The Poly

24 Church St, Falmouth : 01326 319461
The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society

What's On Calendar

Have a look at the calendar text here to see what's coming up.

Latest news 

Further to the exciting news about The Poly winning a Cornwall Heritage Award, we have some additional information to share.

Professor Mike Jenks as put together an article that summarises the Robert Were Fox Celebrations last year, which comprised the Blue Plaque unveiling and Paul Smales Lecture about The Poly Dipping Needle. We also have a film of the lecture that took place that day. Follow the links to find out more...

A Blue Plaque for Robert Were Fox, by Professor Mike Jenks

The Paul Smales Lecture 2021, by Professor Edward Gillin.

22/2/22


 

Photograph of Michael Carver by Gavan Goulder

The Poly's Dipping Needle wins a Cornwall Heritage Award!

The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (The Poly) is celebrating winning ‘Object of the Year’ at the 2022 Cornwall Heritage Awards.

The award was for The Poly Dipping Needle Compass, a rare working 19th century magnetic dipping needle, which is a unique type of compass that enabled ships to traverse the seas safely. It was designed by The Poly Chairman Robert Were Fox. As a Quaker, a ‘dissenter,’ Fox had been excluded from the scientific elites of London and the universities. Despite this, his genius invention brought Cornwall to the fore of scientific discovery.

The performance of Fox’s dipping needles in locating the South Magnetic Pole secured unprecedented fame for the instruments. It ensured they became the standard issue for subsequent naval expeditions tasked with expanding Britain’s magnetic survey and the Admiralty selected it for the Ross’s Antarctic expedition in 1839 - with Fox’s needles on both Terror and Erebus.

In recent years, the Dipping Needle caught the interest of Cambridge academic, Dr Edward Gillin, who went through the archives of The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society to uncover its story. Through extensive further research, Dr Gillin plotted its pivotal role in Britain’s maritime history and thus the development of the British Empire. He then corroborated his findings by taking the object on a ship round the world and was astounded by its accuracy when cross-checking it against the original measurements taken during the Magnetic Crusade. Dr Gillin’s research provided evidence that The Poly was at the forefront of innovation since its 1833 founding and helped make Cornwall a global leader in discovery in the nineteenth century. The Poly hopes it will raise public interest in a time when Falmouth’s role in science was critical and inspire younger generations to think about science and technology.                                                                 

Thanking all those who had voted for the Needle, Michael Carver accepted the award on behalf of The Poly saying; “The Dipping Needle became the most important scientific instrument in the early Victorian era. 

“For the first time, people were able to navigate really accurately because the needle told the difference between magnetic and true north.”

The Cornwall Heritage Awards were organised by Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP). The award ceremony took place at the Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge on 9th February and featured nine categories. This year CMP turned the spotlight on ‘inclusion’ by drawing public attention to objects in museum collections that tell previously untold stories - or stories that need retelling from a unique perspective, offering an opportunity to give those overlooked and marginalised stories a voice.

Decided by a public vote, this recognition of The Poly’s Dipping Needle Compass is especially poignant as it serves as a fitting tribute to the memory of Robert Were Fox and his family, who set up The Poly for the benefit of the community - aiming to promote artistic, historical and scientific endeavour.

Further information on The Poly Dipping Needle Compass can be found in a free booklet available from The Poly and Falmouth Art Gallery.  Or see an online version of the booklet HERE.

21/2/2022

 

 

The future of Theatre at the Poly!

Like many arts facilities, The Poly is full of vigour and striving to return to a full programme after the closures caused by the pandemic. 

During the months of closure, the Board took the opportunity to appoint surveyors to carry out health and safety checks on the Grade II listed building. During this consultation period it was determined improvements were needed before The Poly could be fully reopened. These works include upgrading technical equipment, such as lighting and electrics to meet current standards, repairs to the Main Gallery's ceiling and improvements to the dressing rooms, which are suffering from damp.

As with many buildings of its age, The Poly was found to have an area containing asbestos, located backstage, which will be taken out in the ongoing works. Although air and fabric tests in the auditorium revealed no asbestos present, its professional removal will be a prudent safeguard going forward. 

Some of the planned works have already been carried out, with other essential works to be completed after Christmas. The aim is for the theatre to be open from early 2022, initially for an extensive programme of films. All other performances will continue to be held in the Main Gallery until the theatre is fully open. 

A working group has been appointed to draw up plans for the complete refit of the theatre including renovating the backstage area, updating technical systems and creating better access to the performance spaces.

