Durgan

Durgan, Cornwall, UK: Introduction

Information, below, produced by Katherine Mycock and Jessica Quick (history undergraduates at Exeter University)

Located in the parish of Mawnan, south Cornwall, Durgan is a small village which lies on the Helston River four miles south of Falmouth. Known in the past for its fish cellars, donkey sheds, coal yard, chapel, ale house, and sheltered valley, Durgan has a history with which its community is eager to share. It is part of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a popular tourist destination. Interestingly, Durgan means “homes of the sea dogs” or “otters” in Cornish!

Durgan’s tranquil beach is one of the most attractive features of the village which appeals to boaters, swimmers and holiday makers alike. The shingly shore boasts a strong history of the fishing and boating tradition that has played a huge part in shaping the village today. There have been many cases where the beach and the village community have acted as a safe haven during times of rough and wild seas. Nonetheless, the village holds a few stories of times where uncertainty has reached its shores, including environmental disasters and the threat of war. It was during these uncertainties where Durgan really pulled together and as a community were able to overcome them.

The hamlet comprises of fifteen properties, most of which are owned by the National Trust, and has a permanent population of ten. Traditionally, the permanent population was higher than ten and the residents contributed to the economy and prosperity of the village. However there has been a decline due to the end of the fishing industry and the growth of nearby urban areas meaning that Durgan now mainly offers a home to the retired or semi-permanent dwellers.

Glendurgan Gardens, also owned by the National Trust, leads down the valley to Durgan. The creation of Glendurgan Gardens by the Fox Family in 1820 had a significant role in shaping the landscape and identity of Durgan. The Fox Family are still heavily involved in the village and the gardens, and currently live in the house located in the gardens.

This is the story of how Durgan’s identity as a place and a community has evolved and responded to difficult circumstances throughout the last two centuries. It will be told through the use of personal anecdotes, such as the diaries of the Fox family, original photographs and the local Women’s Institute Scrapbooks. The story will be broken down into seven main sections:

•    Sense of Community in Durgan
•    The Fox Family
•    Storms in Durgan?
•    Durgan as a safe haven
•    Durgan during World War II
•    What does the future hold for Durgan?

Sense of Community in Durgan

Durgan has always been renowned for being a close knit community. From the Census Returns in 1851, Durgan had a population of twenty three, meaning that a community identity was vital. (1) As well as the community working together in all aspects of life, there were certain members of the village who are vividly remembered for the role they played and the impact they had. This page hopes to capture Durgan as it was and how it has changed through personal stories and comparisons.

Durgan was a very active community in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This is shown through various community traditions such as regattas and square dancing, which involved both adults and children who were able to have a half holiday on these occasions. (2) The regatta continues to this day to be a day of celebration for the village with it being held annually on the last Sunday in August each year. (3)

Bling George

Photograph of 'Blind George', from the 'Mawnan Smith Women's Institute Scrapbook', 1951.

One particular heart-warming story is of a prominent member of the community, ‘Blind George’. Going blind as a baby, George attended The West of England School for the Blind in Exeter but was homesick so returned “to his own bit of country”. (4) This bit of country which was of comfort to George was Durgan, which offered him a sense of security, identity, and community responsibility, and where he was able to earn a living. (5) Here he stayed all of his life, with his main source of income being from his tea selling rounds and dealing with the financial affairs of the local fishermen. (6) He clearly left a huge impression on the other residents of Durgan, his story being told through the generations and being remembered for his love and connection with Durgan.

George was not the only villager to work and live in Durgan all of their lives, many worked in the thriving fishing industry and passed down their skills through the generations. Some have described that “the village was like one family.” (7) In 1891 there were nine fishing boats in Durgan. (8) Men and women worked together, with the men bringing the fish ashore and the women sell them. (9) The women also utilised the beach by digging for cockles, winkles, and limpets. (10) The sense of community continued on into the night with the fishermen. When the men were out at night, the light in the reading room was left on to act as a beacon, to ensure the safety of all those at sea. (11) The men waited up until all the boats were in and once they had all returned, it was a joint effort to pull all of the boats ashore. (12) Sadly this long-running industry ceased with the commencement of World War I when the men of the village were called up for service. (13) “That was really the beginning of the end of all the real fishermen of Durgan.” (14)

It was in times of hardship when the community really pulled together. (15) In 1947, the village experienced a fall of heavy snow, cutting off all food supplies to Durgan. (16) Sylvia King remembers this time very clearly as her father was involved in getting emergency provisions. (17) “They trudged up to Mawnan Smith to get provisions, not just for themselves, […] but for everyone and when they got to Mawnan Smith the shop was closed. So what should they do? Well, traipsed into Falmouth, that was another five miles. And they got provisions… when they got home, they had all this food and they shared it out among everybody.” (18)

“Durgan is very different now, there [are] no fishing boats and only a few rowing boats”; the old has made way for the new. (19) People have continued to live, work, and play happily here throughout Durgan’s transformation from a thriving fishing village to a popular tourist destination. That said, the sense of community remains strong. A local resident who moved down from Sussex notes, “How friendly the people in the village greet each other each day...Baker who has been baking and delivering it for sixteen years.” (20) Durgan still retains the charm and identity of the close-knit community that it once was.

