The St Just & St Mawes Heritage Group was formed in 2007 by Alan January and Dawn Andrews with the aim of providing a means of collecting and recording the history of the parish of St Just in Roseland.
Shortly after this, following the death of Professor Philip Dark, a resident of St Mawes, the Parish Council was left a huge collection of his photographs. These were given to the Heritage Group for our collection. At this time, we had no premises and so we decided that the only way to make these more widely available was to create a web site. Dawn set up our first web site, digitalising Professor Dark’s photos and soon contributions of pictures and memories started arriving from far and wide in this country and abroad. Later, a Facebook page enabled more pictures, comments, identifications and conversations to be displayed. Another large collection of post cards and photos was given to us by local artist and photographer, Brenda Pye, and these were also added to our growing collection.
For three or four years we put on local exhibitions each autumn for a week as part of the Roseland Festival. These were very popular with many local people and visitors; they focussed on different aspects of village life and history, and you can see the photos from these exhibitions on this web site. We also provided talks and began organising projects to involve the children at St Mawes School.
The next big change came in 2013 when two red telephone boxes in St Mawes became redundant and the Parish Council was offered them for £1 each. The Heritage Group saw the potential for these to become permanent exhibition spaces and since that date, with the help of one of our members Yvonne Fuller, we have put themed photographic exhibitions in the boxes each year. You can see the photos from these exhibitions here on the web site.
By 2014, we had a committee of eight Trustees, we had a constitution and had become a registered charity able to claim gift aid. We also set up a membership so that our supporters could become more involved.
In 2015, Brenda Pye died and very generously left us the top two floors of her home, Pomerys Garage, on the understanding that her sitting room would become an art gallery displaying her large collection of modern Cornish art and the rest of the floor we could use for heritage purposes.
We could not have found a better site for a permanent place for a heritage centre, with the gig boats on the ground floor and the old petrol pumps outside. We have now cleared the building and with the Roseland Gig Club are embarking on a massive project to renovate the property.