Cornish Caretakers

Fresh from attending the BAFTA ceremony, Edward Rowe, aka the Kernow King, who played the lead role of Martin in BAFTA winner Mark Jenkin’s, double BAFTA nominated and 2020 BAFTA winning film Bait, was straight back into Cornish Primary Schools teaching them about their Cornish Mining Heritage. On Tuesday 4th February he attended Newlyn Primary school where he received a round of applause from some very excited pupils.

Edward Rowe has developed an immersive learning experience called the Cornish Caretakers where he explores different characters from Cornish history or culture as part of an interactive performance. The Cornish Caretakers show has previously educated school children on the work of Cornwall Heritage Trust and Kresen Kernow; both shows were excellently well-received across Cornwall, even having showings at Royal Cornwall in Cornwall Heritage Trust’s tent. In this newly developed version the Cornish Caretakers will explore 6 characters from Cornwall and west Devon mining history to teach the children about the Cornwall and west Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

It was all hands on deck in the development of the mining show.  Mr Rowe called on Cornish engineering and carpentry students from Cornwall College, St Austell, asking them to create a replica of the famous "Puffing Devil"; Camborne inventor and engineer Richard Trevithick’s first steam powered road vehicle. Edward had already worked with the College on a similar project for his ‘Trevithick’ show. His design brief for this Puffing Devil was to make it smaller and more manageable to transport to local primary schools.

Edward has explained that the engineering students have “brought something special back to life." He added, "It seems so authentic and I am thrilled. It’s fantastic.”

The students worked collaboratively to bring the woodwork and engineering together. This improved communication skills between the students which is key within all trades.

Level 2 Engineering student at Cornwall College, Jack Spencer, said working on this project was “brilliant”. “I feel I’ve really improved on my existing skills and we can show future employers a fantastic project which we have worked on. “The steam engine is very realistic, it puffs and it has a smoke machine inside. I think it is brilliant that Kernow King will really encourage more young people to get into engineering.”

Luke Bazeley the Course Manager for Engineering at Cornwall College St Austell said the students should be “really proud of how well they have worked as a team."

The Cornish Mining version of the show starred Edward Rowe alongside Cornish actress Kate Edney as the “Cornish Caretakers”. The show was created by Palores Productions and Cornish Director Simon Harvey. Not only does the show star the “Puffing Devil” replica but the World Heritage Site Team provided a selection of Cornish mineral samples for the children to handle and learn how they are used in items such as electronics, machinery and rechargeable batteries. Some of these samples are so rare that single locations in Cornwall are the only place they are found, anywhere in the world.

Edward also worked with the World Heritage Site Office to produce a, one of a kind, mining inspired board game “Mines and Ladders”, specifically for the project. The board game takes the children on a journey across Cornwall with real life mining highs and lows moving them forward and back.

The World Heritage Site team said “We have been thrilled to be able to support this version of Cornish Caretakers. Having current engineering students involved has added so much value. Working with Edward Rowe has been an absolute pleasure; his passion for our mining heritage and Cornwall in general is wonderful and his creative approach has allowed us to reach children in such an engaging way. The show is a fantastic celebration of our mining heritage. It is sure to inspire the next generation of world changing engineers and miners!”

The production toured primary schools throughout the World Heritage Site and beyond in Cornwall and West Devon in early 2020.

Further Exploration

Rags to Riches

Cornish Caretakers

Perthi Kov

UNESCO Lates at the London Science Museum