House’s colourful cast from the past

After spending 18 months researching the history of one of Cornwall’s Grade II listed buildings—Zimapan, in Tregullow, Scorrier, near Redruth—British-Dutch freelance family-and-house researcher Peter King Smith has uncovered a rich source of wealthy, famous and eccentric people among its former owners and occupants.

Fascinating secrets about the former count house Zimapan, once owned by the Williams family of Scorrier19th century mining mogulshave been uncovered by translator-editor and researcher Peter King Smith, a graduate of Bangor University now living in the Netherlands.

Peter’s interest in the house was sparked off after his Welsh mother handed him an old postcard of Zimapan dated 1928, and asked him to find out about her grandfather, Walter Parsons Thomas, who had moved from Anglesey to live in Zimapan in the early 1920s.

After six months researching his great-grandfather, Peter’s interest shifted to researching the entire history of the house and the lives of everyone who had lived in it, or had a legal interest in it. He calls them the ‘Zimapanners’. “Once I’d found out everything about my great-grandfather and shared it with my mum, I felt compelled to find out more about the house and the other people who had lived in it before and after Parsons Thomas, because the house is in a World Heritage Site and has its roots firmly embedded in Cornish mining history”.

Read the complete interview originally published in the West Briton  (16 Sep 2010)

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