Heritage Open Day
Tintagel Old Post Office and the adjoining building that is Tintagel Women's Institute were once part of the same farm complex and both saved from demolition by a group of determined locals. For this year's Heritage Open Day, we will once again link arms with Tintagel W.I. to celebrate inspirational female writers and their links to the local area.
The free exhibition will take place in The Gift House, which is the W.I. hall next door to Tintagel Old Post Office on Saturday 15 September, 10.30am-4pm. Please note that normal admission charges still apply to Tintagel Old Post Office. Members visit for free.
This exhibition will involve looking closer at local female writers or writers from further afield who have links to the local area. It is also a chance to sit down with the W.I. ladies for a cup of tea and a slice of cake before discovering over six hundred years of history at Tintagel Old Post Office next door.
The Gift House was once a farm building, possibly a stable block for the small manor house that is now called 'the Old Post Office' due to its brief use as a letter-receiving office for the village in the 1870s. When the building stopped being a post office, the owners were looking to sell the house and the fear among local people was that it would be demolished to make room for the construction of a guesthouse to accommodate the growing number of tourists to Tintagel during the Victorian period, owing to the expansion of the railways into Cornwall.
A group of locals led by Ms Catherine Johns managed to raise funds and buy both buildings as two lots at a nearby auction in 1895. Catherine Johns bought both on the grounds that means would be found to preserve them. She gave The Gift House (hence the name) to the Women's Institute as she had many female friends in the village. The Old Post Office was restored to its former glory after several artists sold their paintings and prints - which featured the house - to help fund restoration work between 1896-1900.
The National Trust bought the house from Catherine Johns in 1903 with money raised through public appeal. Over a hundred years later we continue to celebrate this shared history with the W.I. and the remarkable woman that was Catherine Johns.