Intriguing inscription from 120 years ago still a puzzle
MYSTERY surrounds the reason why two workmen hid an inscribed piece of wood behind a fireplace.
The relic bore the names of James Smith and Frederic Augustus Richards and was found when the fireplace at the home of Anne Lenten at Bowling Green was removed.
The inscribed piece of pitch pine has been presented to King Edward Mine Museum for safekeeping.
Kingsley Rickard, from the Trevithick Society, said: "Two brothers, Richard and William Charles Stephens, formed R Stephens & Son in 1878, the company later to be better known as Climax Rockdrill & Engineering Co Ltd, and which produced the first rock drill designed and made in Cornwall.
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"The brothers occupied two houses at Roskear – Havelock and Endsleigh – the latter now in the ownership of Cornwall Council.
"Richard lived at Havelock and had installed in it six Carrera marble fireplaces and behind one of them was hidden a piece of pitch pine on which two artisans, James Smith and Frederic Augustus Richards, had inscribed their names and the date, July 15, 1890.
"One fireplace was later removed to Anne Lenten's cottage at Bowling Green but has recently had to be removed.
"Anne Lenten, along with Mike Stephens, the great great grandson of Richard Stephens, were eager that the inscribed piece of timber stayed locally and presented it to King Edward Mine Museum. The two workmen have caused much interest with their actions."
Any West Briton readers who can help further the story of the Climax company are asked to contact Mr Rickard on 01209 716811 or firstname.lastname@example.org