built against the side of a hill. From the top entrance it was a one storey building but the lower room was level with the street. It was this room, which, was not a cellar, that the tragedy took place.

The first we heard the murder was the public announcement by the Bolsheviks, before 2,000 people in the theatre, on the 23rd July, 1918, that the town was being attacked the Czecho-Slovak army (including some White Russians), and that the Bolsheviks were evacuating it. If they left the Czar behind it would mean the return of Monarchy and Absolutist government; so they they had, on the 17th July, executed the Czar and had removed his family to a place of safety. This was after the Czar had resided there about three months.

“No one was allowed enter the mysterious house until after the Czecho- Slovacs took possession of the town.

Early in October I was able to visit the house, for a Committee of Investigation had been appointed the local authority. We saw bloodstains on the wall of one of the lower rooms and twenty-four bullet holes in the walls at about the height of person kneeling. It was considered that the Czar and his family must have been huddled together in a corner by their Bolshevik executioners, and were shot while in a kneeling position.

” “Were the bodies ever found?”

” That is the mystery. I have heard since that the actual murderers have been executed by the local Soviet, but that may not be true. They were not known when I was there, and no one, by confession, had enabled the bodies to be found. Among burnt rubbish were found jewels, garters, buckles and other valuables, but no bones. Shafts were searched, but no bodies were found, and there the matter rested. Those who were considered be murdered were the Czar and Czarina, their three daughters and son. Dr. Botkin, Court physician, lady-in-waiting (one of the Princesses) and one or two others.


” One reason,” continued Mr. Thomas, why it was thought the bodies might, have been thrown down a mine shaft, was that about 100 miles north many of the aristocrats, including the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was about 65 years old, and had devoted her life to Red Cross work, were thrown down a shaft alive and bombs were dropped and exploded upon them by the fiendish Bolsheviks.

The shattered bodies were found in the shaft afterwards. The Bolsheviks claimed that they had found on prisoners proofs that General Alexieff, a personal friend of the Czar, was connected with the anti-Bolshevik army of Czecho-Slovaks and Russians, and this led them to take extremist measures against any who were apparently attached to the former regime. Everything was confiscated and nationalised by the Bolsheviks.

If you had a gold watch or gold coin, it had to be surrendered; and if you had more than one suit of clothes it was seized. The Consular Corps of representatives of European nations, with those of the Chinese and Japs (but not of Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey) succeeded in bluffing the Bolsheviks into abstaining from searching their quarters by printing and posting up notices in large Russian letters, stating that the quarters could not entered or searched.

The curious fact is that the Russians are both children and demons. They have been accustomed to serfdom, they are simple, yet savage, they can be bluffed or can commit any excess. They are non-moral, superstitious and somewhat oriental, and are quite unfitted for full self-government. I might as easily have been their victim as others who suffered; but fortune was on my side and the thinnest kind of bluff succeeded.”

” Apart from the killing of the Czar, had you personal experience of their barbarity ?” I will give you some instances,” replied Mr. Thomas .

“I will give you some instances replied Mr. Thomas. “A friend of mine
named Smith, a mining engineer, who had started to dredge for platinum,
was brutally murdered. His body was found with 42 bayonet wounds. Another
friend of mine, Thomason, representing the British Westinghouse Company, was
imprisoned and with great diffculty escaped through the woods.

At Petrograd and Moscow the chaplain and consul were imprisoned, and a number of
people were killed. There are about a thousand British subjects imprisoned in

Anti-Bolsheviks were murdered wholesale. It was enough if you were
a clean collar and had shaved, to get arrested as a suspected opponent of the
“You know the Bosheviks on seizing a town, made a practice of taking lead-
ing merchants and other prominent people as hostages and putting them in
the prison, or improvised headquarters used as a prison. One day is Ekatering:
burg I saw a crowd reading a notice in Russlan outside the prison were there
were hostages. To my horror the police stated that as a Bolshevik had been
shot by someone in Ekaterringburg, nineteen citizens (hostages, who had not taken part any movement) had been shot as punishment. Their names were given,
and as I read the names of Russian merchants and engineers who were friends
of mine, my blood ran cold. I hurried back to the British Consulate (I was
not Consul myself until sometime after this) and got the European representatives to appeal that we should be allowed to cross to the Czecho-Slovak lines to try to stop these atrocities taking place in either army.

I suggested that the deputation should be Mr. Lawson (an American), a Red Cross Australian nurse and myself; but the Bolsheviks refused and said the “Red Terror”
must continue.”

What about the murdered hostages ?

* We found their bodies in the woods.
They had been taken out in a motor
lorry, told to get out and walk, and as
they entered the woods they were shot
like rabbits and left there.
* It reminds one of the Mexican
methods of releasing prisoners in the
days of Diaz,” I remarked. “You tell
a prisoner he is free and as he walks
down the road you use him as a target.”

“Curiously enough” replied Mr.
Thomas “I was in the City of Mexico
when Madaro, the ex. President was
taken through the streets of the city
in a car. As he stepped out of the
vehicle to enter the prison shots rang
out and he dropped dead. In the Urala
we afterwards found sixty more bodies.

The need of peace to restore their industry may make the leaders
more anxious to get the blockade removed.
And such men as Kerensky and Knopockin
agree that the Allies should stand aside and
let Russia solve her own problems.

If we “let it alone” , it is like Mr. Asquith’s wait and see” policy. But we
should at least learn all we can and think
about it until we see more light through the dark sky.”
“You were lucky to escape with your life,” I remarked.
“Yes; and I am not anxious to return
under Bolshevik rule” was the reply.

“While the Czecho-Slovaks held Ekateringburg I
managed to get out by way of Vladivostock,
Siberia, Japan, Canada and California, I
had an enjoyable trip home lasting a
couple of months.

It was good to get back to civilisation and safety, before the Bolsheviks captured the district where they murdered the Czar and shot hostages like rabbits.
Story by HERBERT THOMAS.(Editor of The Cornishman)

Photo from the album showing the Czars family .

 If you Google “Arthur Thomas” and “Ipatiev” a number of books come up with what happened to the Romanovs . He did give a few lectures in the 1920s on his time in Russia . They are mentioned in the news archives . Unfortunately I can’t see any mention of his travels from Ekaterinburg .

To add a few more details Arthur Thomas son of Capt.Nicholas Thomas of Tuckingmill , married a Mary Davey Mills in 1898 , whose parents owned a furniture shop in Trelowarren Street . Her brother was a well known builder called Frank Mills .

Arthur died 1936 and Mary died in 1946 at 3, The Crescent, Camborne after returning from living in London and Falmouth . In 1939 she was at Draceana Avenue, living with a Bessie Cowell who I believe was a relative. Wonder what happened to his lecture papers , there was also mention of “lantern slides” !

This from a pre-auction write up about the photos and letter from Freemans Auctions:

“The Lintern Archive.” The collection includes a photographic album owned by the Romanov children’s French tutor, Pierre Gilliard, and contains 66 images, many of which have never been published and are new to scholars.

The photographs were taken between 1912-1918, showing the Imperial Family ‘s life before the revolution until their imprisonment in Tobolsk. The album was presented for safekeeping to William Lintern, an Englishman living in Ekaterinburg in 1918. “The Lintern Archive” also includes a letter written by Lintern to his family expressing that the murder of the Imperial Family was widely known by the people of Ekaterinburg. The critical significance of this letter lies in when it was mailed—a full six months before the investigator Nikolai Sokolov arrived in Siberia to begin his inquest into the fate of the family.

The Discovery On Sunday, April 9, 2017, the hit BBC series “Antiques Roadshow” aired the results of an open day held on the grounds of Pembroke Castle in Wales. The highlight was an important Russian Imperial photograph album and related family documents from the descendants of William Lintern, a British subject resident in Ekaterinburg, Siberia, during the height of the Russian Revolution and the early days of the Russian Civil War.

Lintern worked for the British Engineering Co. in Russia when he found himself brought into contact with the entourage of the imprisoned Russian Imperial Family. William Lintern was born in 1891 in Dowlais, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales in 1891. He attended Dowlais Junior School and Cardiff High School. His father, Thomas Lintern, obtained the position of Chief Engineer and Superintendent in Hughsofka in Russia, a steel and mining town that had been created by another Welshman, John Hughes.

The whole Lintern family moved to Russia when William was 20 years old. William left Hughsofka in 1915 to take a position as a representative for the British Engineering Company of Siberia (BECOS) and moved to Ekaterinburg where he was named British Vice-Consul at Ekaterinburg, and where he remained until 1919. It was at Ekaterinburg that he was presented with the offered lot. 

On the Roadshow, the story presented was one that had been passed down within the Lintern family, stating that the photo album had been given to Lintern by “one of Empress Alexandra’s maids” who had pressed him to accept the photograph album for safekeeping. Anna Demidova (1878-1918) was the only maid with the Imperial Family when they were arrested after the Revolution and she followed them into exile, first at the Governor’s mansion at Tobolsk, and later in the “House of Special Purpose” [the Ipatiev House] at Ekaterinburg.

Like the Imperial Family, Demidova was prohibited from leaving the Ipatiev House, and so it is unlikely that the album was smuggled out of the last residence of the Romanovs. New scholarship and provenance revealed The album, recently examined by Freeman’s as well as by the noted Romanov scholar Dr. Helen Rappaport, has been determined to contain original photographs dating from 1912 through the imprisonment of the Imperial family at Tobolsk in 1918, and closer inspection reveals handwritten marginalia in the album and on the backs of some of the photographs. The writing is now believed to be in the hand of Pierre Gilliard, tutor to the Imperial children.

Some of the images are known to have been taken by Gilliard and have been previously published. A number, however, have not been published before, and are new to scholars. This new evidence suggests that the album was compiled by and belonged to Pierre Gilliard. Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962) was a Swiss academic who was first hired in 1904 as a French tutor to the family of the Duke of Leuchtenberg, a cousin of the Emperor Nicholas II. He was recommended as a tutor to the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, and became part of the inner family circle. His role as tutor to the Tsesarevich Alexei meant that he was a guest at some of the family’s most private gatherings and privy to many of their private concerns including the heir’s hemophilia.

