A clear out of the strong room at Helston’s Guildhall has begun – with some startling discoveries.
Among them is a Book of Common Prayer dating from 1799, which was found nestled amongst the dust, its book plate separated from the cover and the pages fraying.
It is just one of the treasures uncovered by local historian Patrick Carroll, who is making an inventory of the items at the request of councillor Jonathan Radford-Gaby when he was still mayor.
Mr Carroll told the town council that alongside “a great deal of early Elizabethan dust” there were items the council may want to get rid of but also others that might be better somewhere else, such as the museum or the new Cornish archive centre when it is built in Redruth.
These included the Book of Common Prayer, of which he said: “I would suggest to the council that this should be donated to the museum with a possible view of it being repaired and rebound for public exhibition.”
Mr Carroll is around two thirds of the way through looking at the collection of items.
Mr Radford-Gaby thanked Mr Carroll for his hard work already, saying: “He’s put a considerable number of hours at no cost at all, to archive our strong room.”
Each session carried out took around three hours, and he had already been four or five times.
While in full support of the idea councillor Martine Knight, a volunteer with the museum, warned the council would need to check that the museum was able to take on more items, saying “there is no room at the inn.”
Before taking any firm decisions she advised speaking with curator Katherine Ashton.
Councillor Ronnie Williams claimed that many of the most delicate and prominent items had already been taken to Truro, to be stored in a suitable environment It was agreed that items of historical interest should be transferred to the custodianship of Helston Museum, with the agreement of the South Kerrier Heritage Trust that manages it, on an item by item basis.