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Grandfather was John's living link with the Sierra Madre's riches

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: December 09, 2010

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A MEXICAN historian who has written a book about the Cornish miners who revived the flooded gold and silver mines of the Sierra Madre from 1825 has presented a former West Briton reporter with a copy of it.

John Hosken, who worked for the paper from 1955 to the early 1960s, had written an important section of historian Aída Suárez's history of the Cornish diaspora to Mexico at her invitation, and she has given Hosken full credit for his part in her far more expansive work.

Hosken went on from the West Briton to become a BBC national correspondent and commentator, also producing and presenting many feature programmes. One, Cousin Jack – the international nickname for a Cornishman overseas – was broadcast on Radio 2. This venture led him to regions of the world where the Cornish miners had to go to find a living when hard rock mining in their native Cornwall contracted.


One far-flung place to which Hosken's travels took him to was the fabled Sierra Madre mountain range with its mines of silver and gold.

There, in the highest towns in Mexico, he met men who knew his Cornish grandfather, Josiah Perry Walters, who had emigrated from Gweek to become senior assayer at the Loreto Mill and responsible for the quality of gold and silver for mines in the richest areas of Hidalgo state. Captain Walters was also the British vice-consul there.

Having become something of an expert on the Mexico-Cornwall connection, which has led to a twinning between Pachuca and Camborne-Redruth, Mr Hosken now has generous recognition for his work by Ms Suárez in her latest history of the Cornish in Mexico.

He revisited Pachuca last month to meet old friends and it was then he was presented with a copy of the book to which he contributed, From Cornwall To Real del Monte: Everlasting Adventure, Ms Suárez's second book on the Cornish in Mexico, which has been published in Mexico in both Spanish and English.

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