A Life That I Did Not Know

A Life That I Did Not Know

The photograph of my Grandmother was the inspiration for this book. The photo itself was taken by my father who was enthusiastic about this subject when the use of cameras was not as widespread as is the case in our own century. He had his camera and his ambition and his first subjects were close-ups of his immediate family. I saw these little pictures in a small book much later. The lines on the face of my grandmother showed such strength and I could see how she was able to bring up seven children at a time when conditions in Cornwall were at a low ebb. This was just after the influence of John Wesley had reached into the hearts of the tin miners and fishermen so that Methodism had motivated many with a faith which had also shown a need for education. My Grandmother was affected by this faith and it was strong in her own family. When she married she applied her own principles in the rearing of her own children. A second thread presented itself in my mind and this gave emphasis to the conflict of two cultures represented by my own Mother and Father. There was the industrial background of my Father's family and the more flexible conditions experienced in my Mother's. It was strange that both backgrounds of my parents were involved in the tin mining industry. With such a connection to tin mining a question had to be answered by myself and this was why I did not realise how much I was to find in common with the coal mining industry in Wales which in my own life I was to become so involved.
The story is based on the fragments I knew or realised might have happened through phrases or photographs heard or seen.

Extract

From St. Anthony, William looked across the harbour to St. Mawes. It was a cluster of houses leading from the Castle Point; the water was calm and shadows of fishing boats hardly flickered.