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Son completes father's Helston history book
9:00am Saturday 1st February 2014 in News
A book detailing the history of Helston over the last century has been completed in memory of a man who dedicated his later years to documenting the town.
Reg Jenkin, one of Helston's keenest minds with a vast knowledge of the town's business history, had been working on the book Helston Remembered with son John for around five years, and had set themselves a deadline of last Christmas to complete it.
Sadly Reg did not live to see the book in printed form, but John continued with the project following his father's death.
John said: “It was my regret that he didn't live to see that. Nevertheless I did manage to meet the deadline.
“It's a long time in the making and it is very nice to arrive at a point of completion. I do hope it will be found to be of value to people with an interest in the town.”
The book opens with Reg's memories of Helston, between 1920 and 1934, when he moved to London. They include his time living at 68 Meneage Street, where he was born, and his school days.
His reminiscences resume when he returned to Helston following the close of the Second World War There follows a comprehensive list of all the businesses in Helston town centre up until 2013, each one accompanied by a beautiful technical drawing from the hand of Reg - who only learnt to draw in his 80s.
Many contain information about how many people the businesses employed.
The book also includes old photographs and drawings from memory by Reg of places that there are no images of - such as the Weslyan Day School at Shute Hill.
A detailed index is at the back, allowing people to cross reference places of interest, while at the front there is a history of the town from 1185, when King Henry II authorised the Sheriff of Cornwall to spend two pounds, six shillings and six pence on the jail in Helston.
John said: “It's such a unique record. There's no other town in Cornwall that is the subject of such drawings.”
John has been given a quote of £4,700 to print 250 copies of the book.
His initial reaction was “I can't do that,” but after some thought he decided to see if businesses would sponsor the book.
He is hoping that enough people will come forward with donations to allow him to carry out one print run.
There is a suggestion that the books could then be sold for £20 each, with proceeds then going to a worthwhile cause.
“So far everyone has been incredibly impressed by the volume and has wished to support it. I really just want to make the wider public aware that such a volume is available for publication, but needs a bit of support of people to put it over the top.”
Anyone who wants to offer a donation towards the project, however large or small, can email John via firstname.lastname@example.org
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