In 1919, Gilliard married Alexandra “Shura” Tegleva who had been a nurserymaid to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, and who had remained in the family’s service. Gilliard and Tegleva had been detained in the company of Charles Sydney Gibbes and Baroness Sophie Karlovna Buxhoeveden — all at Ekaterinburg, but kept separate from the Imperial family as foreign nationals.

Gilliard chose to remain in Siberia after the execution of the Imperial Family, and assisted Nikolai Sokolov during his investigation of the murder of the Romanovs. Present evidence suggests that this album, most likely compiled and annotated by Gilliard, was passed to Lintern by the former Imperial nurserymaid Alexandra Tegleva, rather than by the Empress’ lady’s maid, Anna Demidova. 

 The accompanying letter, written by Lintern to his family in England on 9 August, 1918 is an important document of the period of the late Revolution and the early days of the Russian Civil War. The Lintern letter makes it quite clear that the ultimate fate of the Romanovs was a mystery to no one. The people of Ekaterinburg were aware that the Imperial family had been held there, and that they had been murdered. The letter also reveals that the communists began immediate class reprisals among the gentry of Ekaterinburg, as was typical in the days of the “red terror.” The letter notes in plain terms that there were mass executions by the local communists, and that “They are finding the bodies of the townspeople who were murdered by the Sovet [sic], and each day has its gastly [sic] toll of bodies, to be brought into the city and given a Christian burial.

To see these funerals with anything from fifteen to sixty coffins in each, bearing the remains of the best townspeople, whose only crime was that they were of respectable families, having been put to death in the most brutal way, leaves an impression which one will never get rid of.” 

Lintern even notes that the murder of the Imperial family, far from being in doubt or indeed, even in question, was well known throughout the city as it was taken back under White control. “For the last two days, they have been pumping the water out of an old shaft in the forrest [sic], around which they found traces of the ex-Royal family, and I think there is no doubt that their bodies will be found at the bottom weighted down with stones.” It was not until six months later, in February of 1919, that the investigator Nikolai Sokolov arrived in Ekaterinburg to begin his inquest to discover what this important document already notes; that less than one month after the murder of the Imperial family, their final fate was already known to the residents of Ekaterinburg. 

The state of Camborne , Cornwall in the early 1850’s

Early photo of Trelowarren Street , looking West , Camborne c 1870s

The following is a letter written by “A.Surveyor” to the editor of the Royal Cornwall Gazette in June 1852 .

Camborne from being a relatively small Churchtown grew rapidly in the mid 1800s due to the rapid expansion of tin and copper mining in the area . Unfortunately the housing must have been quickly thrown up and was in a poor state and many lived in squalid conditions .

To the Editor of the Royal Cornwall Gazette.

Having had frequent occasion, during the last 10 years,
to pass through, and to sojourn at, the town of Camborne,
I have not overlooked its physical, nor, entirely, its moral
condition, and if you will permit a small space in your
journal to be occupied by a few remarks, intended for the
good of the inhabitants of that place, you will oblige me.
and, I hope, offend no-one.

In the year 1850 I was employed by the principal land-
owner (Sir R. R. Vyvyan, Bart., the owner of three quarters of the town) to survey his property there; in doing which I was necessarily obliged to see every external feature of the buildings, gardens, &c., and at that time I was so impressed with the very bad state of things, in reference
to sanitary effects, that I considered there was sufficient ground for drawing your readers’ attention to the subject.

Matters of a private character diverted my thoughts from this subject until yesterday, when some circumstances which came under my observation, reminded me of my former purpose of giving you a few facts for the consideration of the parties concerned.

It is to be regretted that in laying out a town, or a village, there is not, in every case, a plan previously drawn of the buildings, as well as of their sites and the garden ground attached ; and that certain conditions as to the quality of the workmanship, are not imposed on those to whom building leases are granted.

Had these arrangements been made and observed from the commencement
of the buildings now constituting the largest “ Churchtown” in this County, we should feel much greater satisfaction than we now do, in passing through the streets of that town, and particularly the street called Trelowarren street; which, if it consisted of good houses, would be the finest street in Cornwall. I am aware that in a population consisting almost exclusively of the labouring class, it would
be impracticable to have all the houses of a genteel description, but there are three qualities which should be included in the character of a street consisting of labourers residences alone; – uniformity of style, reasonable elevation, and substantiality.

Trelowarren Street , early photo , Looking East .

Now all these qualities are deficient at Camborne, except in the most recent streets,
Trelowarren-street is deficient of all these good qualities.
More miserable, squalid-looking cottages can rarely be found, of modern erection. Union-street and Tolcarne-street are not much better. Gas Lane is much worse
Since the present agent of Sir R. R. Vyvyan has had the laying out of the land for buildings, an improvement has taken place in the quality of the houses :

I may instance Centenary Row consisting of cottages of a little better description, but not so good as they should be.

Now, however, that the town is built, we must bear with its unsightly appearance, and entertain a hope, that as opportunities occur, improvements will be introduced in every respect. 

I am aware too that it will be said in defence of the present state of the houses at Camborne that no person thought that it would reach such a magnitude! 

But there is no harm in laying out a plan in having a large town in prospect, particularly where there are grounds for supposing such a thing probable.

But, Sir, small, low, irregular, and badly built, as the houses at Camborne are, there are some things there of a much worse description. I allude to the uncleanly and indecent habits of the poor people, and to the want of ordinary sanitary precautions on the part of all ;- for it is the duty of the rich to look after the poor. I may venture to include Camborne in the catalogue of uncleanly towns. 

There is no proper sewerage in the place; all the filthy water from stables, &c, being conveyed away in open drains; and the contents of the privies, &c., are carried through the streets in open day, in defiance of the common rules of prudence and decency; a practice, which in most towns would be punished by penalty. 

Only yesterday, in going up Cross-street, observed dung scattered along the road from one end to the other (from being carried in a leaky cart), and along the road beyond, for a still greater length, discharging effluvia of a very offensive kind. 

The dung of beasts is permitted to remain for days in the streets, and, sometimes the carcases of animals!

In the winter, some of the roads are thickly coated with mud. Many back entrances are excessively filthy, and Gas-lane is the abode of filth, both physical and moral.

There are causeways to nearly every line of houses, but so bad, either from want of being paved, or from being badly paved, that there is no pleasure in going over them.There is no flat pavement in the two except in front of about half a dozen houses in Chapel-street and Church-street. 

In the darkest winter there is no light except the occasional light that comes from the heavens, and the glimmering from the shop windows. It is an awful looking place in a dark winter’s night ! Yet gas may be had of Mr. W. B. Smith on very fair terms; but the people seem to prefer pitch darkness to the paying a trifle for the use of that beautiful light.

 There is no water, except pump water, in the town, so that there is no provision against fire, or a proper supply in the summer for culinary purposes.  A town without water can never be fully clean.

There should be water for the streets and houses brought into the town, which I believe can be done at a moderate expense.

To know the habits of people thoroughly, it is necessary to go into their dwellings; you may infer with tolerable correctness from what you see without; but just peep in, to be confirmed. This I have done. A few words first as to what may be observed with. out :-

Gardens rarely cultivated-many of them mere wastes, or yielding nothing but weeds. Few indeed are properly cultivated. The men prefer spending their
leisure in public houses, or lounging against a sunny hedge, to cottage gardening !

Numerous are the cottages which for filthiness are so bad that the visual and olfactory organs retreat with disgust !
The privies in good condition are very few, compared to the number of the houses; many cottages have none, and others mere unroofed walls.

In some places where these conveniences are situate near roads, the smell is intolerable, owing to the want of sewerage.
Now look within. Until yesterday I was not aware that the people were so crammed together as I find they are.

I will give you a specimen , which I suppose is not a common one; but here it is as I had it :

In a half of a house, this half consisting of 4 small apartments—2 only
of which are bedrooms – I found the following residents:

A widow, her daughter, and 5 sons = 7
A man, his wife, 2 sons and 4 daughters = 8
A blind man, his wife, and 3 children (the woman lately confined of the third) = 5
Total = 20 residents .

In Fair time a large number of lodgers also stop there.

On one occasion, I was informed that there were 6 or 7 male lodgers, besides the other man and his wife : all these in addition to the above 20  ,   so that there were, altogether, nearly 30 persons at one time, sleeping in two bedrooms.

“These things ought not to be.”
It is time that those gentlemen, residing at Camborne, who know the effect which this state of things must have on the health of the people-particularly in case of an
epidemic-should come forward and direct their energies to a removal of these evils.

There are medical gentlemen, eminent in their profession, practising at Camborne, who must be wide awake to the pernicious effect of these habits
of the people on their physical condition, and on their moral character too.

Three years ago, when the cholera was decimating (so to speak) the people of England, and actually reached the town of Camborne, the people of that
town became alarmed, and a board of health there formed, were active in their duties, while the medical gentlemen were peculiarly successful in their preventive measures.

Through a merciful Providence, few died of that disease there; but it is again crossing the continent on its way hither. Prepare for its arrival: use preventive measures; re-construct the board of health, and insist on cleanliness about the premises of every cottager.

Sewer and water and light your town, thereby rendering yourselves worthy
to live in the nineteenth century !

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Truro. 27th May, 1852.


Most think of Cornishmen who went to South Africa in the 1800s , were going to work in the mines but other trades were attracted too . Railways needed building and along with that bridges needed constructing too .

Probably the thought of good earnings , attracted a number of Cornishmen , including two masons from Penzance named William Luke and Henry Boase . It was a rough tough life , many living in tents and drink played a big part to ease the boredom after work . Unfortunately drink could cause fights amongst men who had previously been good friends .

A little background from one newspaper report from October1878 , though the tragedy actually took place the previous August which shows how long it took for news to reach home from the colonies !


About four years ago William Luke, of Penzance, mason, emigrated to the Cape. a strong man and a good worker, he could always find employ, but drink made him quarrelsome.

