Archive for the meet the geevor staff Category

Clint goes underground

Posted in Geevor, meet the geevor staff on November 3, 2010 by geevor

Hi, Jo B here. I am very envious as last week Clint (my colleague in the learning department) had the opportunity to go down Victory Shaft at Geevor and explore Deep Adit (also known as Third Level) . He came back with some fantastic photos and video (despite his camera falling in the water) as well as tales of adventures climbing down ladders and wading through underground streams. It sounded like the kind of adventure I hate to miss. The photos are amazing; go to Geevor’s facebook page to see for yourself.

My First Post

Posted in meet the geevor staff on May 17, 2010 by geevor

Hello, my name is Clint and I am Geevor’s new Learning Development Officer.  I have been in post since February and I have already learned so much about the rich history that surrounds us all in this part of the world!

I grew up in St Just and I can remember some of the events and people recorded in the museum and the atmospheric ‘Dry’.  I have discovered that my grandfather and great-grandfather both worked at Geevor and Levant, in part, due to this I have developed a deep personal interest in the mining history of the area.

One thing I have noticed is that the comraderie that existed at Geevor lives on in the staff that work here now.  Never before have I felt so welcomed by people who are willing to share stories and a common drive.

A lot to look forward to…

Posted in meet the geevor staff on February 3, 2010 by geevor

Geevor’s Curator Jo W blogs on the year ahead….
January has been something of a strange month. Early on we heard that Claire was leaving us for pastures new which kind of got the year off to a sad start. Not to mention a bit of a panic! Less so for me of course, than Rebecca. But there’s a lot to look forward to! So what do we have on our plates for 2010?
Plans for our Volunteer Day in March are coming along and we hope to recruit more volunteers to help with events and activities. We are currently working with Newlyn Art Gallery on project. The mine has such potential on the modern art front; it is nice to be making a start on this. Exhibition wise, the Wildlife on the Edge exhibition will now run until the autumn when we will do an exciting new display featuring some of our underground maps and plans, hopefully in conjunction with the St Just Mines Research Group. We are trialing a series of art workshops in the spring with artist Diane Spiers, starting on Mother’s Day with feltmaking!
Behind the scenes, we are improving the storage of our valuable oral history archive – to conservation standards and continuing work on cataloguing our archive. We hope to set up a new small object store towards the end of the year, to better protect our objects.
The big all consuming project right now is Accreditation and we are all beavering away to reach a very tight end of March deadline. Finger’s crossed!!!

Feltmaking workshop at Geevor, Mothers Day March 14th.

Feltmaking Course at Geevor. Sunday March 14th – Mother’s Day!!

Not quite Blackpool this year!

Posted in meet the geevor staff on December 22, 2009 by geevor

Geevor’s Curator, Jo W, blogs on Christmas at Geevor…..

The photo below is probably from the early 1980s – a time when Geevor was profiting nicely from its tin production and well able to afford such an onstentatious Christmas ‘Tree’. Surely Santa had no problems finding Pendeen that year?. Well, given that an average month’s leccy bill for the mine in early 1980s ran into the hundred thousands, I don’t suppose a few extra fairy lights would make much of a difference. However, in 2009 trying to recreate this spectable ain’t so simple. Still got the ‘tree’, check, but now we need a scaffolding tower, and more than the two available plug sockets…. Bah humbug!. What we were able to achieve was something lovely and sparkly without either of the above, but it’s not quite Blackpool…..

Gendall Design helped out again this year with a generous donation towards ourChristmas fund and we have two lovely Christmas Trees, better lights, a grotto worthy of Santa and all the reindeer (ironically in the old stables, so we’re expecting some guests around the 25th!), an exciting Christmas craft activity and a slight hint of Christmas cheer amongst the staff to say thank you for. Our Christmas Day yesterday was super – lots of glitter and santa and presents and fun.

Last week we held our annual Volunteers Christmas Gathering – what a success it was, with a record turn out of volunteers. It was cleverly timed to allow our archive volunteers an opportunity to defrost after their stint in the archive room (over a mince pie or two). I was running a successful underground ‘tot of Brandy in your coffee?’ operation which probably explained a few wobbles and red faces. Not for me though as I had to do a mammoth session on our Arts Council grant immediately afterwards, for which one needs a clear head and a lot of concentration. Got there in the end though. How happy was I and rewarded myself with a mince pie smuggled out of the Volunteers do…!!

