Cornish historian Barry West presents a Christmas talk on Charles Dickens in Cornwall at St George’s Church Hall on December 12 from 7.30pm.

Dickens visited Cornwall on several occasions, finding inspiration here for characters and landscapes, and Barry has combed his writing to find references.

In 2017, he made national headlines when he suggested that the ghost of Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol was inspired by a grave in St Endellion churchyard.

As a leading campaigner for workers rights in Cornwall, Barry is also interested in how Dickens used his influence to try and improve the conditions for miners, and especially for the women and children working on the surface.

For instance, Dickens wrote to the Morning Chronicle just before Parliament considered the Mines and Collieries Bill, saying: “For many years, these mines and all belonging to them have been out of sight in the dark earth, have been utterly out of legislative mind, that for so many years all considerations of humanity, policy, social virtue and common decency have been left rotting at the pits mouth.”

Barry appears at the invitation of Truro Old Cornwall Society. President Bert Biscoe said: “Barry West is a hands-on historian, always researching and looking for ways to use what he finds to enhance our knowledge and to enrich our understanding of Cornwall.

“He is, in his own way, as much of a social reformer as Dickens, and I look forward to hearing both about what he has discovered and the passions which he and his subject share.”

Truro OCS meets on the second Tuesday of each month. One and all are welcome to come to meetings and, if they wish, to join the society. Membership costs £12pa and offers social contact, a twice-yearly Journal, a varied range of talks, and involvement in key activities such as the annual St Piran’s Day Parade and the Cornish Carol Services in the Cathedral.