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Heritage is not English; it's ours

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 29, 2011

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I HAVE always believed this part of Cornwall could make more of its amazing industrial heritage, and earlier this summer I organised a mini- conference to discuss how we can maximise the benefits from Cornwall's World Heritage Site status.

Camborne, Redruth and Hayle together make up the heart of the county's industrial heritage. There are also around eight million people around the world who are part of the Cornish diaspora, with ancestors who can be traced back to Cornwall.

Some good work is already under way. Last week I visited the Heartlands project at Pool, which is almost complete and could create a strong central attraction to pull more people into the area. As well as bringing the engine house at Robinson's Shaft back into action, the project is also developing what promises to be an amazing landscaping project. Around the engine house will be a reflecting pool and a bridge, and beyond the bridge gardens with plants from New Zealand, Australia, South America and South Africa to symbolise the route thousands of Cornish emigrants took.

As I wrote last week, there is also a lot of potential in Hayle, which played a central role in Cornwall's industrial past. There are plans to restore the harbour to its former glory and to return home the famous Goonvean engine manufactured at Hayle Foundry. There would even be working sluice gates to reduce the need for dredging, and the plans have gained the unanimous backing of Hayle Town Council.

However, in a bizarre twist, the campaign against restoring Hayle harbour is being led by none other than English Heritage, the organisation paid for by you and me and supposed to promote and celebrate heritage in Britain. It is one of those quangos very nearly shut down by the Government last year but, instead, it was decided to place it on a review list and to streamline its operations.

In recent years there has been a growing feeling that Cornwall should have its own heritage organisation, taking over from English Heritage. After all, how can a quango whose nearest office is in Bristol possibly understand issues in Hayle? If you look at its website, there is not one single reference to Camborne, Redruth or Hayle, even though our towns are at the heart of a World Heritage Site. Instead, what you get are pictures of pretty castles in the Home Counties. Cornwall's industrial heritage should be an attraction to the whole world, but it belongs to Cornwall, and Cornwall alone. It is time we started to make our own decisions about how best to bring it to life.

George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@ parliament.uk or at 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8JD, or by telephone on 020-7219 7032.

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  • Taxman100  |  October 14 2011, 10:41AM

    Restart. You are absolutely correct; it all self proclaiming opinion, and is therefore not news. What is not opinion is that Cornwall's industrial heritage is nothing to write home about, as the Cornish mining and china clay industries severely damaged the County's landscape, environment and delicate ecosystems; leaving behind huge swathes of the County barren and in some areas coupled with a totally alien landscape. Is that what they wish to celebrate using spin, spin and more spin?!

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  • Big_Ger  |  October 14 2011, 8:52AM

    After all, how can a quango whose nearest office is in Bristol possibly understand issues in Hayle? How can a politician based in Westminster understand the needs of Redruth and Camborne? Funny how George is banging the drum for the heartlands project, with it being funded by Europe, what with him being a strong anti -European and all. Oh, and funded by the national lottery etc. There is of course the involvement of the "Homes and Communities Agency", and other one of those damn upcountry agencies. Maybe all funding for it should come from Cornwall, for him to be consistent.

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  • josdave  |  October 13 2011, 7:10PM

    What next - Devon Heritage? - Somerset Heritage? - etc. What a lot of hot air over nothing.

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  • Restart  |  October 13 2011, 5:37PM

    This isn't news. It's opinion. Take this out of the news section, & put it in the forum where nobody has to suffer it. Thanks.

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  • JohnFromFowey  |  October 13 2011, 4:44PM

    Thank goodness that English Heritage exists to protect Hayle's heritage from George Eustice's pals at ING. George must be worried that he is not going to get his own way (perhaps there's an ING directorship in it for him?) so he keeps publicly attacking English Heritage using his press contacts. He must be stupid if he thinks people can't see through his childish games. If I was him, I'd be concerned about how many of English Heritage's 1 million plus members live in his constituency as his majority was only 66 at the last election. sihope is quite correct to state that every heritage organisation consulted on the ING plans is opposed to it. Incidently, English Heritage employees don't all work in some remote office in Bristol, they have people based in all parts of the region, including, unbelievably, Cornwall. We don't want that fact becoming common knowledge though George do we? Don't let the truth get in the way of your self-interest George.

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  • JohnFromFowey  |  October 13 2011, 4:42PM

    Thank goodness that English Heritage exists to protect Hayle's heritage from George Eustice's pals at ING. George must be worried that he is not going to get his own way (perhaps there's an ING directorship in it for him?) so he keeps publicly attacking English Heritage using his press contacts. He must be stupid if he thinks people can't see through his childish games. If I was him, I'd be concerned about how many of English Heritage's 1 million plus members live in his constituency as his majority was only 66 at the last election. sihope is quite correct to state that every heritage organisation consulted on the ING plans is opposed to it. Incidently, English Heritage employees don't all work in some remote office in Bristol, they have people based in all parts of the region, including, unbelievably, Cornwall. We don't want that fact becoming common knowledge though George do we? Don't let the truth get in the way of your self-interest George.

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  • sihope  |  October 04 2011, 8:16PM

    To follow Mr George's logic through I await his plans for a Cornish Parliament and look forward to learning what he's done to raise the issue in the Commons. As for Hayle, the plans hardly "restore the harbour to its former glory ". ING, the Dutch bank that own the site refuse to do it up, as they're required to by the Hayle Harbour Act and are trying to get planning consent for a supermarket on it so they can sell the site on as a global fire sale of "toxic assets". And if Mr George's been suckered by the PR division of an international bank, then good luck fighting for our interests in parliament. It's opposed not only by English Heritage, but ICOMOS (part of UNESCO which gives the area its heritage status in the first place), the council's heritage officers (local enough for ya?) and CABE. Full house! The locals actually want an ASDA up one end of town and a Morrissons at the other, with the Morrissons going in first to balance the town. Looks like democracy triumphs again.

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  • JP2609  |  October 04 2011, 1:54PM

    Sounds like George Eustice should be joining Mebyon Kernow!!!

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  • janknuckey  |  October 02 2011, 12:49PM

    As a Cornishman, I find it offensive that so many of our historic Cornish monuments are administered by a quango calling itself *English* Heritage, which insensitively flaunts its red-and-white logo and hoists its red-and-white flag (based on that of England), at Cornish sites. *English* Heritage would do well to follow the example of the National Trust (full marks to them), who fly the flag of St Piran at their Cornish properties.

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  • janknuckey  |  October 02 2011, 12:46PM

    As a Cornishman, I find it offensive that so many of our historic Cornish monuments are administered by a quango calling itself *English* Heritage, which insensitively flaunts its red-and-white logo and hoists its red-and-white flag (based on that of England), at Cornish sites. *English* Heritage would do well to follow the example of the National Trust (full marks to them), who fly the flag of St Piran at their Cornish properties.

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