He was then a little over 40. Twelve months afterwards Henry Boase, a young man of 27, dissolved partnership with his father, also a mason of Penzance, and departed for the Cape, leaving a wife and one child at home.

It is now remembered by the friends of both parties that they once built a wall together, and seriously differed about the division of the proceeds. Luke declared that more money was due to him, and on the refusal by Boase to pay him any more, he made use of frightful threats that “one day he would leave his mark on him.” Whether ill-will has continuously burned or flickered, and then blazed up madly when “in liquor,” we cannot say: but the threat of five years ago has been terribly executed .
Boase “liked his drop” but rarely gave way to excess, and then was ever merry and never morose. 

Whatever their past relationship , they , according to reports , shared the same tent . Another report said a “Hottentot” woman was living with Luke .

The incident was reported and news came home and was published on 01 October 1878 in The Cornish Telegraph – Penzance, Cornwall.

News of very serious character was brought by the
Cape mail, delivered in Penzance on Saturday morning, for
letters and newspapers contained details of a murder of one
Penzance man by another, and of the suicide of the murderer.

William Luke, whose wife and six children live in Camberwell-street, is the name of the murderer and suicide, and Henry Boase, whose wife and child live in Leskinnick-Street, but now reside with the wife’s sister at Heamoor, was his victim.

They were both masons, and left Penzance for employment on the Government railway. works at the Cape, less than twelve months since.

Luke previous to going out, had worked for himself, building some of the houses in James’ street, and laying the curb in Adelaide-street.
He was about 45 years of age, and of powerful build. Whilst at home, he was much addicted to drink, and was very quarrelsome when in liquor.
The same habits, and with direful results, he seems to have continued in his new home.

Boase was a young man of about 20, and prior to leaving England lived in Penwith-Street. and sobriety could not be counted among his virtues.

The East Province Herald ( Aug. 27th, ) Port Elizabeth gives the following account of the affair -We are informed that a very atrocious murder was committed at Alicedale
last Saturday morning.

A man, named Luke, head-contractor for the construction of the bridge over the Bushmans river, and an employee of his commonly known as
* Cape Smoke Harry,” lived together on very good terms.

They had had a heavy drinking-bout, and on Friday night quarrelled. As they retired to rest. Luke was heard to say that he would “do for Harry the following morning”,
but no importance was attached to the statement, as it was thought he would forget all about it by the time he awoke. Such, however, did not prove to be the case.

On rising on Saturday morning. Luke was observed by a third
man , who slept under the same roof, to take his gun and proceed to Harry’s bed.

The third person at once rushed off for assistance; but, before there was time for any to arrive, Luke had murdered Harry, and mortally wounded himself. He first shot Harry through the stomach, and then beat his head out of all shape with a heavy hammer.

Then, taking up the gun again, he shot himself through the body. He was taken up from the ground in an almost dying condition, and carried to jail. When our
informant left Sandflats, on Saturday afternoon, Lake’s death we expected every moment .
We have since learned that the murderer died on Sunday, and was buried
yesterday morning, without any religions ceremony whatever.

A report by a fellow worker

I suppose you have heard about the awful affair here with us. William Luke shot Henry (Harry) Boase on the 24th August, in the middle of the night. 
First he said to Harry, ” We two will die like men,” and half-an-hour after, he woke up and said. “Your time is come.” Luke then had his twelve-barrelled revolver in his hand.
 Harry said: “For God’s sake, spare my life, Bill.”

Luke let fire at him, and Harry fell wounded on the floor, and kicked about very much, and screamed frightfully.

 Luke said,”You should not stick there like that, if I had another shot like this one.” Then Luke took up his hand hammer and knocked his brains in, and sank the handle right in his forehead. Then he fired at my mate three shots, and missed. Then he called my mate up, and he went to him.

Bill said, “Jack, Jack, you can see what I have done.” So he looked in and saw brains all out about. 
About half-past six in the morning, Luke shot himself in the side, and fell on Harry, and there he lay till the police came. Luke said to the police, “Do your work like men.” 
They then took him and locked him up, and just before he died, he said he soon should be with Harry.

Luke swore awful before he died , his language was of the vilest description. The ball came out of Lukes side before he died. He was not allowed to be buried with the white-men, but with the darkies.  Tom Barnicoat (Boase’s brother-in-law) is here. Luke said he wanted to shoot one or two more before he died.

This is another report sent to a policeman in Penzance :

The son of P.C. Barnes, who is at Graham’s Town, forwarded to his father the Eastern Star, which contains the following particulars of the murder of Henry Boase by William Luke at Alicedale.  It will be seen that it differs considerably from the other accounts :
Intelligence was received in town on Saturday afternoon or evening to the fact that a dreadful murder had that morning been perpetrated at the Railway Works, at New Year’s River, and subsequent intelligence stated that the
murderer had committed suicide.

The murderer was a man named William Luke, who had the contract for the railway bridge over the New Year’s River, and employed several men, among them the murdered man, upon the work.

This is thought to be the bridge , over the New Years River near Alicedale , built by the murderer William Luke and assisted by Henry/Harry Boase .

The Bridge is stated to have been built to a manner most satisfactory to the Resident Engineers, and is either completed or close upon completion.
The man Luke, and his employées had had a long drinking-bout, in the course of which an altercation took place, about some women of ill fame which
resulted in the man Luke taking up a rifle, and shooting one of
the men.

It is stated that, not content with this, the infuriated drunkard took up a stone-mason’s hammer, and battered in the skull of the unfortunate man , the blows dealt, it is said, being heard distinctly some distance from the hut, the men occupied.
Luke then turned the gun upon himself, and inflicted a wound that resulted in his death the next morning.

The Fieldcornet, Wr. J. B Wilmot, and Dr. Atherstone were
sent for. The former has sent to the Magistrate , a  statement
of the affair, dated August 20th, which is as  follows:-

The name of the murdered man is Henry Boase , mason who
worked at New Year’s River Bridge. The man Luke, after he
had murdered Henry Boase, shot himself the same morning,
Saturday, and lingered on till yesterday about three a.m.

Immediately on receipt of a note from Mr. Cant, I proceeded
to the scene of the murder, and found the murdered men,
Boase, lying on his back, in Luke’s hut. On examination,
found he received a gun-shot wound to the left region of
the  stomach, the entrails protruding. The wound was from
two to two-and-a-half inches wide. There was also a wound
in the forehead, which had been smashed in by a stone-cutter’s
hammer,  about one-and-a-half to two inches wide, and to
four inches deep.  The man Luke had been removed to Alicedale gaol, before I reached the scene of the murder.

I remained in the vicinity until Sunday. ten a.m. when I was met by Dr. Atherstone, who held a post mortem examination in my presence. We then proceeded to Alicedale, and inspected the body of the murderer (who had died that morning) William Luke.
Dr. Atherstone, Dr. Cheese (from Port Elizabeth and myself held the post mortem

Luke had a  gun shot wound to the left region of the stomach, through to the back .
The wound made by a gun shot .

I had the depositions of three men taken before the Resident Engineer, P. G. Slomar,

The said men are living at the same camp as the deceased . They are all Europeans.
Their names are as follows , Clements, a mason , Tuck , a mason , both in the employ of the murderer Luke.
Stanton, a ganger in the employ of Mr Cant.

The deceased and Clements and Tuck
had been drinking together, evidently the night before the murder.

Luke had been that day at work at the bridge. My impression is that the men had been drinking for some days past.
There had been some altercation about women of ill-repute.

I am not satisfied with the evidence of Clements and Tuck but of course ” dead men tell no tales”

The effects of the murderer, Luke, I have
removed to the  Railway stores at New Years River and will
forward them to your office as soon as possible.

William Luke , a mason in Penzance with his family on the 1871 Census , prior to going to S.Africa

The Little Spark a.k.a. Odeyne Spark or another “Marks and Spark” !

I first saw a picture of “The Little Spark” reading a history of The Theatre Royal in Nottingham . The young dancer and singer caused a sensation in the 1890s and early 1900s with her talent , appearing in numerous shows and pantomimes .

At one time she appeared on the same bill as Arthur Jefferson (Stan Laurel’s father) and Fred Karno’s Army .

I tried to find out more about her and discovered she first appeared on stage as GERTIE MARKS aged 5 years old . This was in her home town of Plymouth , local adverts said she was from Devonport .

A writer in 1893 said when she appeared on stage she was “of five summers” , so assume a birthdate of c 1888 .

Finding the real name of Little Spark proved to be quite a task !

Eventually found an address of “7, First Rectory Avenue, Devonport” that appeared on one of The Little Sparks adverts . Actually the correct address should have been 7 , First Avenue, Rectory Road, Devonport and on the electoral roll at this address in 1897 is one George MARKS.

His full name was Abraham George Marks (died 1907) who was a supplier of clothing to the navy and according to the 1891 Census , also a photographer .

However she was born near Manchester in 1887 . This looks like the illegitimate birth record on the Government Records Office site for Gertie (mothers maiden name left blank) :

GRO Reference: 1887  S Quarter in CHORLTON  Volume 08C  Page 800

On the 1891 Census living Plymouth is an Abraham George Marks , “photographer” with wife Eveline Gertrude Marks (born Liverpool) plus step-daughter “Eveline G Smart” born c1888 Manchester. Note on this she had been given the surname Smart rather than Rooney .

There’s a marriage in Plymouth in Dec Qtr 1889 for Abraham George Marks to Eveline Gertrude Rooney , so assume Eveline “Gertie”? Smart was daughter of a previous assignation of Eveline Gertrude Rooney and a Mr Smart .

The following Census in 1901 at Lambeth is Eveline Marks , “living on own means” (born c1866 Liverpool) with daughter (now) Eveline Gertrude Marks born c1888 but this time saying born Plymouth. The elder Eveline is described as “living on own means”. I’m sure these were theatrical lodgings whilst Gertie was touring theatres . Around the time of the 1901 Census Gertie was appearing in Hastings .

