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Fascinating insight into Bude’s history by the Old Cornwall Society

Posted on Apr 13, 2017 by in Article | 0 comments

Sent by Helen Hocking of the Old Cornwall Society (so glad to see people writing for the site):

Once again, The Parkhouse Centre was a picture of community warmth and friendship, as the Bude, Stratton &  District branch of the ‘Old Cornwall Society’ gathered for their monthly talk.

The events schedule is always full of  ‘Speakers’ from near and far, each with a subject matter closely connected to all things Cornish. This night was the turn of Society Chairman, Alan McIntosh. He did a sterling job, entertaining and informing a room of more than 70 members and guests all there to learn about, ‘The Edwards Family of Bude.’

With help from Malcolm Wright, (Vice-Chairman) who operated the computer alongside him,  Alan also shared a selection of quality photos taken from society archives.

Anyone associated with Bude for a number of years will be familiar with the name of Sam Edwards Garage, having used their services on many occasions. Perhaps noting, in doing so, that drivers were not, as at today’s fuel pumps, expected to serve themselves! Yet, there inevitably comes a time when no one living remembers yesteryear first hand; this is where the beauty of a body like the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies can shine, as they bring to our lives something of our history disappeared forever.

Starting with William Edwards, born 1760, in Minster Parish, Alan’s lively talk spanned the centuries up to modernity and included several historical references to Bude business, property and people. This was greatly appreciated by an audience able to recollect, or recognise a glimpse or two, of the town then, as clearly as they know and love it today.

The memory shared by President, Owen May, of his Saturday morning job at said garage, when it was situated where the Co-op supermarket now resides, was one such example. Following the footsteps of William Edwards’ son who fought in the Napoleonic wars, Alan’s research told how John Edwards would walk to town, from St.Genny’s, to meet his sweetheart, Ann Pearce, daughter of a Waggoner from Launcells Parish. Married in 1857 they moved into Bude whereby John took a job, as Yard-man for Hocking and Hooper merchants, a company that once stood where the Strand Hotel no longer does, where famous street artist ‘Banksy’ is rumoured to have visited.

Back before the breakwater was ever made, large baulks of timber were imported and unloaded on Summerleaze beach. From there, it was towed up the River Neet, beneath Nanny Moore’s bridge, as it was then, to be cut to boards. Archived slides of times long ago, picture the many fisherman’s boats moored up yards away from the steps of The Carriers Inn. John and Ann Edwards moved to 2, Lime Kiln cottages in about 1870,  he got a different job as a Lime Burner and this came with accommodation. Hard and exhausting work, burnt limestone was highly sought after, by the building industry. However, due to cheaper transport costs, the lime trade declined.

In 1890, John and his family moved to 2, Morwenna Terrace starting up a Posting House that would sort and deliver mail to the whole district. Today the site of Arthur W Bryant Funeral Service the Post House stabled the many horses required to deliver and relay the mail and in light of this, contained its own forge. With the arrival of the railway, Bude grew swiftly, becoming a popular destination for tourists and incomers alike. The Post House was soon hiring out their horses, with or without traps, to those wanting to ‘see the sights’ or just get to and from the Station. Mr. and Mrs. J Edwards had 13 children and through them, Alan’s lecture continuously weaved its way into a by-gone era of their lives lived, shaping the story of Bude and the societal changes these folks all bore witness to.

If you have a love of Cornwall, her people and the truth of their history, enjoy nostalgia, archaeology, good journalism and ancestry, or feel sure you could help Society Recorder, Michael Heard to put names to faces on a photograph of the U.D.C in 1958, then please feel welcome to join them at The Parkhouse Centre, Porth Bud, at 7.30pm on the last Monday of every month. For further info. contact; Hon. Secretary,  All the Best ~ Onan hag Oll.

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