The future of one of Falmouth's most famous institutions is in disarray after the commercial arm of The Poly in Church Street, announced its closure.

There will be no more films or exhibitions held in the building, once the Falmouth Arts Centre and a showplace for the work of thousands of students.

The news is expected to send shockwaves all over the county. Poly Trading Limited, employed 14 staff. All have lost their jobs. The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society itself will continue.

A spokesman told the Packet: “The trading company has provided a wide range of film and live events over the past four years and has played a significant role in the life of the local community. "Unfortunately, due to recent commercial competition and the general economic situation, insufficient income has been available to meet the costs of supporting such a venture, which has had very little public subsidy.”

The Society itself is not insolvent and will continue to pursue its charitable objectives in the arts and sciences, through alternative means, probably in partnership with other organisations.

The Fox quaker family founded the Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1832 to promote the ideas and inventions of the workers in their Perran Foundry.

In 1835 King William IV bestowed Royal Patronage on the Society, at the request of Davies Gilbert and it changed its name from the Cornwall Polytechnic Society to the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.

In the same year the Polytechnic Hall was built, at 24 Church Street, Falmouth, being originally used for “objects connected with the sciences, arts and literature”, but not for theatrical purposes.

The Society has had many notable Presidents including the novelist Howard Spring who lived in Falmouth from 1947 to 1965 and served for eight years.

In 2000 the Society merged with Falmouth Arts. The Society, following this merger, decided to adopt the trading name of Falmouth Arts Centre and this later become the name of the Polytechnic Hall. It later became known as "The Poly".

Members agreed to divide the organisation's operations into two with a charitable body and a trading wing.

Last year the Society celebrated its 175th anniversary.

Full story in today’s Falmouth Packet.

Do you have fond memories of the Poly? If so comment below.