Solomon Browne Memorial Hall

 
Our beloved home “The Duck street Store” is getting a makeover. The old 2 story building in days gone by housed several pilchard tanks, fishing gear and a net loft. The building is owned by Cornwall council and leased to the “Solomon Browne Memorial Hall Association”.  The SBMHA are trying to secure grants to convert the building into a community centre with heritage areas and continued space for us to maintain and build new light displays. The project will conclude with a spectacular village community centre known as the “Solomon Browne Memorial Hall”, after the Penlee lifeboat tragically lost in December 1981.

MHL have secured an undertaking that they will have a long term  lease at favourable rent for the major part of the ground floor of the hall, to be used exclusively by MHL for workshop and storage facilities. 

Last Christmas (2014) and this Christmas (2015) we have had to vacate the building to allow for the conversion work to begin. This has meant that we have had to transport the displays several miles to a very kindly donated area provided by First buses. The logistics of the additional miles have taken their toll on both the volunteers and the displays, extending the set-up and dismantle times considerably and increasing repairs on the displays. But we hope that by midsummer 2016 we will be back at home in the newly refurbished Duck street store ready for supporting the village community groups throughout the summer months and preparing for another intense Festive season!  

MHL has very close ties with the ill-fated Penlee Lifeboat, the Solomon Browne. Several of the lost crew were helpers on the lights. Their families were and still are supporters, collecting and helping to raise funds. Some of the lost crews’ children went on to become MHL volunteers and support us. Particular mention must go to John Blewett, a telephone engineer by day and MHL’s Electrician during his time off. In the 1970’s MHL received great support from the Landlord of the Ship Inn, Charlie Greenhaugh. To honour the support that he gave the lights, he was the “Switch-on VIP” on Friday 18th December 1981. The following night Charlie was amongst the crew of the Solomon Browne and lost.  

Following the disaster, the MHL committee turned the lights off. The outcry from the village was huge, requesting that they were switched back on for the children. Following direct requests from some of the families, on Christmas Eve the lights were turned back on and have proudly shone out over the Festive period ever since. As a mark of respect for our volunteer helpers lost and all of the crew, we “Dim” the lights on the 19th December every year between the hours of 8pm and 9pm, the time the lifeboat was launched.
 

With help from the community and the SBMHA, we will continue to provide lights well into the future for generations to come.

The official opening of the Store by Councillor Roger Harding on  Sat 19th November 2016

 

 


Further information:

Solomon Browne Memorial Hall website

Solomon Browne Memorial Hall Facebook pages

 

 





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