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Art Marine

The Rosebud PZ 87 - John Christian

The Rosebud PZ 87 - John Christian

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 The Rosebud -PZ 87  was the Newlyn-based fishing boat at the centre of the attempt by Newlyn villagers to save their condemned properties in the 1930s. The Rosebud was built in Newlyn in 1919 and was a 50 feet (15 m) long coastal lugger with a mizzen and small petrol engine. Rosebud left Newlyn on October 19, 1937 to deliver a petition to parliament to stop the Newlyn clearances. Over 1,000 people signed a petition against ‘the wholesale destruction of our famous village’.

 303 houses in Newlyn were declared unsanitary or unfit for human habituation, and the only way to deal with them was to demolish them and start afresh. This happened after Parliament passed an Act empowering all Councils to deal with slum districts in the areas that they controlled. Newlyn had only recently come under the jurisdiction of Penzance, and Penzance decided that it should be flattened and rebuilt.

A committee was formed from Newlyn and Mousehole people. Geoffrey Garnier the artist took the lead and Maureen, Marquise des Verdieres' daughter, took charge of publicity.

Cecil Richards and his brother, staunch Methodists like many of the folk in Newlyn, agreed to take the petition make the 400-mile voyage in their fishing boat, the 50-ft PZ 87 Rosebud, a traditional lugger but one of the first to be built with engines installed. There were no funds for this journey so when they selected a crew, each of the men agreed to provide a small sum sufficient to cover the cost of their keep during the voyage. In the event, that their good deed was rewarded, people came forward to contribute to victualling the ship, and four kindly people guaranteed £5 apiece to cover expenses. Thus, the Rosebud sailed with a volunteer crew, partially victualled, and with £20 to cover all eventualities!

When she left Newlyn Harbour on that morning in October, she carried three remarkable objects: a bottle of water from the Jordan, another of water from Madron Wishing Well, and a red slipper. They were a form of Publicity to which the Marquise attached great importance.
Their progress up the River to Westminster was reported in all the newspapers. They were received by Mr Beechman, MP and they had tea in the House of Commons with Sir Kingsley Wood, the Minister of Health.

Did the Journey of the Rosebud halt the Newlyn Clearances? Probably it delayed them but it was WW2 that brought them to a halt.
Sourced from materials held by the Newlyn Archive

Original watecolour on paper signed lower right.

Image size: 15.5 x 11.5 inches
Mount size: 20 x 16 inches
Frame size: 23 x 19 inches

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