Sir Arthur Carkeek
Public works architect and committed Methodist
12th February, 1933
St Day Road cemetery, Redruth
Arthur Carkeek was born in Redruth in 1861, in to a family made wealthy by the efforts of his father, Morgan James, who had returned to the UK after his own father - a decorated officer in the Napoleonic Wars - had settled in Australia.
Arthur entered the family building business when he was 24 years old, and one of his first projects was the construction of Trewirgie Schools in Redruth. It is reported that when digging the foundations of the school, he came upon granite just below the surface, and this is the material which was used to construct the buildings in an economical way! Later projects include sewage works in Truro and Redruth/Camborne, construction of the Midland Bank premises in Truro and Redruth, and development of the railway line between Truro and Newquay, which opened in 1903.
His politics were Liberal, he was a life-long tee-totaler, and had a very long association with Fore Street United Methodist church - now demolished, but situated on the site of the Flowerpot car park in the town - and was the Treasurer of the Sunday School there for more than 40 years.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, he was very active in the recruiting campaign, and for this, alongside his other public works, he was knighted in 1916. He was a member of Cornwall Council for more than 30 years, and at the time of his death he was the Chairman, having overseen many projects in the County, including improvements of the road to Lands End from Penzance, development of the Torpoint ferry terminal and had fulfilled an important advisory role in the building of secondary schools in Cornwall.
The family lived at the Penventon (now a hotel) from 1893 until Sir Arthur passed away. He had five children - three sons and two daughters - with his first wife, Anne, who pre-deceased him, and is buried here. Their eldest child, Arthur Leslie Carkeek, was sadly killed at his home in west Trewirgie, along with his wife Dorothy, during a bombing raid in World War Two. Arthur Leslie and his wife are buried in St Euny churchyard (near to where they were living at the time of their death), and details of the bombing-raid on Redruth can be found on the local history blog at: djwilson22-random-bits-of-history.