Thursday, 21 March 2013

The joys of research

One of the most enjoyable activities of this job is the research I get to do for people with enquiries which can range from family history to witty and amusing anecdotes for speeches, as has been the case this last week. The Camborne School of Mines Annual Dinner was held last week which also marked the 125th Anniversary and so I have been involved in helping various people find information for their speeches. During that research I have found some interesting little snippets and lively accounts, not just about student escapades, but staff aswell!

For instance did you know that CSM once unofficially adopted a rather scruffy, but charming little dog who took pride of place in the 1925 School photograph. He had somewhat mysteriously disappeared by the beginning of the new academic year, but it was reported that 'Old Ben' had been seen '...looking very forlorn, wearing a collar, with a Praa Sands address inscribed upon it.'

For all those students out there who complain about the habits of their house mates spare a thought for one 'Haughty Student' who wrote to the CSM magazine in March 1898 to complain about the antics of his landlady. Apparently, she had a partiality to corned beef and would eat the students stock and then 'conceal the delinquency by keeping up the level of the beef in the tin with the aid of bread put in from underneath, and who eats [his] sardines, and says they had to be "throwed away" because they had 'agone bad'.

One staff member in his early days as a student during the 1940s played a rugby match in Penzance for the school after which he and the wing forward went on a pub crawl. Some time later they clambered on board the student's motor cycle to return to Camborne. There they partook of 'one more' at the club before again mounting the bike and proceeding down the footpath which also happened to have a concrete post looming ahead. 'The pillion quaked in trepidation as to the width of the gap between post and wall. [The student] replied to his passenger in the usual way, by revving the engine, slipped the bike into gear and gave [a laugh] followed by 'we'll have to see'. The two remained friends so it would seem the bravado paid off, however during a more sober moment the gap was found to be just 2 inches wider than the handlebars!!

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