Gertie’s mother Eveline or Evelina died in 1919 . This is the probate in 1919 for Evelina Gertrude Marks :

“MARKS Evelina Gertrude of 45 Cavendish-avenue Eastbourne widow , died 18 November 1919 at 6 Colonnade-gardens , Eastbourne . Probate Lewes 15 December to Eveline Gertrude Davies (wife of St. John Alexander Davies).Effects £746 155. 7d.”

There’s a marriage in Westminster in 1910 for Gertie to St John A Davies.

According to the later 1939 Register St John Davies was an “Engineers draughtsman” .

He died 1964 and she died later in 1973 , their grave can be seen on Find A Grave in Littleham , near Exmouth her full name given as Eveline Gertrude Davies .

Probate of 1964 for husband St John Davies lists their full names .

Surprisingly there’s no mention in the news archives of her marriage as Odeyne in 1910 and nothing official to connect the Davies name to Odeyne Spark but I believe the real names are distinctive enough to match .

Maybe her husband didn’t approve of her stage career , though she did tour briefly after their marriage for a few years , the last might have been a tour of South Africa in 1919 ?

Having just had a peek at the new 1921 Census ( released January 2022). It appears that Eveline Gertrude Davies ( nee Marks)  and St.John Alexander Davies
had at least 2 children:
1) Rita Miriam Davies born Brixton London 1912
2) Frederick St. John Davies born 1918 Eastbourne.
Mothers maiden name given as Marks on both birth records .

So we have her background history , the following lists some of her professional life :

An advert for the Red Riding Hood pantomime in 1898 in Nottingham .

Red Riding Hood is an advance upon Mr. Arthur’s
Cinderella pantomime of last year. We do not think there is
anything better than the dazzling magnificence of the Fairy
Boudoir, which afforded opportunity for the introduction of a
ballet, though the Assembly of Nations is a good second.
With Dame Hubbard as the schoolmistress, the Baron as the
Inspector, two expert knockabouts as Johnny Stout and
Tommy Green, and a clever animal impersonator posing as
Dog Towzer.

One of the most gratifying features of the pro-
duction is the unmistakable success of that remarkable child
actress, The Little Spark, who sings and dances her way into
everybody’s heart, and she is as good a Little Red Riding
Hood as could be wished.

More reviews

Nottingham Express, Dec. 27th, 1898.
One can, however, with vigorous heart praise the Little Spark, the charming little girl who plays the part of Red Riding Hood-a wee animated little thing,
with the figure of a doll and the brain of a grown-up artiste.

Umpire, Jan. 8th, 1899.
The Little Spark, who plays the part of Red Riding Hood, is quite a child, and so far has met with an enthusiastic reception for the manner in which she takes her part, her singing and dancing being quite a treat.

Nottingham Express, Jan. 10th, 1899.
And listened with delight to the Little Spark, the winsome little child, who with such piquant precocity acts her part as the tiny heroine.

Weekly Paper, Dec. 29th, 1898.
A clever juvenile, the Little Spark, with her chubby face and rosy cheeks, plays Little Red Riding Hood, and is a counterpart of the character we see in the
picture books. Both her songs were encored, and one of them, “My Dolly,” is an ideal song for a child actress, its greatest merit resting in its simplicity and
the natural way in which it is rendered.

Nottingham Guardian, Dec, 27th, 1898.
One of the most gratifying features of the production was the unmistakable success of that remarkable child actress, the Little Spark, who sang and danced her way
into everybody’s heart, and it was upon all hands conceded that than this precocious juvenile no more fitting embodiment of Little Red Riding Hood could be wished.
As previously hinted, the success achieved by the Little Spark was as instantaneous as it was complete. The winsome grace of the clever child was recognised by the
utmost warmth, and she was several times during the evening made the object of an enthusiastic demonstration.

Nottingham Express, Jan. 3d, 1899.
There has not been, so far as we can remember, a brighter child actress in Nottingham than the Little Spark, who plays the part of Red Riding Hood so charmingly. Her wee figure, comely and happy face, her bright, childish ways, and the absolute delight she appears to take in her part makes her really the central personage of the pantomime. She has remarkable energy for such a dot, and is as lively at the end of the evening as at the commencement. She sings two songs–one being ” Has anyone seen my dolly?”- which quite enrapture the house, and the audience, in their enthusiasm, would have her back to sing and dance again and again. The child has a winning natural grace, a freedom of movement, a lucidity of utterance, and an expression of stage art that must, if
all goes well, take her right to the front. In what directions her talents will lte cannot, of course, be prophesied.


ALL the world’s stage.”
And just as it is with the world in general, so it is with the mimicstage.
Some of its people are widely known and talked about, whilst others
are known only to themselves.
They exist , some barely that -but the favoured ones stand out, and their
names are familiar by constant repetition. In this category must be placed that charming little entertainer, Miss Marks, better known as the Little Spark,” who, although only in her 13th year, can already boast a reputation enough to
turn many of her older compeers green with envy.

Few children who have been put on the stage have attracted wider attention than has the Little Spark.” With her it has not been a case of ” If at first you don’t succeed”.
From the very moment she first trod the boards
she has enjoyed an unbroken spell of success-
and, as everyone who has seen her will agree, deserved success. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to any that she leant into multi-talented one ,
to say that she leapt into popularity at a bound. The “Spark” is a born actress. Not a
penny, it will surprise many people to know, has been spent in training her for the profession of which she promises to become one of the leading lights.

As a mite of three she sang and danced
to large audiences at the Grand Theatre, Plymouth, and even at that early age produced an impression which has since been justified in unmistakable manner.

Subsequently she appeared
at the Theatre Royal in the same town, but was not seen again in public until she was nine years of age, when she was one of the chief attractions at the Middlesex and London (Shoreditch) Music Halls.

This may be said to hare been the beginning
of her career. The Spark” gradually
brightened, until it has now burned into a big flame. During the three years that have elapsed since she completed her first engagement in the Metropolia, this talented little lady has visited all the principal halls in the country, and everyone who has seen her votes her one of the most accomplished juvenile performers on the stage.
Should any testimony be needed as to her popularity, it may be mentioned that she is fully booked for the next two years.

This is nothing uncommon some may say. But let us come nearer home. Everybody knows that “Little Sparks’ representation of Red Riding Hood that she is quite at home in pantomime ; perhaps more so than in the music hall at the Nottingham Theatre Royal some two or three years ago, was one of the most successful features of the piece.

This was her first appearance in the city,
and many people will still have pleasant recollections of the charm and simplicity which characterised her acting, of her sweet rendering of “Red Riding Hood” song which, it will be remembered, became very popular—and of her graceful dancing.

The “Little Spark” has been with us a number of times since, and is just now concluding a successful engagement at the Circus, where she has been the central figure for several weeks.

From here she will go to Mr. Gilbert’s
establishment at Norwich for a month, and
thence back to London. Her acting has lost
none of its charm, her singing none of its sweetness, her dancing none of its gracefulness; and she can count upon a warm reception on the visit
which she is to pay us in the autumn.

It was with the object of gathering these and a few other particulars about the popular serio that I called upon Mrs. Marks. Her daughter, she said, was born at Plymouth, and would be 13 in a few months’ time.

Then she told me how that her appearance at the Middlesex Music
Hall was the Spark’s ” first stepping-stone to success; that the sensation she created there led to her being engaged, while yet only nine years old, for the pantomime of “Red Riding Hood” at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in which she played the
title role; and naturally—that her reputation
increased with every performance.

Between this and her first visit to Nottingham, the Spark
figured as one of the principal characters in the ” Babes in the Wood ” at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool. Here she made big hit
with “Has Anybody Seen my Dolly,” though her best piece is “Don’t Cry Mamma,” which she has sung hundreds of times, and which, I was assured, was much liked in London “The Spark’s” repertoire comprises eleven songs, the latest of which has just been published under the title of “The Dear Little Dancing Dolly.”

I asked Mrs. Marks if her daughter had yet
appeared anywhere out of England. She replied in the negative. “Little Spark” had an offer from Vienna twelve months ago, but the age limit compelled her to decline it.

By this time next year, however, she will have entertained large audiences at the Winter Gardens, Berlin, and also will have visited Munich, at each of
which places she is to receive a monthly salary running into three figures “When she gets older,” Mr. Marks said, “she intends going on the ‘legitimate’ stage, but we must first let people know that she is worth her money.”

The mother of this precocious child is proud and justly proud of complimentary letters which she has received from well-known actors and
actresses, including Miss Ellen Terry, and likes to tell how when the “Spark ” was in Birmingham some months ago her performance afforded much pleasure to two old ladies-one 96 and the other 72-neither of whom had been in a place of amusement before.

“The ‘Spark’s’ abilities,” Mrs. Marks volunteered, “were put to severe test three years
ago. It was one of those artistes competitions which take place in London from time to time, and notwithstanding that the majority of the competitors were much older than herself, the ‘Spark’ carried of the trophy” a beautiful clock
“I should have told you,” observed Mrs. Marks, as I rose to leave, “that my daughter
was offered an engagement by Mr. Arthur Collins to extend over three years, but that previous arrangements with Mr. Robert Arthur presented her from accepting it.”

And thus ended a pleasant little chat with the mother of one of the cleverest children that I have met.
H. M.”

About 1902 The Little Spark changed her name to ODEYNE SPARK and I suppose changed her repertoire to a more adult performance . So we now have three names :

Gertie Marks , The Little Spark and Odeyne Spark !

The last adverts for Odeyne Spark appearing on stage were in 1913 and her name doesn’t crop up again until 1929 when the following appeared in the “Just Jottings” column of The Stage newspaper 23rd January 1930 .

H. F. Maltby, the well-known
dramatist, writes to say that he
was very interested in a recent
reference in these columns to
The Little Spark,” and very
kindly answers my query us to
who and what she is now. But
perhape you had better have it in
Mr. Maltby’s own words.
Says Mr. Maltby:-

“Years and years ago I made
my one and only appearance as red-
nosed comic in pantomime-the
date is uncertain, but it happened
at that particular Christinastida
when all and sundry were lifting up
their voices in song, and imploring
certain wayward gentleman
named Bill Bailey to return to
his domicile! As a matter of fact,
out of respect to this gentleman,

the part I impersonated was named
“Billbailio, the final
being added for the purpose of giv-
ing the cognomen a Spanish atmos.
phere the subject of the panto-
mime being “Puss in Boots.

