'Trenanced' - Bringing Newquay's best known cottages back to life

Ref: C3527902

Trenance Cottages are part of Newquay's less well-known heritage and one of the oldest listed buildings in the town. They originated as a malthouse on a marsh, built on the site of a medieval dovecote. The course will explore how the lives of the cottage's residents were researched and then matched with suitable objects to recreate the essence of life in Trenance Valley just after the First World War.

Course aim

This course aims to encourage in-depth people and place-based research, rather than just how to create a generic display and provides research tips for students on how to recreate a sense of place.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

The history of Trenance Cottages and its residents cover many key themes in Cornish history and the 1871 to 1911 censuses form a starting point. Emigration features strongly with some residents working in Australia, America and South Africa for a time. One of the original residents was a ship's carpenter who worked in the Gannel shipyards until they closed in the late 1870s, while his neighbour in the early 1870s operated a blacksmiths' forge here. The families who succeeded them - Wiltons and the Oulds - stayed in the cottages until they were condemned as slums in the 1960s. The cottage residents included Anglicans, Methodists and Congregationalists. Longevity is another theme as Elizabeth Ould lived to be 101. Room displays recreate the cottages around the time of Mrs Ould's 100th birthday in 1926. Folklore, smuggling, the Great Exhibition of 1851 and amateur dramatics will be among the other themes touched on.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Locate and use the rich variety of written and visual sources available. 2. Use old photographs and oral history, not other museum displays, to research and reconstruct historic interiors. 3. Make the most of car boot sales, charity shops and targetted local giving when on a limited budget. 4. Discuss the extent of emigration from Cornwall using Trenance specific examples

How will I know I'm making progress?

Group discussion and informal conversation in breaks.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Notebook and pencil/pen. There is a nice cafe at the cottages for lunch.

Reading and information sources

Paul Carter & Kate Thompson, Sources for Local Historians (Phillimore, 2005) and other local history books. S.Teague Husband, Old Newquay (1923, rep. 1985).

What could the course lead to?

Heritage and Museum Studies Courses. Other WEA courses.

Download full course outline

'Trenanced' - Bringing Newquay's best known cottages back to life Course Outline


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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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