Officially opened in 1975, our Cornish Heritage Museum is one of the best of its kind in the country. With a fine collection of rural farming history in one place, spend some time learning about how generations before us used to live and work in Cornwall. From daily laundry duties to baking bread, you’ll find out just how easy we have it nowadays!
Mr. Rex Davey started collecting during World War II when so much of our heritage was being sent to the scrap heap or used for the war effort. Such a loss and a strong feeling of nostalgia for the past inspired Rex Davey to preserve our rural history. The result is one of the best museums of its kind in the country.
The collection expanded so rapidly that it became necessary to find a special building and the museum was erected on the site of an old implement shed on the farm.
It was built using redundant local materials, the stones from local cottages over 300 years old, the huge roof timbers from Probus College and the lead and Delabole slates from the Great Western Railway whim house in Newquay built in 1865.
Part of the museum was opened in 1970 but such was the response that it was decided to open to the public alongside DairyLand and the new Rotary Parlour which had just been completed. The project was officially opened by the Chairman of the Cornwall County Council on August 2nd 1975.
Walk across into the museum through the CIDER ROUND which displays granite apple crushers driven by pony rounds c1800. Cider orchards used to cover many acres in the South-West and farm workers even received part of their wages in cider.
Farming in the 1800′s
The next area is dominated by a magnificent WOODEN HORSE ROUND (whim or gear) still in working order and one of the finest examples of its kind in the country. Horse rounds were the main source of power for essential jobs such as milling grain or threshing corn. Up to four horses, mules or oxen were harnessed to poles attached to the centre of the machine and trained to walk endlessly round in a circle.
The LAUNDRY shows a very old copper used for boiling clothes, a box sheet weight mangle (the top section was loaded with up to half a ton of stones) and an interesting collection of irons. Not an automatic washing machine in sight! Wash-day, usually Mondays, was a long and hard days work. The children were often kept back from school to help their mothers. How did they ever manage to dry the washing in the winter or on wet days?
The CLOAM OVEN, usually built into the cottage wall for insulation was where all the baking was done. Furze (gorse) and dried turves or peat were burnt until white hot and the ashes raked out. Heat was retained in the fire bricks, which cooked the cakes and bread. The oven on show came from the original Tresillian House. Mrs Davey (snr), who used such an oven, described how she baked the food in a particular order depending on the temperature of the oven. As she described, the traditional Cornish Saffron cake was last to be baked when the oven had cooled down.