Welcome to Cornwall - Kernow a’gas dynergh
Founded in 1974, this Branch was run for many years by collector Roy Worgan of Truro, and a band of dedicated fellow enthusiasts. Before becoming Branch President Mr. Worgan had been Branch Secretary. He was still actively collecting and exhibiting cards almost until his death at the age of 94 in 2018, and in fact was dubbed “Mr.Cornwall” by the Cartophilic Society magazine when his life membership certificate was presented at our Lincoln Convention in 2012. It was only then that many of our readers learned he was not Cornish at all, having been born in the Bristol area.
During his time the Branch met on the third Wednesday of the month, every month but July and August. Members were to arrive at 7pm so the meeting could start at half past seven. The venue was the Royal British Legion Clubhouse, sometimes called the British Legion HQ, Truro. Truro British Legion dates back to 1916, when it was founded by the then Mayor and his Council to provide a meeting place for men returned from the war through wounds and illness. It started out in various hired small rooms, and then purchased this building all of their own in St Mary’s Street.
The Truro City Arms appear on a woven silk by Godfrey Phillips, issued with their B.D.V. brand in about 1918. BDV actually stood for Boyd and Dibrell, Virginia, who were the American suppliers of the tobacco that Phillips used. Silks like this have always been very popular and add a lot of interest to a collection; in the 1920s and 30s they were made into cushions, smoking jackets and all manner of homewares which used to turn up at auction on a regular basis to groans from collectors who spotted “the one they needed to complete their set” firmly sewn in the middle!
During the 1980s the club used to display cards at lots of local events, A record appears in the April 1981 edition of Cartophilic Notes and News about a Trafalgar Day Exhibition in Truro to raise fund for the Sea Cadet Corps, for which they exhibited twenty two panes of cards concerning the history of the Royal Navy, including Lord Nelson. In the article there is an interesting fact which you might not know; according to a visitor to the exhibition the card of HMS Warspite in the large card size can be dated exactly to the period of the Spanish Civil War, because it has a red white and blue strip painted across B Turret, and this was done solely so as not to be bombed by the Spaniards during the conflict.
Later on, once Dave Wilesmith became Branch Secretary, the meetings were moved to the afternoons, and to every second Monday of the month.
I am not sure whether the “Cornwall Cartophilic Club” was ever an official title, but it is listed under that name in the “Card Times” magazine of February 2000. Some clubs did have local names. At that time they were still meeting at the British Legion HQ in Truro. The dates given here for meetings are January 19th, February 16th, and March 15th 2000, and they are the third Wednesday in the month.
In 2017 they lost their much loved venue and had to move their meetings to the Treviscoe Institute and Community Centre, in St Austell.
A very topical card is from Churchman`s "Treasure Trove" - its card number 6. This celebrates The Trewhiddle Hoard, discovered on the 8th of November 1774 in this very area - actually only an 18 minute drive away from Treviscoe. What happened was that miners looking for tin instead found treasure trove, over 100 Anglo-Saxon coins plus this chalice, buckles, brooches, and lots of other gold and silver artefacts which had been hidden for protection, presumably against the Vikings, in about 870 A.D. It says on the back of the card that both the chalice and the scourge or whip shown on this card may be viewed in the British Museum in London. They are still there to this day
Cornwall Branch was always slightly isolated due to its great distance from most of our other Branches, especially after the West Country Branch closed in 2013. And despite advertising through various sources in the area, a lack of new members resulted in the Branch finally deciding to close. Their final meeting took place in April 2018, just a few months after Roy Worgan’s death, when the members met for an informal lunch and were treated to an interesting display of local cards, souvenirs and photographs of past Branch Happenings. However, we were pleased to learn that despite the demise of the official Branch, its members will continue to keep in touch informally, and also to collect cards.