Furzupland, Kenwyn, Cornwall. Early 1900s
A young girl with a skipping rope is at the top of the steps, a lady holding a card or paper is on the right and a gentleman in a trilby is on the left. A gentleman with a white beard and wearing a cap can be seen looking out of a first floor window. The local story of this house is that it was built for an eccentric rich man. At the time when it was built, a well used thoroughfare ran beside the house and the man thought that someone might break in during the night and steal his money. So he had it built like a castle without stairs. At night he would climb up to the first floor using a rope ladder, pull the ladder up and sleep with a blunderbuss gun beside him. On the 1871 census an Edward George Spry, aged 36, lived there. He is described as a Bachelor of Arts, Landowner, Fund Holder and owner of stock in railways, mines etc. He was also part owner of the Red Lion Hotel in Boscawen Street, Truro. His housekeeper was Mary Verran. He and his housekeeper still lived there in 1881. Mr Spry died in 1887 leaving £11,000 (about £1 million today). The house is listed on the 1891 and 1901 censuses but with no occupants. Albert Sidney Labouchere-Sparling lived in the house between 1903 and 1906. In 1911, Josiah Clark (formerly of Tregavethan) lived there with his wife Olivia. It is possible that the people in the photograph are members of the Clark family. Furzuplands was home to the Brown family in the late 1950s. The property was later bought by architect Paul Bunyan and his wife, Laurence, who completely refurbished the interior. Photographer: Probably Arthur Philp.
© From the collection of the RIC
The Ringers of Launcells Tower, Frederick Smallfield (1829-1915)
Oil on canvas, English School. This painting was inspired by the poem 'The Ringers of Launcells Tower' by Rev. R.S. Hawker of Morwenstow in his book 'Cornish Ballads and Other Poems'. In this poem, the bell ringers who rang at the accession of George III in 1760 were still alive to ring at his golden jubilee in 1810. The church of Launcells is midway between Stratton and Bude. The picture was painted 77 years after George III's golden jubilee and so is a total reconstruction. There is, therefore, no possibility that the figures are actual portraits of the 1810 ringers. Nevertheless, Smallfield had visited the church tower before he started the painting but made certain alterations to the layout for artistic reasons. He also studied the bell ringers at his local church in Willesden, north west London, to get the action and the angle of the ropes correct. A watercolour version of this painting was exhibited at the Watercolour Society in 1878. Frederick Smallfield studied at the Royal Academy and subsequently exhibited there several times. He lived for most of his life in London and at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire.
Joseph Tangye (1826-1902) on a velocipede, probably Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Around 1870
The velocipede in the photograph is very similar to the one in the collection of the Royal Cornwall Museum (TRURI : 1937.34). Tangye's Cornwall Works in Birmingham built large numbers of velocipedes, paying a royalty to the French Velocipede Company in order to make the bicycles. The five sons of Joseph Tangye senior, an Illogan miner, commenced their engineering and manufacturing business together in Birmingham in 1856. James (1825-1912), the eldest, was very skilled with the lathe; Joseph (1826-1902) was the creative engineer; Richard (1833-1906) dealt with public relations and sales; George (1835-1920) was the businessman; while Edward (1832-1909), a Quaker, soon left to found his own business. Velocipedes, also known as 'Boneshakers', due to their iron 'tyres', were one of the many things that were manufactured at the Cornwall Works. The business also provided the hydraulic rams required to launch the Great Eastern, Brunel's ill-fated steel ship in 1857-1858, and to raise Cleopatra's Needle to its present position on the London Embankment in 1878. The first direct-acting steam pumps in Europe were made at the Cornwall Works in 1867 and the firm produced James Tangye's horizontal steam engines from 1869. By 1876 the firm employed 1300 workers. The Tangyes were also philanthropists and from 1880 were founders and major benefactors of the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art. Photographer: Edward Hill, 39, Darlington Street, Wolverhampton.
© From the collection of the RIC