Where you come in!

We would like to hear from you to help us better understand how The Poly has been used in the past and what we need to do to ensure its future as a vibrant public space.

Below are a series of questions which will help inform our thinking. Please take a look and answer some, or all of the questions - or add your own comments on anything else you think we should know.

We would also like to invite you to a Consultation Day on Wednesday 1st Dec, from 1pm to 5pm. This will be a chance for you to come in, talk to us and view some of the plans we have been drawing up. If you can’t make it then and would like to come in another time, please let us know. We will also be organising other events going forward.

This is an ongoing process, which may change the more we learn. 

Thank you for your support. Your views are important to us and we look forward to welcoming you back to future events at The Poly.

You and the Poly.

Looking forward and aiming to improve the facilities at The Poly, it would be useful to build up a picture of how the stage and auditorium has been utilised, both in recent years (pre-Covid) and further back in our history. With this in mind, we are currently seeking input for this from a range of users including clients, volunteers and members.  

We have put together some questions below and would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback. We are particularly interested in hearing about the usage of the stage from a performer’s perspective, and from personnel involved in events from organisers to ushers.

  • How have you been involved in shows at The Poly? (visitor/performer/organiser/other?) When was this?
  • If you have been involved as a performer/organiser, what was the average size of your company delivering the show? Has your show featured under 18s?
  • Have the changing area facilities been adequate for the number of performers?
  • Has the lighting and audio/visual systems provided been adequate for you needs. If not, what was lacking? How could it have been improved?
  • Have you found the physical space on stage adequate? Have you made use of the orchestra pit?
  • Access to the auditorium and stage area have been highlighted as major issues, has the lack of disabled access impacted you personally? Or has it affected the shows in which you are involved?
  • Are there any other comments regarding to how the stage and auditorium and building are used you wish to bring to our attention?

Please send your comments, under the title of 'POLY FEEDBACK' to: info@thepoly.org   

25/11/21


The Poly team prepares to ensure a bright future for the much-loved community arts centre. 

Like many arts facilities, The Poly is full of vigour and striving to return to a full programme after the closures caused by the pandemic. 

The venue's two galleries have been open since July, with exhibitions quickly getting back on track - including the popular Members’ Exhibition in the summer. Lockdown may have been a difficult time for many, but there is no denying that it resulted in some incredible artistic output from the community. 

During the months of closure, the Board took the opportunity to appoint surveyors to carry out health and safety checks on the Grade II listed building. During this consultation period it was determined improvements were needed before The Poly could be fully reopened. These works include upgrading technical equipment, such as lighting and electrics to meet current standards, repairs to the Main Gallery's ceiling and improvements to the dressing rooms, which are suffering from damp.

As with many buildings of its age, The Poly was found to have an area containing asbestos, located backstage, which will be taken out in the ongoing works. Although air and fabric tests in the auditorium revealed no asbestos present, its professional removal will be a prudent safeguard going forward. 

Some of the planned works have already been carried out, with other essential works to be completed after Christmas. The aim is for the theatre to be open from early 2022, initially for an extensive programme of films. All other performances will continue to be held in the Main Gallery until the theatre is fully open. 

In the next couple of months, there is much to look forward to at The Poly with a number of events taking place in the lead up to Christmas – including a night of comedy with rising star Lou Sanders, a Christmas Fair and the return of hugely popular Near-ta Theatre Christmas Time Show. The Poly Pottery is continuing to run its popular handbuilding and throwing courses, as well as offering a kiln firing service to the community. The Spring Gallery is busy each week hosting a series of exhibitions, while the Guild shop is offering an even greater selection of handpicked designs. The Falmouth History Archive is also open for pre-booked visits. Please email history@thepoly.org for more details.  

The Poly is also pleased to announce that it will be teaming up with vibrant and innovative local business Wesup, who will be running a cafe and bar on the premises under their food and beverage brand Solskinn. There will be more news on this exciting development very soon. 

As always, The Poly wishes to thank its customers and members for their support. With its long legacy of being at the heart of the community, The Poly looks forward to ensuring a successful future for generations to come.

27/10/21

 

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T: 01326 319461
E: info@thepoly.org

Address:

The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth, TR11 3EG

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© The Poly - The Poly is the trading name of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society Limited, a company limited by guarantee and incorporated in England and Wales with company registration number 03909555 and registered charity number 1081199, with its registered office at 24 Church Street, Falmouth TR11 3EG