World Heritage Day 2018: “Heritage for Generations”

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The 18th of April 2018 will mark the annual World Heritage day (International Day for Monuments and Sites), established by ICOMOS and approved by the UNESCO General Conference in 1983. The aim of World Heritage Day is to promote awareness of the diversity of the cultural heritage of humanity, the vulnerability of Sites, and the efforts required to protect and conserve these.

This year the theme will be “Heritage for Generations”. ICOMOS will be looking to celebrate

  • “Inter-generational transfer of knowledge: engagement across the global community to emphasize the importance of knowledge exchange between generations to promote the ICOMOS ethos for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage;
  • Youth leadership: Emerging Professionals in each country will take the lead in organising events that focus on reaching the younger members of the wider public community by showcasing the creative use of social media.”

This particular theme merges perfectly with the work the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site team are currently undertaking in relation to the Cornish Diaspora. The Cornish Diaspora being the migration of Cornish miners across the United Kingdom and the world, taking Cornish culture, skills and technology with them. There is a wealth of information on the Cornish Diaspora abroad in places such as the USA, Mexico, Australia, and South Africa, however there is less known on the Cornish migration within the UK; something the Cornish and West Devon World Heritage Site team are looking to change.

The Cornish and West Devon World Heritage Site has commissioned genealogist Stephen Colwill to research the movement of Cornish Miners and their families. We are hoping to expand not only the knowledge available on those who travelled throughout the UK and beyond, but also enable people to discover their possible Cornish Mining ancestry. Enabling both current and future generations to learn about and embrace their Cornish Mining Heritage.

Mineworkers from Cornwall are known to have been active in areas such as the Pennines from the early nineteenth century and Cornish colliery workers are known to have been in the hundreds in Northumberland and County Durham by the 1850s.

In Swansea, the Vivian’s of Cornwall constructed new residential districts for their many workers in the expanding copper smelting works. Elsewhere in Wales at Penrhyn Du Mine, on the St Tudwall Peninsula, once stood a small terrace of cottages known as ‘Cornish Row’ which accommodated workers at the Assheton lead mines. A lone engine house now marks their efforts. The Cornish were to make their mark at some of the most important lead mines across Wales - in Carmarthenshire, Caernarvonshire and Flintshire.

The Magpie Mine, near Sheldon in Derbyshire, similarly bears the mark of Cornish influence through its imposing engine house, surrounding shaft-head features and the Mine Count House - the latter which accommodated Captain Paul, the Cornish mine manager. These are just a few examples on which we hope to expand on in the upcoming months.

You can read more about our Cornish Diaspora research so far in the below articles:

World Heritage day is a perfect day to look into your Cornish Heritage and whether you find a miner in your family or not you can count on being welcomed into the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage site! See the many attractions you can visit HERE.

To find out more about World Heritage Day 2018, please see:

Image courtesy of Stephen Colwill