A new memorial and Blue Plaque paying tribute to Victorian Quaker philanthropist, inventor and natural philosopher will connect Cornwall to its scientific legacy, according to local campaigners.

In 1833, inventor Robert Were Fox, inspired by his teenage daughters, founded the Cornwall Polytechnic Society which, a quarter of a century later, helped to found the Falmouth School of Art before the institution eventually grew into Falmouth University as it is known now.

In his day, Robert Fox was a distinguished scientist and inventor with a keen interest in mining and magnetism, developing a compass that reportedly saved countless lives at sea.

Recognising Robert Fox’s contribution to science and innovation, Professor Mike Jenks from Falmouth’s Civic Society aimed to permanently cement Robert Were Fox’ connection with the local area through the erection of a Blue Plaque.

From 2:30pm today, an unveiling ceremony for a new blue plaque will take place at Falmouth University’s Woodlane campus in the Rosehill building in which Fox once lived and will be attended by the descendants of Robert Were Fox.

This will be followed by a demonstration of Robert Were Fox’s magnetic dipping needle at the Fox Café at 4pm, and from 6pm, Dr Edward Gillin will deliver the Paul Smales lecture which will discuss the discovery and legacy of his invention the dipping needle compass as well as the family’s contribution to Cornwall at that time.

The University’s Vice Chancellor said the plaque on Falmouth’s Woodlane campus would forever link the University with Cornwall’s illustrious scientific past.

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Professor Anne Carlisle OBE said: "We feel very honoured and proud of the history of the buildings which the University now inhabits and it’s a thrill to see this new blue plaque commemorating the wonderful contribution of Robert Were Fox to world-leading science, innovation and research.

"It’s thanks to his curiosity that others could follow in his footsteps on their own journeys of discovery.

"His spirit of innovation and ingenuity lives on here in Falmouth University – and indeed in Cornwall as a whole, from Spaceport Cornwall on the north coast and satellite technology down at the tip of the county, to the geothermal energy and lithium exploration happening under our feet.

"It’s a visible reminder of Falmouth and Cornwall’s place at the forefront of innovation and academic discovery."

Professor Mike Jenks from Falmouth's Civic Society said: "It’s important to recognise the contributions of our local icons here in Falmouth, who have done so much to lay the groundwork for discovery and knowledge.

"Robert Were Fox’s spirit of innovation and ingenuity certainly continue to live on in this place and we’re delighted to be joined by university partners, his family descendants and members of the local community who are here to celebrate Robert’s place in our local story.

"His passions and discoveries helped to change the world and it’s heartening to think that many more ideas can emerge from the roots he has laid in this place."