Now who should our principal
boy be but the very Little Spark
you inquire after! ” However, she
had then outgrown the white sock
stage, so she had just dropped the
“Little and was billed as Miss
Odeyne Spark for the first time.
At that time, a certain dentifrice
named Odol was being exten-
sively advertised, so what was more
natural than that I should nick-name the little lady Odol-and
she became to all of us.
You will be wondering where all
this is leading, so I will continue.

Thousands of years roll on until
we arrive at summer, 1929-last
summer that ever was.
I was touring with my new play, “The Age
of Youth.” and visiting the charm-
ing Devonshire town of Exmouth,
I was surprised to receive a note
from the front in the following
terms: “May “Odol’ see Bill-
bailio for a minute after the

For a moment I was at a loss to
understand the message, and then
my mind went back to the days of
long ago-of “Puss in Boots,”
“Odol,” and “Bilbailio.”
Yes, it was the “Little Spark,”
and, of course, Billbailio
delighted to see her and her big
husband she brought round with

And now to answer your
query. … The “Little Spark
is retired, married, and comfortably
settled down at Exmouth; she has,

moreover, another Spark, in the
shape of a daughter much taller
and bigger than the “Little
Spark” was when she informed her
audience nightly that she had a
Spooner-ooney feeling coming
over her.”

Odeyne Spark made extensive tours abroad ,notably to Australia and South Africa . There this piece from The Music Hall paper of 1911 that tells of a South African mine owner who after being rejected in S Africa followed her back to London though this may have been a re-hash of a story that appeared in 1906 .

(This article is a surprise , maybe a publicity stunt as Gertrude had married St John Alexander Davies the year before in 1910) .

There is a very tender romance attaching
to Miss Odoyne Spark, sweetly pretty
little lady who sings and dances for our
delight Odeyne who has been on the
boards since she was quite child, and
who was then known as the Little Spark,
returned recently from successful tour
in South Africa.

While singing down south
this sprightly maiden won the heart of
wealthy mine magnate, but Odeyne loved
the stage too much to marry and settle
down in a diamond district.

When she returned to England, her
admirer followed suit, and nearly every
night for the past six weeks he has occu
pied box at the music-hall where Miss
Spark was appearing.

In some cases this
new “silent admirer” booked the stage
box for all the twelve performances of the
week, and he is always enthusiastic in his
applause. Surely, such devotion must win
the fair maid’s heart!

The joke of the romance is that one of
Miss Spark’s songs is “I’m Looking for a
Sweetheart.” After a tour of the Empires
at Hackney, Holloway, Stratford, Shep-
herd’s Bush, and New Cross, the lady goes
to a far off town to-day. I wonder if the
devout lover will still pursue her ?

A ships manifest of the Balmoral Castle shows some artistes on board to South Africa in October 1919 , am assuming that “Miss O.M.Sparke” is our lady .

So obviously a talented lady .

Delighted to receive any further information on her.

Tom Moore (1835-1911) , outfitter of Redruth and Camborne.

Tom Moore was baptised 11th Oct 1835 at Eling near Southampton, Hampshire. His parents were Richard and Rebecca Moore.

The 1841 Census shows him living at home with his parents plus three brothers and two sisters .

1864 he married Jane Thorogood daughter of farmer Henry Thorogood at Billericay, Essex. At the marriage , Tom Moore’s place of residence was given as Cornwall so assume he had moved there to work for Charles Clarke in his drapery business.

The shop today , currently a charity shop .

Tom seemed to have prospered !

By 1871 Tom and Rebecca Moore can be seen living at Fore Street , Redruth with their 3 children and with 3 servants/assistants .Tom’s occupation given as “Outfitter and wool draper” . 

The following from an article written in 1910 :

The Rise of the Business.
It is now fifty years since Mr. Tom Moore, J.P., first opened business at Redruth, in
partnership with Mr. Robert Clarke, of Truro.

For fourteen years the partners worked successfully together, building up an ever-
increasing reputation for the quality and value of the goods sold. At the end of
that time (1876) Mr. Moore found himself sole proprietor of a really high-class business as tailor, hatter and outfitter.

Conducted on sound and straightforward business principles, the house of Moore continued to flourish, and, thirty eight years (edit : more like 28 years) from the opening of the Redruth establishment a second shop was started at Camborne by Mr. Moore.

21 Fore Street Redruth today , Hatters coffee shop . Cleverly using the previous trade that carried on there from Cocking’s hatters through to Tom Moore’s hatters and then Phillips hatters (later menswear).

Below the mosaic entrance way into the current Hatters Coffee Shop at 21 Fore Street Redruth , showing the previous occupants names .

Photo courtesy of June Holland of Hatters Coffee Shop

Cocking’s Hat Business at Redruth was bought by him and the shop rebuilt.

Ten years later, Mr. H. T. Moore was taken into partnership by his father, and
the title of the firm then became “ Tom Moore & Son.”

Such, briefly, has been the history of the firm, which, from a small beginning, has
gradually advanced, until to day Tom Moore & Son can boast one of the most
flourishing businesses in the West of England .

The ledgers of this firm to-day shew the addresses of customers all over the globe;
their celebrated clothes are being sent to the mining camps in every country of the
world; while the estimate that Tom Moore& Son have made over 250,000 garments to order illustrates the tremendous scope of the firm’s operations.

Success can always be commanded by those who employ the proper methods, and
Mr. Tom Moore attributes the success of his firm to the facts that he has always bought
for cash in the best markets — that he always gives the very best possible value-
and that his staff consists only of qualified assistants, many of whom have been
with the firm for very many years.

Moore’s Perfect Tailoring
Smart Suits made to measure from Stylish
Hard-wearing cloths from 30 shillings.

Write for latest patterns in Suitings, Trouserings and Vestings, etc. We keep & splendid variety of all the very latest fashions.

Give us a sample order and you obtain
the Best Cloth-the Finest Fit.

An advert of Tom Moores from 1910 :

Tom Moore’s shop below in Camborne opened around 1880 .

Same shop c1910 below after alterations

Coming to Cornwall as stranger, and making the journey by water from Bristol
before the Cornwall raIlway was opened, Tom Moore first opened a business in Redruth in partnership with Mr. R. Clarke, of Truro, a tallor, having previously been apprentised to that trade.

The partnership lasted for fourteen years. The business flourished,
and, 38 years from the opening of the Redruth shop, Mr. Moore started a new estab-
lishment at Camborne. Then he purchased the well-known Cooking’s hat business, and
rebuilt the shop. Ten years later Mr. Herbert T. Moore was taken into partnership by his father, under the title of Tom Moore and Son.” The business is known
wherever Cornish minors have gone, and has a world-wide trade. Mr. Moore was
the last survivor of the tradesmen who were in Redruth at the time he settled

The following appeared after Tom Moore’s death in 1910 and mentions some of the shop workers at the time :

The mourners were Messr. H. T. Moore
(son), H. Kinsman (grandson), William Moore
and B. Moore (nephews), and R. R. Kinsman

Others included the following
Employees of the firm :

Outfitting shop, Redruth
Messrs. H. Harold, E. J. Osborne,
T. Tonkin, A. J. Escott, J. G. Bosanko, J.
Venner, N. Gross, S.Rickard and H. Hugo.

Hat shop RedruthMessrs. E. H. Sanders, J. Lean,
J. Fooks and Thomas;

Camborne outfitters shop-
Messrs. H. Temby, Thomas, Uren and Trevaskis

An advert below from 8th Jan 1925 for the Redruth shop at 21 Fore St. as published in the Cornubian Times

Tom Moore’s shop at 83 Fore Street must have closed prior to 1922 as here’s an advert for Simpsons (of Penzance) who were trading at those premises in 1922 .

The following was an obituary for Robert Clarke from 1880 who appears to have been the inspiration for Tom Moore’s success . Tom Moore had originally worked for Mr Clarke and gradually worked his way up to be in a partnership with him (dissolved 1876) and became eventual owner of the business.

Note the names of other well known Cornish traders who attended the funeral such as Simpson of Penzance and Winkworth of Helston whp probably were good customers of Mr Clarke wholesaler and manufacturor .

Mr. Robert Clarke, the enterprising and successful
outfitter and the founder of the business , was interred at Stoke Bishop church-yard, near Bristol, on Thursday,

Seven mourning carriages three private carriages, and 50 workpeople followed the remains from deceased’s residence, Tower Hirst, to the Church.

The widow, his only son, six daughters, brother (Mr. Clarke, M.P. for Abingdon, ) sister-in-law, nephews, and Messrs. Simpson, of_Penzance, L. Ball, T. Trelease, and R. Trelease, of Falmouth, James, of Truro, Tom Moore, of Redruth, Winkworth, Helston, Pickett, St. Ives, &c., were among those who paid a last mark of respect.

The breastplate bore the inscription, “Robert Clarke, died June 12, 1880, aged 55”.

Upon the lid were a large number of wreaths and crosses of choice flowers and ferns. The coffin having been lowered into the grave—a brick vault on the south side of the Church-
several other floral devices were placed upon it. The bell of St. Augustine Church, in which parish the deceased’s business premises are, was tolled during the

Tom Moore’s most recent shop in Camborne’s Commercial Sq is now a British Heart Foundation charity shop .

It still has “R.R.K. 1919” at the top of the tower which stands for Richard Rooke Kinsman. He opened the store there and later worked or was in partnership with Tom Moore . He also married Tom Moore’s daughter Jessie .

Before moving to the Commercial Square site Tom Moore had his shop on the opposite side of the street where the Midland (HSBC) Bank was.

In the 1900s the Commercial Sq site was previously part of Dunkin’s Bon Marchee Drapers and Milliners and a very ordinary looking shop like most of those in Camborne at that time.

