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Redruth’s Woolly Wonder: Tolgus the Lamb Debuts a Dazzling New Cape!

Redruth Town Council uses The Lamb and Flag as its emblem building on a heritage of use in the town for hundreds of years though its origin remains widely debated. Historians believe the symbol first appeared in the wool trade during the Middle Ages. By the 19th century, people associated a lamb with purity due to its Christian connotations and used it in the mining trade to indicate the purity of the metal they were producing – the smelters stamped each ingot with the sign of the lamb and the St Piran flag was added to indicate its Cornish origin. Both copper and tin were very important in Cornwall, with various mines in the Redruth, Pool and Camborne area being the largest in the world for each of these minerals.

Soon other smelting houses began using this or similar marks. Traditionally, they stamped the Pelican on tin sent to non-Christian countries. They also used a Phoenix, a Stag, and other devices on ingots. These emblems were not officially registered trademarks protected by law, so in 1908, the Cornish smelters became annoyed when a company in Chile also used the Lamb and Flag.

More recently, Redruth Town Council has proudly adopted the lamb as our mascot in the form of Tolgus, our huge fibreglass lamb who you might bump into in the Library or on festival days.

Tolgus wears many themed outfits during Redruth’s festivals: Mr Murdoch, a Cornish Miner, and even a Spaceman. However, he didn’t have an everyday outfit for when there isn’t a festival or themed event happening in Redruth. In partnership with Redruth Library, Redruth Town Council organised a competition for the community of Redruth to design Tolgus‘s everyday outfit. We received several entries, all of which were wonderful, but the winner chosen by Redruth Library was young Redruthian Enid.

With the design chosen, members of the Library and Engagement teams started work on making Enid’s vision into a reality. First, the team picked a material that closely matched the ‘Redruth Red’ and some teal yarn for the finer details. After selecting these, we cut out the pattern pieces using a previous outfit and made a mock-up, just to make sure of the fit. The team then went digital, moving onto the drawing and writing itself. 

Our very talented team isolated the lines in Illustrator, before enlarging them to fit the cape nicely. We tried a couple of different sizes and positions for each element Enid wanted. This gave us a number of layouts, but eventually, the team settled on a final version. Using transfer paper, the team drew the design onto the fabric ready for stitching. 

Once this was ready, we began stitching the design with a simple back stitch, tracing all the lines. When this was complete, we went over this with a whip-stich. This not only emboldened the stitch, but also made the design more visible and uniform. It took three members of staff multiple hours over a couple of weeks to complete this step, but with the final result within reach, it was more than worth it. 

Edith and her family attended the outfit’s reveal at Redruth Library and Enid was very happy with the end result.

If you want to view the design, please visit Redruth Library. Tolgus is standing by the window proudly wearing either his new outfit or his Festival dress. 

You can also view the process in the video below!


Make sure to check out other interesting stories in Redruth via our News page. Or read more about Redruth in our Blog


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