Bringing Cornish history to life...

ONE OF the West Country’s favourite stars has been enlisted to teach children about history’s real-life heroes.

Actor, comedian and writer Edward Rowe – better known as Kernow King – has been enthralling school children with tales of the past with the help of Cornwall Council’s Archives and Cornish Studies Service.

Using copies of original documents held in Cornwall Council’s extensive archives, the children explored research and heard about the lives of a range of amazing women and men connected to Cornwall, including Emily Hobhouse, John Couch, Adams and Henry Trengrouse.

Kernow King and colleague Jenny Beare brought the stories to life at nine schools with a play in which they portrayed two archivists who bring ‘the wrong box’ into school and have to improvise their history workshop instead.

Chloe Phillips, learning lead for the Archives and Cornish Studies Service, said: “The play and workshop were a great way of us reaching nearly 700 children across Cornwall, and built on our existing outreach programme.

“Children were inspired and amused by the play, and then fascinated by seeing copies of the real documents and understanding how we find out about Cornish heroes past and present, and how they too could become a Cornish hero and be part of our archive in future.”

As part of the tour, the team visited Roche Community Primary School which marked the first return for Edward Rowe to the school in several decades.

He said: “It was a joy for us to perform to schools all around Cornwall and it was a special honour to go back to my primary school in Roche for the penultimate show.

“My brother and sister, mum and her sister, and nan and all her sisters went to Roche school, so to return after many years since leaving was really wonderful.

“All the children we performed to were enthralled. They laughed and cheered as they realised some of the world’s greatest women and men came from their home villages and towns.”

Head teacher Jeremy Walden said: “It was a very, very enjoyable performance. What a fantastic way to bring history to life and make it relevant for our children.

The tour was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Kresen Kernow project to complete Cornwall’s new archive centre in Redruth in 2019.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.