Photo below taken c 1959 .

At some point the ownership of Tom Moore’s retail business must have passed on to his grand-daughter Miss Phyllis Jessie Kinsman (daughter of Richard Rooke Kinsman), she died 1965 in Torquay .

She left the majority of her estate , the business in Camborne , to the managers of the business .

The Camborne store eventually closed in March 1973.

Though Tom Moore’s son took over the outfitters business after the death of his father , his real interests were in music . It appears he handed over the running of the Camborne shop to the managers and moved to Bugle near St.Austell where he taught music .

This from the Redruth local paper in 1943 :

Owing to war conditions many of our readers probably do not know that Mr.
Herbert T. Moore, formerly of Redruth, passed away some months ago at St.
Dennis in the Cornish china clay district where he carried on a business.

Mr. H. T. Moore, Bugle.

Mr. Herbert T. Moore (75). who died at New Street, Bugle, on Feb-
ruary 28. was a native of Redruth,and had prior to becoming a resident
at Bugle, been well known in various musical and theatrical circles as a
keen musician, actor. author, and producer.
At Bugle his services as orchestral leader and organiser had
been esteemed.

Mr.Moore, who was more than 75 years old,was born at Parc. Vean, Redruth, and
was the son and business partner of the late Mr. Tom Moore C.C.. a leading
townsman and local politician in the days of Mr. Conybeare, M.P.

Mr. Herbert Moore had musical gifts and was an organist and one of the promoters (with Mr. Frank Beringer) of the Redruth Amateur Dramatic Society and the Operatic
Society which followed it.

The artistes rendered “Dombey and Son,” Bardell v. Pickwick Trial,” and other
plays from the novels of Dickens.

After his father’s death Mr. Bertie Moore continued in business as a hatter and out-
fitter for a time, but eventually removed to North Cornwall and lost touch with
many old friends and colleagues.
Two of his sisters were the late Mrs. R. R. Kinsman and Miss Laura Moore, popular singer.

Many Cornishmen abroad will remember him in conection with
many Redruth activities half-a-century ago.

One of his few surviving relatives in the district is a nephew, Mr. Ewart
Kinsman, a well-known member of Camborne Chamber of Commerce.

The name of Tom Moore outfitters in Commercial Square, Camborne finally came to an end in 1973 when the store closed . I only remember the shop as The Gateway Building Society in the 1980s and later The Woolwich Building Society .

More from the above article :

A CHAPTER in Cornish trading and a link with
mining ends in the closure of Tom Moore’s,

The Camborne firm of tailors, hatters and outfitters.

For five generations they have served the Cornish
public . “Cousin Jacks,” the world over and thousands of
students the School of Mines.

The “closed” notice goes up for the last time the distinctive
Commercial Square corner shop on Saturday week as the owners
retire from the towns oldest trading business with 157 years
service in the county.

And with the closure comes the end of “The Club.” the name
given to the shop when for more than 50 year has been a daily
meeting point for mining men , former students and retired Camborne  “boys”

Legion base
The shop has supported the local cricket team , has been a base
for British Legion work for 40 years , a ticket agency for local
events and a source local information.

For years the scores of Rugby team away matches was telegraphed to the shop .

A waiting crowd of up to 200 townsfolk would wait there to hear how their band had fared in contests.

Mr Tom Moore’s first shop was at Redruth and his name became
known in mining camps throughout the world

His second shop opened at Camborre more than a
century ago and eventually there were ten between Plymouth and

The firm would kit out a man going overseas with all his needs for £30 in the 1930s.

Caps were1s 6d , neckties and collars 6d
Miner’s helmets 2s 11d
Boys sailor suits were 5s 11d.

A made-to-measure suit about £2, and a man walked into
the shop only a few weeks ago with proof that they lasted 33
years .

The present stock includes bowler hats, collars and studs
and recently a silk top hat was sold to an undertaker.

Tom Moore’s moved to the present Camborne site in 1919.
and seven years later Mr Jack Sampson joined the staff.

He is now an owner with Mr Tom Bawden who has 41 years’ service.

They were given the business 8 years ago as a reward for their service.

Single light
In the early days the shop had a single gaslight used only when
there was a customer, and a bell-ringing wooden till is now a
collector item along with the hat stretcher . Both are still used.

MR. Sampson began work for 1s 6d per quarter while Mr.
Bawden worked from nine to six daily and until nine on Saturday
Nights for 3s a week.

Negotiations are nearing completion for the sale of the shop
There is  a possibility that it will remain an outfitter  but not with the name of Tom Moore.

In the 1911 Census Tom Moore and his family were living at “Lyndhurst” Illogan Highway . This is a property called Lyndhurst today now a b&b which am assuming is the same property . .

“Cornish boys abroad in West Toledo , Ohio, USA 1924”

Unfortunately this is a very grainy photo as published in Cornubian and Redruth Times 24 July 1924 but the names may be of interest to anyone that had mining ancestors that migrated to West Toledo , Ohio in the 1920s from Cornwall .

The sign says “Cornish boys abroad USA 1924” .

These names are mentioned : Charles George (Redruth) , Charles Woodworth ( Redruth) , Charles Trevena ( Illogan ) , William George ( Redruth) , Arthur Gatter (Redruth) , Stanley Trevena ( Illogan) , Levi Roberts (Illogan) , James Roberts (Illogan ) , James Mathews (Illogan) , Albert Crocker ( Illogan ) , Charles Broom (Illogan) , Harry Penberthy (Portreath) , Albert Stapleton (Illogan) , Miss Jane Gatter and Arthur Gatter ( Illogan) , William Coad ( Camborne) , Miss Chrissie Stoneman ( Illogan) , Miss Dorothy Crocker (Illogan) ,Joseph Martin ( Illogan).

Left to right, 2nd Photo.- Hats are off for this 2nd photo !
1st Row: A. Stapleton (Illogan), W. George (Redruth), H.Penberthy (Portreath), J. Roberts (Illogan), A. Gatter (Illogan), S. Trevena (Illogan),
L. Roberts (Illogan), J. Mathews (Illogan) , C. Woodworth (Redruth). C. Broom
Illogan), A. Crocker (Illogan).

2nd Row: Trevena Illogan, W. Coad (Camborne), A. Gaiter, jun. (Illogan), C. George (Redruth), J. Martin (Illogan).

Photos by Harry Berry, of Pengam, near Cardiff, South Wales.

A better copy of the second photo appeared posted on Facebook by Ian Fairburn in July 2020 .This had been originally addressed to a Mr Penberthy in Portreath .

A Mike Shroeder identified his grandfather :

Back row, tallest one in center, Stanley. His brother, Charlie, is front row, left. A cousin, W. Coad, is to Charlie’s right

Some comments on these pictures after they were posted on Facebook page Nostalgic Redruth in Nov 2017. First comment by Graham Mill .

Yes, Have them in my Tree. Charles Trevena (1869-1902) married Esther ‘Annie’ Hosking Coad 1870-1943). Charles Alfred Trevena (1901-1932) and Stanley Coad Trevena (1902-1968 . Two of their sons are in this picture, as well as Christina Trevena Stoneman (1919- 1992), who was the daughter of Millicent Jane Trevena 1893-1967).the second daughter of Charles and Esther.

Think the Chrissie Stoneman is Christine Trevena Stoneman, born 1919, mother was Millicent Jane Trevena (1893-1967). and father , William A Stoneman (1891-1968). Chrissie went on and married Richard Ferdinand Volk in 1942 in Lucas, Ohio.

 Comment by myself on the same page :

1911 there was a C.A. Trevena born 1901 and a S. Trevena born 1902 , living at Robartes Terrace . Illogan. Head of household is widow , Esther Ann Trevena ( nee Coad). Ten years earlier on the 1901 Census its probably her living at ChurchTown , Ventoraze ,Illogan with husband Charles Trevena a miner , born c1869 .Amongst children is a Charles Alfred Trevena born in 1901 .

This by Isobel Purdy on Facebook from June 2020 :

Trying to trace any living relatives of ALBERT EDWARD CROCKER – DOB 13/04/1890 Pengegon, who married ELSIE HARDING in 1914. They had two daughters – WINIFRED and DOROTHY. They emigrated in 1919, sailing from Southampton, and settled in Ohio. They went on to have three further children – DONNA, ALFRED and PATRICIA. DOROTHY married OAT WHITMILL, and died in Michigan in 1985.

 The Albert born 1890 could be found living Pengegon near Camborne in 1891 . It would appear they moved from the far West of Cornwall to Camborne after 1887 according to the births below , though some of the birth places given on the Census don’t quite match the official records .There’s a marriage in Penzance for John Crocker (son of John ) to Elizabeth Anna Trewern , (daughter of James Richard Trewern) in 1877 .

1891 Census Pengegon John Crocker Head Married Male 39 1852 Mine Labourer born Mousehole,

Elizabeth Crocker Wife Married Female 33 1858 – Penzance,

John H Crocker Son Single Male 11 1880 Scholar St Buryan,

William C Crocker Son Single Male 9 1882 Scholar St Buryan,

John Crocker Son Single Male 7 1884 Scholar Hayle,

Sarah H Crocker Daughter Single Female 4 1887 – Hayle,

Bessie Crocker Daughter Single Female 2 1889 – Camborne,

Albert E Crocker Son – Male 0 1891 – Camborne,

Etheldra J Truan (Trewern ?) Niece Single Female 14 1877 Mine Labourer Penzance,

Thomas Garrod (c1853-1900) alias “Dagging Top” the “professional top spinner”

The following from vol. 11 Victorian Nottingham by Iliffe and Baguley :

“This most singular of Nottingham’s street characters was frequently to be seen during the later years of
the last century ‘toiling and spinning for a livelihood on his favourite pitch at the foot of Low Pavement.

The dexterous manner in which he would wind the string around his peg tops, with the combined assistance of his teeth and his little stumps of arms, was supplemented by a bit of fantastic side-stepping, jauntily indulged, before ‘flying top after top’, which he would then proudly watch attain equilibrium before their
‘going to sleep’ on the strict perpendicular for half a minute or more. This performance was always watched by an admiring assembly of passers-by.