Nick T has been busy with enquiries – everyone seems to have been researching their family history this year and we have been inundated with requests. My plan is to get most of the information in these records onto a database soon so we can search on surnames and jobs etc at the click of a mouse – how much quicker that would make our job!

I’m beginning to realise that two part-time jobs do not equally a whole, but a whole plus a few evenings thrown in. I was up till well past midnight last week working on Geevor’s events and exhibitions programme for next year – it rocks though and we’re looking forward to launching ourselves into it in January with our ‘walk off those Christmas calories’ walk around site.

My other half time job is equally demanding and I am trying to make it to the end of today for a break over Christmas – hurrah! Happy Winter Solstice. See you in January!

Geevor in the early 1980s.

It’s blowing a hooley!!

Posted in 1, meet the geevor staff on November 23, 2009 by geevor

Hello, Rebecca here.

Yes, it’s winter time again and the winds and gales are lashing the north coast of Cornwall, being the first to take the brunt of it! Thankfully the Headgear is still standing, but making an amazing whistling sound when you stand under it due to the wind! General visitor numbers have thinned out now, as the holiday season has ended, but it gives us valuable maintenance time, to prepare for next years season. Last week though we had several groups in, battling through the wind. Me & Claire had to utilise our ‘Hands on Hats!’ signal to quieten the students as we couldn’t shout over them and the wind – not all day anyway, we’d end up with no voice at all! Our new undercover handdrilling area works a treat though and is really sheltered – so thanks to David& Bill and Barry & Andrew for getting that ready for us 🙂

Only one school group left to do this term now, but that’s fine as we’ve got our Christmas event to prepare for, on Mon 21st Dec, and we’re having a new grotto this year. Previously Santa’s used our underground grotto, but we thought we’d be kind, as he such a busy fellow in December, and so we’re putting him in a more sheltered spot!

Last week I went through the struggle of trying to buy some carbide for our Light & Dark workshop, but it’s a hard chemical to get from a distance – something to do with the fact that it gives of a flammable gas when it’s wet! But that’s why it was used in the miners’ carbide lamps. Eventually I found a caving suppliers who’s willing to post some, though trying to find a dry storage spot in an old tin mine may be the next challenge…

Plus Claire and I had a little visitor in the office last week – one who likes to nibble on sweets and leave deposits around the room…No, it’s not a child, but something with a tail! To be expected in this place I suppose! The things we put up with to work in such a cool place!

Definetly not chardonnay….

Posted in meet the geevor staff on November 2, 2009 by geevor

Geevor’s Curator Jo W, blogs on the dramas of opening an exhibition….

October was probably one of my busiest months this year. The excitement and hard work revolved around opening our new exhibition in the Hard Rock Gallery; Wildlife on the edge.

Putting this exhibition together was relatively straightforward in exhibition terms. David and Steve were a joy to work with and David even offered to help hang the works. His maths skills (both speed and accuracy) meant that he had the role of doing the complicated calculations to discover how many inches apart the pictures had to be! Excellent. Alas it transpired that some of Steve’s images were upside down (you be the judge!) so I had to rehang a whole wall with Pat’s help at the last minute and with no David to add up. So of course I got it wrong on the first attempt. The difference between a five and a four inch gap lost us about 3 hours of hanging time. However, both Pat and I are now power tool addicts! Captions came together smoothly and invites were sent out without drama.

Rebecca and I were taught how to install vinyl to the walls in order for us to keep costs down in the future. This was a bit nerve-wracking (I’m not that good with straight lines) but worth it! Claire and Rebecca worked lots of learning magic and the fox tracks, especially, bring the whole exhibition together. The sounds are a touch of genius and the soon-to -be smells (they sent the wrong ones!) will hopefully add another sensory element to the exhibition. I must mention that Nick T now seems to be spray mount king of West Penwith!

