The location for this year’s AGM was the Tamar Valley, based in the historic stannary town of Tavistock. Although numbers attending were not high, there was a good deal of interest and amusement for those who did participate.
On the Friday afternoon we gathered at the excellent Tavistock Museum for a walk led by local historian, Rod Martin. We followed the curtilage of Tavistock Abbey in the town centre after which Robert Waterhouse began the first of several sessions on the Tavistock Canal. We followed it from the intake weir, through a number of gardens, down to the main town wharf. By this time the rain had become unrelenting and so we adjourned to the Museum which has excellent displays on local industrial history. In the evening Robert Waterhouse gave a fascinating and enthusiastic lecture on the canal’s story, which attracted a large local audience. Robert, formerly the archaeologist at Morwellham, has been studying the canal for at least a decade. The results of his researches will be published by the Society in a substantial book this autumn.
Saturday morning dawned fine and began with a visit to the Robey Trust’s Perseverance Works in Tavistock. Here members were greatly impressed by the collection of engines from Robey of Lincoln and the Trust’s extremely well equipped workshops. The Trust has ambitious plans for the future and we wish them well. The afternoon saw us resume our canal walk at the Wharf and follow the canal through woodland country some three miles to the northern portal of the tunnel which takes the canal under Morwell Down. It took 14 years to drive. The engineering works on this small canal, which ceased work around the 1870s but still performs a useful function serving Morwellham hydro-electric power station were a revelation.
On Saturday evening some 23 members attended the AGM, where Chairman, Brian Jones, continued a tradition of the brief despatch of business. The AGM unanimously ratified the proposed increases in subscriptions from 2018. A most convivial dinner followed at the Bedford Hotel. On Sunday morning Society members joined the Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group for a visit to Kit Hill; this concentrated on the efforts by the Duchy of Cornwall to recover wolfram during the First World War.
Next year’s AGM weekend will return to West Cornwall; the dates are 11th – 13th May.