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1Census Returns, March 20th, 1851
2 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965
3 The National Trust, ‘The Old School House’, http://www.nationaltrustholidays.org.uk/holiday-cottage/the-old-school-house-011024/, (Last accessed 2nd March 2015)
4 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), pp.27-28
5 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), pp.27-28
6 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), pp.27-28
7 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
8 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
9 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
10 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
11 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
12 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
13 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
14 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
15 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 2m40s – 4m20s
16 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 2m40s – 4m20s
17 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 2m40s – 4m20s
18 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 2m40s – 4m20s
19 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
20 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965

The Fox Family

Fox Family

The Fox family, taken two days after the outbreak of the First World War, taken from Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.59

The Fox family of Falmouth bought the land above Durgan village in 1820. (1) They were a prominent family in the area as well as in Plymouth, and had multiple businesses, including G. C. Fox and Co. Shipping Agents, Falmouth Docks and Engineering Co., and Falmouth Coaling Company. (2) The fishing industry, in particular the fishing of pilchards, was another part of business enterprise and Durgan provided a perfect area to pursue this. Their influence as a family was also indicated in various other ways, for example in helping to bring the railway to Cornwall in 1846. (3)

Alfred and Sarah Fox, grandparents to twelve grandchildren at this time, started work on the gardens straight away with the entertainment of their family in mind. From this point onwards, they were dedicated to not only the gardens but to Durgan village itself. Charles Fox, in Glendurgan: A Personal Memoir of a Garden in Cornwall, said that “the sense of local community was being involved with the activities of the family”. (4) In 1828 Alfred and Sarah Fox founded the village school in order to establish a sense of community and unity within the village. (5) Alfred and Sarah did not just set up the school but had a continual interest in the individual school children, evident in how they took the time to select the children themselves and their role in the school’s success: “A.Fox to regulate the hours of attendance and every other matter connected with the school”. (6)

There was one instance of Mrs Fox’s kindness towards the village which remained prominent in Sylvia King’s memory. She recalls of a time when a little boy of the village died and how “Mrs Fox came down to Durgan and got all of us children and took us all up to Glendurgan Gardens and asked us to pick all the snowdrops we could and make them in bunches to take up to the funeral. Again I thought it was very nice of her; she didn’t have to.” (7) Events like this and the school show how the Fox family had a genuine interest in the well-being of the village, in particular the children who were to be the future of the village.

The Fox family were admired and respected in the community, with Philip Fox being described as “a hard man but a good friend”. (8) On special occasions they would host gatherings to bring the whole community together to celebrate Durgan village. (9) Their commitment to the community of Durgan was shown to be of upmost importance when they were asked by the district council to turn the small library into a dwelling due to a housing shortage, which they happily agreed to, even designing the dwellings themselves. (10) There are many other examples of their involvement with the Durgan community. A resident of Durgan recalls how she, as a child, along with her friends from Durgan used to go to the cinema in Falmouth every Saturday morning. (11)  “One day…we missed the bus to come home and about ten children started walking home and Mr Fox came along in his little two seater car and he squeezed all of us ten children in and took us home. Again he didn’t have to, he could have waved and gone on.” (12)

Later down the generations, the Fox’s became occupied with giving back to the community further afield than Durgan, as Alfred Fox’s nieces, Caroline and Anna Maria show. They founded The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in Falmouth which aimed “to promote innovation in the arts and sciences” and many other family members subsequently became part of the society, for example Mr and Mrs Cuthbert Fox. (13)