We also hung the winners and runners up of our amateur photography competition. It was great to meet some of the folks involved at the private view. This time the private view was held on a Friday afternoon and although it is still faffy, we now have this off to a fine art. Now added to our resources is a lovely new white linen table cloth. Hurrah. But never try to iron it whilst on top of a plastic table!! Without Claire Ross, Claire Scott did an equally visually stunning collection of nibbles. I had to sort out drinks. Being a non wine drinker, this can easily have disastrous consequences. So armed with my sister’s advice ‘don’t buy chardonnay’ and a keen eye for an interesting label design as well as a 3 for 2 bargain I think I did ok! Jess and Bernie rocked up and did their PR bit wonderfully. Well done all and thanks.

So now we can breathe a little. Or not, as the case may be. I am now 4 weeks into my secondment which means that I only spend 2 and a half days at Geevor, and 2 and a half days on my seconded job, based at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro working to help develop smaller museums in Cornwall. So putting an exhibition on on 2.5 days was more than a little crazy and I didn’t get much sleep! From now on, priorities will have to be agreed and stuck to and I will have to say no to some things that are simply not physically possible in 2.5 days. A lesson learnt.

At the exhibition opening....

David Chapman presenets winner of the U16 competition Alex Valenti with his prize. Lill'ole me on the right...

Another action packed month on the cliff edge…..

Posted in meet the geevor staff on October 30, 2009 by geevor

Another action packed month at Geevor ! No really! We have had school groups back on site which has been great as small people are generally very amusing! We all have been working very hard on the new Wildlife on the Edge exhibition in the Hard Rock Gallery which opened on Friday the 21st October. We had a bit of a ‘do’ for everyone who contributed. The two professional photographers Dave Chapman and Steve Jones whose photos make up the majority of the exhibition and the winners and entrants of our photo competition (the youngest is 3!) joined us. Really looking forward to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s travelling exhibition to arrive on the 20th November that will be shown simultaneously, all very exciting….watch this space or a space!

We also held our Bat Detecting evening which was brilliant and very well attaneded, two different species of bats were located on site despite a brisk on-shore wind, many thanks to all involved.

Just getting to the end of October half term week which has been busy, especially considering you can’t see your had in front of your face today the fog is so thick! (How can it be so windy and so foggy at the same time, where does it all come from?) We had a very special visit from Hilary Bracegirdle from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) whose input has paid for the Hard Rock Museum and all the new roofs on site amongst other things. The HLF (aka National Lottery) is celebrating its 15 year anniversary, and to join the celebration we have held some special events over the week to coincide with the half term.  I led a drop-in session in the Hard Rock Gallery where people could get advice on how to encourage and create habitats for our native wildlife in their gardens, be they big or small. There were also wildlife related crafty activities for the smaller ones; everyone who took part seemed to really enjoy it!

We also participated in the Big Draw this year, again a really busy day with a lot of very creative goings on. We don’t have many creations to exhibit as everyone wanted to take their pictures home with them…a lasting reminder of Geevor!

Next mission: Christmas.……..ho ho ohhh!

Astronomy Dominie

Posted in meet the geevor staff on October 8, 2009 by geevor

How excited was I about the lecture given to us by Brian Sheen, Astronomer, at the beginning of September here at Geevor?. Very!. Firstly Brian gave a talk with the most amazing presentation of  what the night skies looked like in this part of the world on the big screen. And then we went outside. We were blessed by a clear night and being this remote there was very little in the way of light pollution. Numerous strange-looking bits of kit were assembled and we all had the chance to look through them. Amazing. We were able to see Jupiter (plus three of Jupiter’s  moons), the Andromoda galaxy, Altair, Deneb and  Vega (the summer triangle) the Plough (an old favourite!), the Milky Way (very clear!),  to name but a few that I can remember. The moon was bright but the Dark Side thankfully eluded us.

Is There Anybody Out There? Well, the International Space Station passed over a couple of times and a few other satellites were visible. I have always intended to inform myself about The Great Gig in the Sky and I think this might be the beginning (let’s not mention that I have actually worked at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich ….!)

Otherwise, we were still quite busy in September due to the fact that the sun actually shone. Not quite warm enough for that evening swim or beach BBQ but certainly lovely enough for people to want to be outside exploring Geevor. Wish You Were Here?.

