Storylines Project

Topsail ahoy!
Merchant Schooner Memories

Sunday 16 October, 2-5pm  – Devoran Village Hall

Quay Road, Devoran, Truro, Cornwall,UK, TR3 6PW

This event is generously funded by the Cornwall Heritage Trust

A new community project ‘Topsail ahoy’ is seeking to uncover local memories of merchant topsail schooners from Cornwall and beyond.

The project, led by social enterprise Storylines in partnership with the Rhoda Mary Project, will begin with an informal gathering at Devoran Village Hall on Sunday 16 October, 2-5pm. Members of the public with memoirs, associations, photographs, or stories passed down through the years are invited to come and share these over a cup of tea and cake.

A local campaign aims to draw out any family or community stories about:

• Ship-building, particularly merchant schooners, in local boatyards.

• The location of boatyards or individual boats.

• Family members who went to sea or commanded a vessel.

• Anyone who owned shares in one of the boats.

During the 19th century, coastal communities throughout the West Country financed, built and operated a great fleet of merchant schooners, creating a golden age of sail-driven transport with far-flung links to North Africa, the Baltic and the Americas. This was a period of booming world trade and brought great prosperity, as well as drama and risk to the local communities involved.

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Sarah Chapman from Storylines says:

“Although the times of merchant schooners are not within living memory, there will be a legacy of stories that have been passed down through the generations. We really hope that people come and share these with us so that we can preserve the memory of these iconic vessels and the people who were associated with them.”

Storylines is a Community Interest Company, which runs creative projects and workshops that use the common language of story to bring people together to share, celebrate, learn and connect. Storylines projects help foster new relationships between people of all ages, building stronger, more resilient communities.

Storylines projects cover a range of sectors that include social, cultural, health and heritage.

We use a variety of creative approaches together with digital storytelling. Digital stories are short, accessible films that feature a first-hand story, accompanied by images or video. These can tell the stories of individuals, groups, projects, organisations or businesses and can be placed online and played at events.

Watching digital stories helps to spark more stories, open up discussions and inspire others. Through helping people to share their stories, we aim to break down barriers and give a  voice to a wide range of people, including  those who are marginalised.