He sold a little pamphlet containing his life story, in which he stated:

“My name is Thomas Garrod. I was born on the 14th September 1852, of poor but honest parents, in the Town of Stone-Market [Stowmarket), in the County of Suffolk.’ Crippled in all his limbs from birth, he goes on to say how he
used to be carried on his brother’s back to school, where the master was very kind to him; and how, although he had no hands, his playmates encouraged him in his boyish ambition to join them at their top-spinning and other pastimes.

First one then another would come and say, “Tommy, try my top”
Never, never shall I forget the first time I made a top to spin, my little heart fairly jumped with joy, and the boys gave such a shout, that the master ran into the schoolyard to see what was the matter.
When informed that Tommy had made the top spin, he cried “Impossible!”, but all this time I was lapping the top again, and quickly spun it before the master, who was struck with surprise.’

He devoutly adds: God has ordained it to be my means of gaining a livelihood’.
He had a fiery temper which sometimes made him a holy terror at home, where it was said that he used to bully his poor wife fearfully. One night, however, she took up a thick stick and chased him until he took refuge under the bed. ‘Come out, you brute’, she screamed. “No’, he said firmly, ‘I’ll show you who’s boss in this house”.
He died in 1900, leaving a wife and several children, none of whom had any physical deformity.”

This was “Dagging Top” , Thomas Garrod, on the 1891 Census living at 18 Knob Yard , Nottingham with his wife and children . Looking at the children’s birthplace the family certainly moved around !

There can’t be many that gave their occupation as “Professional Top Spinner” !

F.W.Woolworth opening in Lister Gate Nottingham 1914

An advert for Woolworths opening in Lister Gate in August 1914 .

The following from an amalgamation of news articles in Nottingham in 1914 for the 3d & 6d store :

“During the present year a great store to be run on American lines will be opened in Lister gate, Nottingham, by Messrs.Woolworth and Co., Ltd., of New York and London, who already have about 600 shops in the United States, 200 in Canada, and 40 in England. The new store will take the place of the Caledonian Hotel, which for many years has been conducted by Mr. W. J. O’Rorke.

Extensive alterations are to be made and these alone will cost about £4,000,while the store will be opened for business in June or July next. It is interesting to note that the negotiations were carried out on behalf of Mr. O’Rorke by Mr. George Marriott, estate agent, St. James’ street, Nottingham, and who resides at Netherfield.

CALEDONIAN HOTEL : Retirement of Mr. W. J. O’Rorke upon premises being transformed. The transformation into a big bazaar of the well-known, Caledonian Temperance Hotel in Lister Gate, Nottingham, with its extensive premises in the rear, promise to introduce not only a novelty to the city, but a huge shopping resort.

When the premises are reconstructed, the main entrance to the great bazaar will be from Lister-gate, and the sale shop will be carried back to cover the site at present occupied by nine cottages ,warehouse, and big yard and stabling attached to what was the Old Black Lion public-house in Castlegate an area of about a quarter of an acre.

The whole of the ground floor, to which a gorgeous entrance has been designed, is to be occupied by the bazaar a sort of perpetual bargain sale , while the upper floor is to be used as a restaurant and cafe. Over 50 girls will be employed. It is anticipated that the new store will be completed and opened within about three months; but in the meantime, the hotel is to be kept open as long as the building operation permit, and it is understood that Messrs. Woolworth and Co. Ltd , an American firm, who are taking the premises on lease from Mr. W. J. O’Rorke, will find positions for all suitable members of the present staff.

It was as far back as 1870 that Mr. OʻRorke bought the Caledonian Hotel business and the freehold of the premises from the late Mr. Geo. Sharpe and the executors of the late Mr. Douglas McGarry. This gentlemen, who was said to be a direct descendant of the famous chieftain Rob Roy McGregor, established the hotel in 1844 in Castle gate.

Nottingham has been provided by yet another attraction in the shape of a handsome new store modelled on new and novel lines, and from to-day onwards visitors to the city will not only have another place of call when on shopping bent, but under the same roof will find rest and refreshment at very moderate cost at the daintily furnished cafe.

Situated in Lister gate–the old Caledonian Hotel having been reconstructed out of recognition–the new establishment will quickly leap into popularity.

It is the enterprise of Messrs. F. W. Woolworth Co., Ltd. the proprietors of similar stores which have proved wonderfully successful in other large towns.

No expense has been spared in fitting the premises up and the goods are arranged on stands in such away that customers can quickly find what they require and obtain instant service .In this connection a small army of Nottingham girls have been engaged, and a noteworthy feature of the bewildering variety of articles displayed for sale is that fully 90 per cent. are British made. “Support British Industry” indeed is the keynote of the store, and it would need columns merely to enumerate the manifold articles to be obtained for a modest 3d., whilst a feature of Messrs. Woolworth’s establishments is the fact that no article, whatever its value is sold than a higher price than 6d.

Umbrellas, pictures, electro-plated goods, haberdashery, stationery, ironmongery, mantles, burners, globes, vases, spirit levels, and a thousand and one other things of use and ornament, all are sold at 3d. and 6d.

Miners trapped by a flood at Wheal Reeth near Breage , Helston 1937

This is a verbatim report from The Western Morning News of January 26th 1937 of the rescue of 3 miners trapped by an inrush of water at Wheal Reeth near Breage.

One of the heroes in this report is named as Clifford Boaden , other reports spell his name as Bowden which is more likely to be correct .



Brave Comrade’s Swim Through Icy Waters

AFTER being imprisoned in a flooded mine for 51 hours, three
Cornish miners were yesterday rescued from Wheal Reeth Mine just when hope of success was waning.

Their rescue at that particular time was due to the plucky action of me of their colleagues, Clifford Boaden, (or Bowden) age 23. of Godolphin, who swam through flood-waters in the darkness to their aid.

Boaden on Saturday, when the sudden rush of water flooded the
mine, risked his own safety to warn two of his comrades and help them to safety .

Remarkable scenes of almost hysterical rejoicing marked the
appearance of the rescued men at the surface: men embraced
each other with tears streaming down their faces.

Boaden had little to say of his gallant act as he lay shivering, wrapped in blankets. he remarked, ” It was the first dip I have had for three years.” !


THE three entombed men were rescued at 2 pm yesterday (Monday).
Their rescue at that moment was unexpected  by the crowd standing round the shaft who had begun to despair, and the sudden appearance of the men almost unnerved them . Men cheered and kissed each other with tears streaming down their cheeks.

The rescued men were astonishingly fit after their experience , they were able to stand and joke with their rescuers and smoked cigarettes .

They were rescued at a time when the seemed little chance of their being reached in time.

During the day a terrible struggle had been put up by the mine officials to beat back the water but with such little success desperate measures were resorted to .

Drilling was attempted in the
level above into the stope above where the men were confined and a team of Naval divers were dispatched from Devonport Dockyard  in the hope they would be able to penetrate the barrier of water and at least take food to the men .


As soon as the men were brought out they were taken to the winding engine room where relatives had been waiting for them without sleep and almost without food since the moment the accident occurred.

The happy scenes of reunion that took place there greatly affected  those that witnessed them.
The rescue of these three men is the culmination of self sacrificing efforts of the mine officials and especially by the Manager , Mr Herbert Bennetts and of the heroism displayed by their fellow miners.

It will be remembered as one of the epics in the heroic history of Cornish miners.
The outstanding events of the day that ultimately led to the rescue of the three men was the pluck of Boaden who on the first day risked his life to warn his comrades.

Last evening he swum into the flooded mine level carrying an electric torch and a flask of hot coffee around his neck.
He was the first to reach the entombed miners and his actions encouraged them and others members of the rescue party that the three men were brought out almost immediately afterwards .

Boaden who shivered with cold beneath the blankets that covered him as he lay on a stretcher was applauded by those around him .

The fight to save these three men

David Sedgeman, aged 40 of Perranuthnoe
G. A.N. P. Williams, aged 21 of Wellington Terrace , Long Rock.
John Bates, aged 24 of Helston


When the water burst into the mine on Saturday , three other men , Semmens, Weeks and Boaden were rescued with great difficulty and none at that time believed that Sedgeman , Williams and Bates could have escaped that first onrush of water .

In the faint hope that they might have reached dry ground on a higher level the task of pumping out the flooded mine was begun .
On the Saturday night and Sunday morning  work went on without a sound from within and hope was almost abandoned.
Then suddenly a miner , who had penetrated the 250ft level heard sounds of tapping from a stope beneath their feet . Then it was known that at least one of the three men were alive  .

A further report from The Cornishman 28th Jan 1937


Attempt To Bore Way To Entombed Men.

This knowledge inspired the rescuers to almost superhuman efforts.

Men came flocking to the mine volunteering  for service and the mine officials led by the splendid example of Mr. Herbert Bennetts  stopped not for sleep nor for food until the men were safe.

From the moment he knew of the accident Mr Bennetts was at the mine , throughout Saturday night he laboured without food or sleep and again on Sunday morning and afternoon . Sunday evening brought the first realisation of the immensity of the problem that faced him.

The pump reduced the water level in the mine with heart breaking slowness and Mr Bennetts chafed at the delay knowing that every additional minute could cost a man his life.

With but a mouthful of food to sustain him and not more than a few minutes rest , Mr Bennetts ,  a tired man worn down not only by his physical exertions but by the anxiety he felt for the men spent most of the night at the mouth of the shaft throughout the
whole of Sunday night, Monday morning
Monday afternoon and evening.

In spite of the most unremitting
labour and the combined resources
of the mine and its personnel, the
water level in the mine sank by
only three inches an hour, and this
with 700 gallons of water a minute
being pumped out.
Sunday night was an agony for all
concerned. At one moment the pumps
appeared to gain, and hopes rose high
for an early release of the men.
Then there would be a set-back, when the
gain was very little.
With such changing hopes and fears
the relatives of the entombed men were
distraught and wandered round the
shaft almost unable to fight back their
tears of grief.

