Francis Edwards is an historical writer and author of The Camborne Riots of 1873: An Eyewitness Account, a fictionalised version of one of the bloodiest events in Camborne’s history.
I moved away from Camborne over fifteen years ago and now live with my family in Oxfordshire. When growing up in Camborne I played cricket, rugby and had a variety of humdrum manual jobs when I wasn’t on the dole. Being on the dole happens a lot in Camborne. I later completed a BA in English Literature at Aberystwyth University and an MA in English at Exeter University.
When my current employer decided to put me on furlough – I work shifts as a shopfitter – I completed the novel I’d been wanting to write for some time. I’ve been wanting to write several novels for some time, all set in Cornwall, all historical.
This novel is The Camborne Riots of 1873: An Eyewitness Account. It’s the kind of story that, like Camborne itself, you’re unlikely to find in any tourist guide on Cornwall. It also happens to be, in my opinion, one of the greatest shows of mining defiance in Cornish history, and it’s all but forgotten.
Basically, in October 1873, Camborne’s miners rioted against a hated, authoritarian police force, and beat them out of town. They ransacked the Town Hall and Police Station, and exacted numerous assaults on the various constables. The militia were summoned to quell the insurrection, the Home Secretary was kept informed of events, and the entire Camborne police force was removed from duty. No rioter was ever convicted.
My ambition now is twofold: to promote what I believe to be an important historical event and to see my novel published.