Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Keskerdh Kernow 500

We've been sent a copy of this wonderful book about Cornwall - a lot of it is about the March to Blackheath - isn't there a plaque up on the wall of Greenwich park? At the end of the March the marchers made the Blackheath Declaration - which was basically about Cornish rights (they wanted a Development Agency and stuff like that). Anyway its a great book with lots of interesting stuff in it - happy to lend it out but it would be important to get it back.

Now - why were we sent it? One of the most important people in the great history of Cornish industry, mining technology and engineering was Richard Trevithick. He pioneered much steam engine technology and designed one of the earliest Locomotives (there are great accounts of his first steaming through the streets of Cambourne). He has very tangible links with south east London, since he ended his days working for J.&E.Hall and is buried in Dartford.

One of the most important things which happened to his work on steam engine design - and something which can claim to be a milestone in steam engine technology - was the explosion of a boiler in one of his new high pressure engines in 1803. Where did this take place?? Why, on the Greenwich Peninsula just down near the river from the Pilot.

I wrote this up, to a somewhat cool reception, for the bi-centenary of this event - and I had also found the inquest report for one of the victims who died in St.Thomas's hospital. Anyway, two weeks ago I met a Cornish industrial historian and sent him a copy of my article. He has replied with multiple thanks - very very keen to know where it was that it happened and - as a thank you has sent this wonderful book.

So - who remembers the march?

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