So we have begun the big catch up on the things that didn’t get done over the busy summer. This includes an unprecedented number of enquiries.  Mainly of a family history nature. Rebecca and I had a great trip to visit the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth, where we were shown round by Kim, who is lovely and knows lots. This is a great place and the starting point for most Cornish history enquiries. Near to the top of my (fantasy curatorial) list for Geevor is to do something about computerising some of our records so that these enquiries can be done at the touch of a button.  Help!  Welcome To The Machine…

In the very last week in September I began my new working arrangements. As a six month secondment, I am working half the week on a different job, based at the Royal Cornwall Museum. This new role is about working with and supporting smaller museums across Cornwall. I’m very excited but also aware of having to deliver on both jobs, in such little time. Yikes. No pressure! Set the controls for the Heart of the Sun….

The photo attached is of one of our Interactives in the museum. Every day we see our visitors trying to solve this puzzle – which involves figuring out a sequence for the wheels to link up in order to turn the handle and ‘lift the cage’.  This particular sequence is cleverly impressive and visually stunning. Thank you to whoever did this. Flaming!Objects June

September blues or should I say moos….

Posted in meet the geevor staff on September 22, 2009 by geevor

I loves it down the mine I do!

Well it has been a funny old month what with Claire Ross leaving and all! I am now by myself in the shed/office and its quite lonely, was thinking of inviting some of the cows over for tea (see Jo’s previous blog) Should I to offer them milk with their tea…hmm cow etiquette!

 Anyway, the events over August have gone well, the Bat Day was very exciting although we had to call off the Bat Detecting walk due to poor weather conditions. It has been re-scheduled for Friday 25th September at 6.45 pm, if you would like to find out more about our local bats and see how a bat detector  works give reception a shout (01736 788662). We are hopeful of finding bats but it is very dependent on weather conditions i.e. rain/wind = no insects flying= no bats… but we shall see!

Just before Claire Ross left we had the chance to go down Victory Shaft (2nd time for me!) I took one of our hand held camcorders with me and have produced a 4 minute film of our experience. It certainly gives you an idea of what is was like down the mine. Bill kindly took us down some side passages with water so deep it up to my knees (and well into my wellies!) the moment was captured on film

Pictures can be seen at:

All very exciting. Looking forward to having some school groups back on site where we get the chance to run some of our new workshops……… I am still keeping an eye on the cows though.

The fog

Posted in meet the geevor staff on September 9, 2009 by geevor

jo wHave you ever seen the film the fog? I’ve been half expecting pirate-clad skeletons to emerge from the sea and take over the mine for the last two days. The fog has been so bad. Even the cows are starting to look sinister… As I type I cannot see the top of Victory Headgear which is about 25m from my office. Where has the sunshine gone?

For July and August my main responsibility was to ensure that our rather ramshackle ‘what’s on’ board was kept up to date daily with events on site. I have decided that as it is being used so often I shall invest some money in at least trying to make it look good. It is the first thing that visitors see upon arrival – after the toilets that is! My lettering techniques using a white board pen have come on enormously. Some days I even added flowers or butterflies….

As well as holidays and guiding, not a great deal else has happened in the last two months except for record numbers of visitor, clearly a good thing. We are not normally open Saturdays and we experimented this July and August with opening Saturdays. So, for three summer Saturdays, I gave up my Saturday-morning newspaper and coffee hallowed time to come and work and talk to people all day. The sacrifices!

The Interactives in the new museum have taken a hammering this summer and we are now down to our last spares….It is difficult to decide between what has broken due to poor design and what has broken due to inevitable wear and tear….but generally things have been Ok. Our handdrilling sessions have been very popular and on one occasion our Geevor talks normally attended by about 15 people had over 70.

Rebecca and I have spent a lot of time planning for September and October – events and exhibitions but for now I am just glad to get my head down and clear some things in my inbox. One of those outstanding projects is to hang some more art around site. I have accumulated several lots of work for reception and outside the café and about to take on some more, so watch this space for some interesting work appearing around site.

Claire Ross left us in August and it was really sad to see her go. Consequently I have had to do Geevor’s twitter all week. Got quite into it actually, so good job my turn only comes round ever 8 weeks! The new website is super and sparkles. What an improvement. Well done Claire. We are all determined to maintain the high standards of web presence you established for us.  We miss you already!