From: Cornwall Museums
Memories of Jack Clemo 20 Years On
At Wheal Martyn
The 25th July 2014 marks twenty years since the passing of the renowned local poet and writer, Jack Clemo. As a fitting tribute, Wheal Martyn are marking the occasion in the museum to celebrate the work and achievements of the literary prize winning Bard and Poet of the Clay.
Born in 1916 in the Parish of St Stephens, Clemo was the son of a clay-kiln worker. At just 13 years old, Clemo’s eyesight deteriorated significantly, eventually leaving him blind, and by the age of 20 he had also lost his hearing. His work was considered to be visionary and inspired by the rugged Cornish landscape of the clay country that he grew up in.
Jack died in 1994 and in 2001 a memorial room was opened at Trethosa Chapel, where Jack had been christened and married. Sadly the chapel was closed in 2013 but the collection of Jack’s items was acquired by Wheal Martyn, to add to the collection of his archive which is already held by the museum.
To mark the 20 year anniversary of Clemo’s death, Wheal Martyn are putting his desk on display. It was at this small desk that Jack Clemo sat to write many of the books for which he is now well known. Situated in his sitting room in his small cottage at Goonamarris, within the shadow of the Bloomdale clay tip, Jack would have spent many hours here with his typewriter.
Jo Moore, Curator at Wheal Martyn, is delighted to be displaying the desk, but her work is far from over – she quickly adds that “the desk is in a very fragile condition and needs to be carefully conserved. We have had an estimate for the work needed of approximately £300 and now need to raise funds for it to be undertaken. Please help us to achieve this with any contributions that you can make going directly towards the cost of this work”.
The Clemo exhibition will be on display from the start of July at Wheal Martyn. The museum is open from10.00am to 5.00pm daily.
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