I’m delighted to announce the publication of my book, A Cornish Cargo, available to buy now on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition. The Huguenots were the original refugees and I’m donating £1 from every copy sold to Sanctuary Hosting, a charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers.
The past is made up of the stories of ordinary people, most of them long forgotten. Like the television series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and ‘A House Through Time’, A Cornish Cargo is part social history, part detective story. It is the true account of how the fortunes of one family changed as a result of the Industrial Revolution, when the world was transformed by the power of steam.
Part 1 is set in Cornwall and tells the story of how, in 1835, an enterprising sailor named Sharrock Dupen moved to Hayle to become the steward on the new paddle steamer service that connected Cornwall to Bristol and the rest of England.
Twenty years later his sons followed him to sea. Part 2 follows them as they set out to seek their fortunes across the world. George sailed as mate on a clipper carrying emigrants to Australia but jumped ship in Madras to become a successful coffee planter in the hills of southern India. John was apprenticed as an engineer and joined the navy, serving on Queen Victoria’s guard ship before going to war with his gunboat in the Malay state of Perak. In 1873 their youngest brother, Ernest, joined the merchant service as a ship’s engineer, keeping a logbook that charted his voyages carrying tea from China, gold miners to Australia, and pilgrims to Mecca. Their sisters also took advantage of the new steamships and railways, leaving home to pursue successful teaching careers that challenge the traditional view of the downtrodden governess.
The family history of the Dupens takes us on a voyage of discovery that will resonate with anyone who has inherited their own cargo of keepsakes and myths.