From one of Alfred Fox’s books, Two Homes, it is clear that the gardens and Glendurgan were well loved; “its cottages snuggle under their warm thatched roofs which, like most picturesque things, are passing away to be replaced by sheets of corrugated iron.” This is an indication of how Alfred Fox used Glendurgan gardens to preserve the natural beauty of the area and to limit the speed of change through industrialisation in the village. The Fox’s transformed the typical Cornish landscape of Durgan into a sub-tropical garden full of exotic plants from Mexico and South Africa, facilitated by their shipping connections. He viewed his creation as a sanctuary to get away from his business roles in Falmouth and as a place to engage in family time, and on many occasions he noted in his diary that he would take walks and replant areas of the gardens. (14) When the gardens came under ownership of the National Trust in 1962, this vision was secured into the near future. (15) Phillip Fox expands on this belief by saying, “but how proud Alfred would be to see Glendurgan now, nearly 200 years on and still in good shape, largely thanks to the stewardship of the National Trust.” (16)

The community viewed themselves as one unit and an integral part of the creation of Glendurgan gardens. The development into a National Trust site is shown to be a two-way relationship as one local resident expressed, “we in Mawnan feel very grateful for our share in the National Trust for places of historic interest”. (17)

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1 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.59
2 G.C.Fox & CO- 1762-1962: Summary of the history of the Fox’s business - Booklet to celebrate their bi-century in 1962
3 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.63
4 Charles Fox, Glendurgan: A Personal Memoir of a Garden in Cornwall, p.50
5  Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.60
6 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.60
7 Sylvia King interview, 10th February 2015, 7m20s
8 A love letter from Frank Stephens to Gillents Stephens, 5th January 1919
9 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), pp.56-63
10 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965
11 Sylvia King interview, 10th February 2015, 7m20s
12 Sylvia King interview, 10th February 2015, 7m20s
13 The Poly, Falmouth, ‘Our Mission’, http://thepoly.org/about-us/our-mission/, (Last accessed 1st February 2015); Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, The History of the Port of Falmouth, Reports 118-122
14 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), pp.61-65
15 BBC, ‘Discover Cornwall: Glendurgan Gardens’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/content/articles/2007/04/06/gardens_glendurgan_feature.shtml ,(Last accessed 2nd February 2015)
16 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), p.60
17 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965

Storms in Durgan?

pre-storm

Pre-storm view, from Sylvia King's personal collection

post-storm

Post-storm view, from MEI Online (http://www.min-eg.com/falmouth.htm)

Durgan is an area that is not commonly affected by severe storms, however there has been one instance in January 1916 which had an austere impact on the village. (1) There was a huge gale of south easterly winds. This caused both of Durgan’s quays to be partly washed away as well as part of the cliff, taking a piece of the road away. (2) The cliff path running up to the houses was also destroyed by the weather. (3)

Sylvia King describes how, a few years ago, the National Trust, when clearing out the top of the road, found some steps. (4) Initially they were unaware of what they were but soon realised that they were the steps connecting the little path that went up to the road. (5) See pictures below of before and after the storm, where it can be seen that the steps had disappeared.

There was also a great storm that occurred in the surrounding area, in January/February 1990. (6) Numerous trees came down in the local area and many people went without power – and at one stage they, “cut Mawnan Smith off from the outside world”. (7)

These are the only known weather event in Durgan to have significantly affected the landscape, however there have been instances of the weather events affecting members of the Durgan community outside of Durgan.

In one instance, a local midwife had received an extremely urgent call that necessitated driving by the river. (8) It was January 1965 and there had been bad local flooding. (9) She recalls: “I was in such a haste that I drove into floodwater and got stranded. I got out of the car, water up to my ankles, hurried to the nearest farmhouse and knocked on the door.” (10) After this event, she recalled that life in Durgan was interesting and “a happy one… [with] the beauty of the countryside to act as a balm for one’s tired spirit.” (11) This suggests that Durgan was more of a safe haven than an area constantly disrupted by storms.

Although there has not been a historical prevalence of storm damage and weather events, it is clear that it is an issue that the National Trust are conscious of. For example, in October 1999, there was a scheme to stabilise the access road to Durgan. This was a precautionary element yet it signifies that change is occurring in Durgan’s landscape and there is a need to preserve this. This preservation was closely monitored to ensure that it would not have a negative effect on the community. It seems to have been successful as a keen sense of community in the area remains present.

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1 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
2 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
3 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 7m41s – 8m36s
4 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 7m41s – 8m36s
5 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 7m41s – 8m36s
6 West Briton, 1st February 1990
7 West Briton, 1st February 1990
8 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965
9 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965
10 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965
11 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965

Durgan as a Safe Haven

WI_scrapbook_Golden_Jubilee
Image taken from Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook Golden Jubilee, 1965, found at the Cornish Record Office

 

Durgan has long been known for its tranquillity and peace, from acting as a safe haven for the community during times of dearth to simply offering an escape from the everyday hum drum of city life.  There are many instances where the small village of Durgan has provided unbounded refuge; many such occasions include during storms, gales and simply everyday life.