In these efforts he was assisted by Mr. King, H.M. inspector of mines, who was
at his side all the time. The same could be said of the mine officials and the

Even ordinary miners when they
finished a hard shift. instead of returning to their homes, flung themselves into
the drying-room to snatch a few minutes
warmth and sleep before going on again.


No less steadfast were the members
of Helston Ambulance Brigade. After
a four hours’ spell at the mine on
Saturday night, they were summoned
again on Sunday night, and remained there .

Divers Called In

By arrangements made by the
Admiral-Superintendent of the
Dockyard, Vice-Adml. A. L. Snagge, two divers from Devonport Dockyard and an officer,
and two men from the Royal Naval Barracks, with oxygen apparatus, were sent down to
Wheal Reeth Mine, where three men were imprisoned by flooding.
They arrived a few minutes before the men were rescued, so
their services were not required.


In spite of lashing rain and hail, a
crowd of villagers remained at the top
of the shaft until the early hours of
Monday morning.

At 6 a.m. a ray of hope appeared, and Dr. G. N. Taylor.
who had descended the mine on Saturday to treat the first survivors and who
had since spent hours at the shaft, was called from his home, and first aid
appliances were lowered into the mine.
It was confidently felt that the men
could be rescued in an hour, but the
time dragged on, and scarcely any impression seemed to be made upon
the flood.

There was another hour of hope
When it was found that between 7
a.m, and 9 a.m. water dropped by
eighteen inches. At this rate an
hour would free the men, but the
improvement was not maintained.

The morning wore on, and each
hour made the position of the entombed men more critical.

Almost in desperation it was felt that
food or at least encouragement might
be given them by drilling a hole
through the floor of the 220ft. level into
the stope where they were confined,
and diamond drills, with experts to
work them were hired from neighbouring mines. They arrived about lunch.
time, and the long task of setting the
drills and boring was taken in hand.

Additional pumps were brought, and
hours were spent during the afternoon
assembling the heavy machinery and
getting it into position to be lowered
into the shaft.


Would-Be Rescuers Wade Into Flood

During the day it had been possible
for men to get down to the bottom level
and to wade for increasing distances
along it. Difficulty was created by a
V-shaped dip in the level, which made a
deep sump between the stope where the
men were crouching and the main shaft.

At one time a miner managed to
wade to within 25ft of the deepest
part of this sump. If he could have
crossed the centre he could have
reached rising ground, and access to
the men would have been easy. But
as he was then up to his neck he was
forced to return.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the
rescuers could not be seen by the
prisoners because bends in the workings
hid them from view.

Attempts to wade
through were repeated time after time.
One man made six attempts, but was
unsuccessful. The up-going skips
brought a succession of men soaked to
the skin, who hurried quickly to the
dries to warm off the chill of the
cold mine water.

All this time communication could be
kept up with the imprisoned men by
tapping on the floor of the level above
them and by receiving taps in response,
but no conversation could be carried on;
neither could a morsel of food be conveyed to them.

By the end of yesterday afternoon the
stubborn resistance of the water began
to introduce a feeling or despair.

During the day Mr. Frank Simpson, of
Penzance, a director of the mine company visited the property, and his
presence gave rise to an inspiration. In
addition to being a director of Wheal
Reeth he is also largely concerned with
a marine salvage company at Penzance.

The possibility of using divers to go
to the assistance of the men occurred
to the mine authorities. Mr. Simpson
offered the services of his divers from
Newlyn, and they were sent for, but,
realizing that more portable equipment
than they possessed might be needed, an
urgent request was sent to the Commander-in Chief of Devonport for Navy

The request was instantly granted,
and a team of divers was hurried by
road to the mine.
Things at this moment were looking
very black indeed, and it was a gloomy
crowd that gathered about the mine.

The ambulance outside that eventually took the entombed miners home .

Waiting Crowd Cheer Welcome News.

Darkness fell, and then the un-
expected happened. Mr. Bennetts came
up in the skip, and with almost boyish
excitement called out, ” We have got to
them and they are safe and well “.
Instantly:there was a burst of

Mr. Bennetts’s first thought
was for the men’s relatives, who were
in the engine-house. Pushing his way
past others, he entered the apartment
and went straight up to the brother of
Mr. G. Williams and told him the good
news. Mr. Williams was quite unable
to speak, and people crowded round
him congratulating him.

Mr. Bennetts, though elated, was
cautious. “It will be some time before
we can get them out,” he said.
It was at this moment that the
twice-proved courage of Clifford
Boaden was revealed.

A further report from The Cornishman 28th Jan 1937

He was the first to swim into the dark tunnel
and connect with the prisoners.
Having assured them of their safety
he swam back to acquaint Mr.
Bennetts, and then returned to the
stope to give further encouragement
to his colleagues.

After that things moved rapidly.
There was a sudden drop in the level of
the water in the mine, and several men
pushed forward and reached the other
side of the barrier.

Thus encouraged , the three men came
out of their hiding place, and with little
assistance walked through the water to
the bottom of the shaft.
All this was unknown to those on the surface .

After a while Boaden
brought up, trembling with cold. He
was cheered as he was taken into the
engine-house and there stripped and
rubbed and laid on a stretcher under
blankets. Cigarettes given him, and friends
crowded round to congratulate him.


Then there was a surprise cheer.
The first of the imprisoned men came
to the surface. He was Williams.
The two brothers met
and embraced in the engine-house.
Their arms went round each other,
and they kissed each other on the
cheeks, and tears streamed from the
eyes of the one who had waited so
long at the pit-head.

But first aid was of the utmost im-
portance. The ambulance men rubbed
Williams with towels and saw that he
was comfortably placed on a stretcher.

In a minute or two the skip came up
again, and there was another burst of
cheering as David Sedgeman, the eldest
of the trio, was brought up. There was
no stagger in his walk and he looked
scornfully at the stretcher.
But the ambulance men took charge of him.
though he demanded a cigarette.

The third skip brought up John Bates,
of Helston. He showed very little
weakness and seemed little the worse
for his experience. He smiled cheer-
fully and waved to friends who
crowded round him.

Rescued Man’s Graphic Story Of Accident

A Western Morning News representative, kneeling by the side of Bates
as he lay on the stretcher was the first to hear what had befallen the three
entombed men.

“The first thing I knew about the
accident,” said Bates, ” was that some
body shouted “Look out, run for your

I turned to run, but almost immediately I was hit in the back by a
great volume of water.

” It nearly knocked me down, but
I grabbed the air pipe in the mine
and steadied myself. Then, follow.
ing the others, I climbed into the
stope hoping to get above the water

” We did feats of climbing then that we could never have done without being
driven by danger.

We got to a high
point and were glad to see that the
water had stopped rising. We sat there
and were greatly
encouraged by the tapping of the men
above us.

We nursed our lights to the last ebb.


Asked if he felt he had been confined
for ages, he replied that he thought
they were in for a much shorter time
than was actually the case. I did not
feel very hungry,” he said, and this misled me.

“When we were rescued I thought
it was about dinner-tíme on Sunday.
I was surprised when they told me
it was 7 o’clock on Monday evening ! “.

Boaden made very little of his
important exploit.
“It was the first dip i have had for three years,” he
said, as he shivered with cold.

There was only time for a hurried
chat, as the business of importance was
to get the men away for treatment, and
they were speedily removed to their

It was just as the rescue took place
that the Navy men arrived with their
diving outfit .

Mr. Bennetts was there
to greet them and apologized for having brought them on a fruitless errand,
but they were more than delighted that the affair had terminated so success-

It was revealed that several of the
miners had lucky escapes. Two men, E.
J. Harris and W. A. Stephens, of
Helston, obtained special leave on Satur-
day, otherwise they would have been
among those who were working in the
bottom level.

Another man said he felt a premoni.
tion of some accident, and gave up his
job. But he found he could not then get
the dole, and was forced to come back,
He was due back on Monday afternoon,
and, therefore, escaped the accident in
which he would otherwise have been in

A painting of Wheal Reeth by Harold Harvey probably 1934-1936

The following written by Herbert Thomas editor of The Cornishman Feb 4th 1937 giving the cause of the flood.


There were two outstanding features of the recent flooding of a portion of the Wheal Reeth Mine :

(1)The fortitude of the three men whose lives were in jeopardy 45 hours;

and (2) the resourcefulness, bravery and indefatigability of the rescuers and the executive of the mine.

There remains the reason why the water broke into the workings. The facts are simple, and as soon as stated will prove to anyone that they indicate the risks usually attached to the working of old mines. Some old plans of the adjoining properties exist. but those available to the management did not show anything but solid ground within many hundreds of feet from the point where the men had been drilling towards Wheal Boys shaft.

The pilot holes put out were in solid rock and did not yield water; although concealed and unknown water was actually only about six feet away on the side of the working point. When diamond drills are put down to find gold or tin, they may miss valuable deposits quite close to the hole bored, and the same applies to a 10 or 12 foot pilot hole used as a test for water.

The bursting of the thin barrier has proved that workings were driven at former times from Wheal Boys shaft, towards the level put out from Wheal Reeth, and recent torrential rains increased the weight of water pressing against the solid barrier.

This accident, luckily without the loss of life which has attended other “holing into water” mishaps in various Cornish mines, demonstrated that pilot holes do not take the place of complete plans; and mining Companies may have to incur the expense of installing pumping plant, wherever possible, to “fork” water within a given area. before breaking ground even at considerable distance and apparently well-away from any former levels, stopes or winzes.

Those who have read the reports of the Wheal Reeth accident must have been impressed with the rapid influx and continuous rising of water; the incessant work of the rescue parties, the daring of the rescuing miners, the number of electric pumps utilised to supplement the continuous use of the Cornish pump, and the summoning of divers from Devonport who responded promptly, but who would have released the men five hours sooner if they could have reached the mine earlier.

It was a thrilling story, with a happy ending, and now that the water is out it will be possible to explore the newly-drained adjoining workings, and to leam exactly how such dangers occur, and probably how they can be eliminated in similar groups of Cornish mines.”