PADSTOW KERNOW PLAYERS ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’
Not many people know the story of Charles Dickens’ connections with Cornwall and the special significance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for Padstow.
On returning from a visit to Cornwall & Padstow, Dickens dined with his friend, Dr Miles Marley, in London. They agreed that Marley was an unusual name & Dickens said, “Before the New Year, your name will be a household word!” He then used the name ‘Jacob Marley’ for Scrooge’s partner in ‘A Christmas Carol’, which was finished at the beginning of December 1843 & sold 6,000 copies by Christmas Eve, a record in those days.
Miles’ son, Dr Henry Frederick Marley, born 1831, lived at The Nook (now the Dower House) by Prideaux Place in Padstow & practised there for about 50 years. There is a plaque in St Petroc’s Church commemorating the family. Kernow Players’ late founder, Margaret Brenton put pressure on, until Pam Finlay adapted Dickens’ traditional story to highlight Cornish & particularly Padstow connections & wrote a Prologue set in the home of the Padstow Marley family. (This was in 1996).
Dr Marley’s eight daughters are authentically named & of the ages they would have been in 1883, when the play is set. Adela married Dr Frank Harvey & died in Padstow as recently as 1973. Dickens had one of the Spirits take Scrooge to a Cornish Tinner’s cottage & to a lighthouse, which might have been Trevose.
Fifteen years on Kernow Players are repeating this very special play, with 7 of the original company. It’s a magical story, made even more fascinating by the inclusion of a Padstow Carol; handbells; the White Rose & beautiful music all of which was in existence in 1843; some breathtaking choreography from Trish Daley & Zoe Reskelly; a dazzling array of Victorian costumes; a stunning set & some truly ghostly ghosts.
Kernow Players give three very different & wonderful presentations of their own ‘A Christmas Carol’. An unforgettable one-off at Prideaux Place; everything to maximum effect on the Little Theatre stage, for which it was designed, & finally, in the fabulously re-furbished St Petroc’s Church.