Talking with local resident, Sylvia King, it has become clear that Durgan has only really been affected by one storm, the storm of 1916. The residents of Durgan have always felt “sheltered” and fortunate to live in in such a “nice safe haven”. (1) However, Durgan did not simply act as a safe haven because of its fortunate geographical location, the community itself may have often felt like a safe foundation. From the Fox family through to the school children.

The Fox family were actively involved in creating and maintaining the image of a safe haven. The Fox Shipping Agents towed wrecked ships back to shore during the worst storms; at times some of them gave way to horror and loss of life, but most were successfully saved.  For example, the West Briton on the 3rd of January 1952 reported “a storm with gales of violence not experienced for well over 20 years”,  where in heavy seas “G.C. Fox and C.O LTD the Falmouth shipping agents, […] had their busiest time for some years dealing with ship crews and owners”. (2) The report went on to say that the “Falmouth district was fortunate to escape serious damage during the gales”; the Fox family returned those in danger to shelter.  (3) The sense of community was very much interlinked with the activities of the family. (4)

Sylvia King, again, recounts how the village community acted as a refuge during her childhood. Sylvia whilst telling the story of her walk to school noted that “nobody went to school unless everybody was there, we looked after each other”. (5)  Just this simple act of solidarity from the school children in Durgan emphasises the sense of security the village fostered. This sense of security and refuge may well continue to this day: “even people up in London, you know, siting at a board room they say oh yes, we have got a holiday cottage” in Durgan. (6) This suggests that those who visit Durgan on holiday feel proud to be part of the community, even if for a short while. (7)

This indicates that despite the “metamorphosis of Durgan from a busy fishing cove, to today, with its emphasis on the tourist trade”, the real identity of the village has not altered. (8) It may still be a close knit, proud community: “we were all equal”, “we cared for each other”. (9)

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1 Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 10m 32s
2 The West Britain and Royal Cornwall Gazette, Thursday January 3rd 1952
3 The West Britain and Royal Cornwall Gazette, Thursday January 3rd 1952
4 Charles Fox, ‘A personal memoir of a garden in Cornwall’, Glendurgan, p.50
5 Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 17m 39s
6 Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 16m 20s
7 Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 15m 45s
8 Mawnan Local History Group, The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South 9 Cornwall Parish, (Wellington, 2002), P. 34
9 Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 2m 47s ; Sylvia King, Interview, 10th February 2015, 2m 57s

Durgan during World War II

Although there was no physical damage, during World War II (1939-1945), Durgan village was the scene of much activity. (1) The once quite village was changing to accommodate a second front and a military patrol zone. (2) Most of the activity however, took place away from Durgan village, on the Helford River which cut Durgan off from its livelihood and traditions. (3) With its community spirit, the village was able to come together to help with the war effort. Nonetheless, this time was very solemn and brought home to everyone in the village the tremendous importance of the war. (4)

Everyday life of the residents of Durgan became increasingly difficult as the war went on. The police and military soldiers began to guard the area and it became mandatory for identity cards to be produced when going into or out of Durgan. (5) This made it very hard for friends and family to visit the village and many did not even try to. (6) Binoculars were banned and roads and lanes were strictly supervised. (7) All of these measures however were put in place to protect the village from the threat of the enemy. Additionally, soldiers came round with iron tables for every home which acted as a shelter in the event of a bombing raid on the area. (8) From this, it is clear that the war became a part of Durgan life and village residents had to adapt for a period of time and accommodate for these changes.

Trebah PierThe image, above, of Trebah Pier, is from The Book of Mawnan: Celebrating a South Cornwall Parish (p.32), and shows the temporary jetty which was designed for the Normandy assault on 6th June 1944. Trebah was the beach next to Durgan and shows how the landscape was altered during the war.

Many in the community of Durgan did their part to help the war effort, and certain members had a very large impact. (9) The men of Durgan were more likely to have been involved in the physical side of war, including producing armaments. For example, Mr Badger travelled from his home in Durgan to Falmouth Boat Construction Yard everyday where he fitted Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs) and Motor Launchers (MLs). (10) Women in the community however were more involved in making sure the village morale was kept high and the people in Durgan were not being brought down by what was going on around them. There were many morale boosting concerts that were held in Mawnan Memorial Hall and Women’s Institute activities involving the whole community, many of which Mrs Rendle of Durgan played a large role in, as she spent a lot of her time participating and running these events. (11) The Fox Family also undertook acts which contributed to the war effort, with Mr Fox later being awarded the Military Cross. (12) Mrs Fox also organised the meeting of the women in the community to knit gloves amongst other items of clothing to send away to for the war. (13)

Durgan Children

The children of Durgan were extremely sheltered from the war. Sylvia King, a resident of Durgan as a child during World War II, describes how she “thought it was wonderful” and did not realise that a war was going on. She mentions one particular time on a summer’s evening, when playing on the beach, enemy aircraft flew low up the river and dropped bombs onto the workers of Trebah Pier which was the next beach on from Durgan. (14) Luckily no one was hurt but it shows the innocence of the children and how sheltered they were from war despite it occurring all around them. This image, taken from Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951, shows some of the children who lived in Durgan throughout World War II.

