Plans to restore poet Jack Clemo's writing desk

Jack Clemo's writing desk
Image caption Museum staff plan to repair the "modest shabby desk" used by Jack Clemo

The tiny desk where Cornish poet Jack Clemo produced a lifetime's work could be restored - 20 years after his death.

Jack Clemo lost his sight as a young man but won several awards and praise for his poetry about Cornwall.

The "modest, shabby" desk, which is currently on view at the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum in St Austell, has wood and hinges missing.

The museum said it hoped restoration work would be completed in the autumn.

A museum spokesperson said it would cost "hundreds of pounds" to restore and hoped to raise the money through donations.

The desk stands at just 3ft (91cm) high and 2.5ft (76cm) wide.

Luke Thompson, from Exeter University who is writing a biography about the poet, said: "He had such a difficult ride and yet all the poetry is about triumph and joy.

"I looked for more information about him but there's very little there. It's a hole in the literary history."

Image copyright Heather Spears/Luke Thompson
Image caption Jack Clemo has been described as an "internationally significant poet" by biographer Luke Thompson
Image caption Work to replace the missing handles and pieces of wood will costs hundreds of pounds

Jack Clemo produced works including Wilding Graft, which won an Atlantic Award and a collection called The Clay Verge released in 1951.

Jo Moore, the curator at Wheal Martyn, said: "It's a very modest, shabby desk. He wrote pretty much all of his work at this desk.

"He never replaced it. It was literally just squeezed into the corner of his house. There are handles and pieces of wood missing. The flap of the desk is no longer kept in place by the hinges."

Jack Clemo was born in Goonmarris Slip, in the heart of St Austell's china clay country, in 1916. He died on 25 July 1994.

Image caption Jack Clemo often featured the china clay industry in Cornwall

His poetry and prose became internationally recognised and in 1951 he won a Festival of Britain prize.

In 1970, he was crowned Poet of the Clay at the Gorsedd - Cornwall's unofficial national assembly.

He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter.

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