A Memoir of Trethosa Village in the 1930s

June 2, 2015

A Memoir of Trethosa Village in the 1930s is a memoir about Cornwall. Read on to discover more about the book, its memories and the author. 

A Memoir of Trethosa Village in the 1930s is the strong and heartfelt recollection on what life was like pre-World War II in the small Cornish village of Trethosa. The memoir which was published last month is written by June Trethewey, who grew up in Trethosa and now lives in Camberley, Surrey.

The book is short; however it certainly doesn’t lack any detail over memories and the tiny quirks and misdemeanours of local village life, including the people who once lived there. The recollections held over time capture intense and sharp memories only somebody who grew up during this period in Cornwall would know like the back of their hand.

The writing is fluid and stirs up flavours of the past people have perhaps long forgotten about or will be intrigued to discover. Flick through the pages and you will be sure to find farming work, village carnivals, church gatherings, and the laborious perils of long and harsh winters.

With nostalgic old photographs to look at of China Clay works; of locals playing on Porthpean beach, and a detailed illustration of Trethosa (drawn from memory by the author herself), this book is surely a treasured gateway into the past.

Any reader who grew up in Trethosa or lived near there at the time will probably recognise at least a few of the people remembered in Trethewey’s memoir and this insight offers a distinct and very personal touch to the heart of the publication.

However, for those who simply have an interest in what village life was like during the 1930s, they can still enjoy flicking through the pages and be amused, touched or even slightly astonished by the way people here led their lives.

Trethewey recollects that growing up in this time was very enriching, though at times hard work. There is certainly a sense of affection over the memories she keeps in the way she writes about the people, the places and the vast differences in our lives now compared to over 80 years ago.

Book Cover for A Memoir of Trethosa Village in the 1930s

The book, at its core, offers a tremendous sense of community as a part of people’s everyday lives. More importantly, it brings home the integrity of what it really means to be a good neighbour to your family and loved ones.

Perhaps this is something we’ve almost lost sight of nowadays, what with the increase of technology development and the ability to be far more self-reliant. It’s clear that people don’t need each other as much as they did back then and this is something Trethewey mentions in the book.

All in all, this heartfelt memoir is a truly interesting and inspiring publication and welcomes you into the compelling authenticity of 1930s village life. It’s filled with personal memories and the remembrances of the beloved, fascinating and, at times, slightly odd people that made it so special a place to call home.

But, this being said, it can also be a rather interesting artefact to anybody who wants to gain a further insight into what life in Cornwall was like before the Second World War, particularly concerning small villages such as one like Trethosa.

It is a book to pass down through generations, while also being a pleasure to read. The style of writing is thoroughly enjoyable, with accurate detail and a taste for creative flair here and there when it’s needed.

Overall, it is a short yet insightful read and will walk you through life in Trethosa as if you have already lived it, or even perhaps, for those who did grow up here, as though you’ve never even left.

The book launch was held on 1st May at the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum, where June Trethewey was signing copies.

If you would like your own copy of the book it is available at the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum, sold at £7.50 each.

Emily Ould

Emily is a student at Falmouth University studying Creative Writing. She’s also the Sub Editor for Cornish Story. Having grown up in Cornwall, she has a deep love for the landscape and its stories.