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1 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
2 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
3 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 8m48s
4 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
5 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
6 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
7 Mawnan Smith Women’s Institute Scrapbook, 1951
8 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 9m35s
9 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 12m19s
10 Sylvia King Personal Memoir, ‘Another Pill Box’
11 Sylvia King Personal Memoir, ‘Another Pill Box’
12 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 12m50s
13 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 13m30s
14 Sylvia King Personal Memoir, ‘Another Pill Box’; Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 9m

What Does the Future Hold for Durgan?

It is clear that Durgan is still a thriving village despite its change in purpose. Currently “it’s providing for the present day population; they want holiday cottages and they have holiday cottages. And they feel part of the community when come down there. So can’t really see much change.” (1) With the National Trust maintaining the conservation of the village and the area, they ensure that the community keeps its sense of identity by making sure the permanent lets are given “to a family with young children”. (2) The success of this is reflected by the fact that the families who permanently live in Durgan are involved in all of the village events. (3)

For instance, “at Christmas time they have a Christmas tree down there for all the children who are…staying over Christmas and Father Christmas comes ashore in a boat, and [the] Easter bunny comes ashore at Easter time.” (4) The sense of community is further demonstrated as these traditions are newly created by the residents of today. Although most of the village is now used for holiday homes, “it’s still a nice, you know although people don’t live down there…the people who do have any connection with it, still come down and remember it.” (5) This shows that Durgan and its history lives on through the landscape and the sense of ‘home’ that this brings.

Other than the persistent sense of community, Durgan’s future is rather unknown, with one resident commenting, “I don’t know, things aren’t planned are they? They just happen. And the National Trust have got a hold on things, so you know, they could envisage what’s going to happen in the future.” (6) Despite this uncertainty, what we do know is that there has been a transition which has taken place in Durgan, yet it remains an active community with events such as the Regatta being held annually, meaning that parts of Durgan’s identity have remained.

Through more recent research however, it is clear that the physical landscape of Durgan may face unprecedented challenges of a changing climate, and Durgan has to adapt to this change in order to work with, not against, nature.

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1 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m
2 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m
3 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m
4 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m
5 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m
6 Sylvia King, interview 10th February 2015, 5m – 6m

About the Project

As well as being part of the larger project on the impact of climate change on heritage management and community connection to place, our project contributed to our undergraduate studies for our history degree. When we were first given the brief of the project, we knew relatively little about Durgan and the surrounding area so we were really eager to delve into the history of this small village. The duration of the Durgan village project was one year.

Initially, the three main aspects of our project were:
1)    Possible historic storms that affected Durgan and changed the way of life in the village
2)    Glendurgan Gardens
3)    The Fox family
From this, the idea was to look at change over time and how measures could be implemented to prevent further damage. As you can see from the website, our research has found Durgan to be in a fortunate geographic position, meaning that they are rarely ever affected by severe storms.
However, a significant part of Durgan village is its sense of community. We found this to be extremely heart-warming and it was interesting to learn how the Fox family played a huge role in keeping the community together.

Our project is mainly based upon archival material found at the Cornwall Record Office in Truro, the history society at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (POLY) in Falmouth, and Redruth Cornish Studies Library. We would also like to extend our thanks and acknowledgement to a former resident of Durgan, Sylvia King, who gave us invaluable knowledge and insight and without her willingness to share her stories, our project would not be complete.

Due to the scale of the project, it was only viable for our research to cover Durgan. However, during our research we came across many areas of the project that we would have liked to research further and we would have expanded the project had we more time. One of the main areas would have been to link Durgan with other villages along the Helford River to explore the interaction between the villages and the river, and also assessing whether these other villages were affected any differently by storms.

We have come up with an additional set of questions for those who wish to continue investigating Durgan village and its community.
1)    How have the Fox family connections affected the larger story of Cornwall?
2)    Would there be any chance that Durgan, with the right management, could be restored to its former days as a fishing hamlet to re-establish the self-sustaining community?
3)    Is Durgan at risk from storm damage in the future because of the global climate change?