Jamie Pharoah demonstrates granite dressing in Helston Town Band Room, 2021.
Dr David Paton, explaining the mason's marks at the Grylls Monument in Helston, Water and Stone 2023, CAST. Photo: Molly Deegan, CM Productions.
Dr Ruth Siddall outside CAST, 2021. Photo courtesy Sonia Ahmad
Example of stone in Helston. Photo courtesy David Davies.
Participants of 'On Softer Ground', a walk to Tregonning Hill led by David Paton and Beth Simons, Water and Stone 2023, CAST. Photo: Molly Deegan, CM Productions.
Ruth Siddall's pigment workshop. CAST, 2021.
Richard Wentworth and Ruth Siddall on the guided walk of Helston's built heritage, 2021. Photo courtesy Sonia Ahmad

Water and Stone is a three-day event comprised of walks, talks, workshops and demonstrations celebrating and exploring Helston’s built heritage.

Taking place across three days in September 2021 the first programme of events set out to examine the geological sources of Helston’s exceptionally fine granite buildings and pavements and the relationship between geology and industry that is evident in the town’s network of kennels and opes – all features that contribute to its unique sense of place. The programme was organised by CAST in association with Helston Makes It! The talks in the programme were documented by filmmaker Ollie Smith and are  available to view here and on our YouTube channel.

In October 2023 CAST hosted the second Water and Stone programme, a three-day celebration of granite, exploring the geological formation of the stone and its impact on landscape and built heritage, as well as the ways in which it is shaped by human industry and in turn shapes the lives of those who live and work with it. The programme was led by sculptor, Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University and granite enthusiast Dr David Paton, whose introduction is published here. The talks and The Mason’s Mark walk in central Helston were documented by Cristian Ioja and Molly Deegan of CM Productions, and can be viewed here and on CAST’s YouTube channel.

To coincide with the events in 2023 CAST published The Building Stones of Helston, an illustrated booklet, which offers a guided walk around the historic town centre of Helston, looking back into the deep geological past of the building stones used in the town’s exceptional built heritage. Written by Dr Ruth Siddall with contributions from Beth Simons, David Paton and Nick Collins, the publication was developed from the walk led by Ruth Siddall and David Paton as part of the first Water and Stone in September 2021. Print copies are available to purchase from CAST Café and the Museum of Cornish Life for the sum of £5. A pdf of the publication can be viewed here.

Water and Stone 2021 was supported by FEAST, Helston Town Council, Cornwall Heritage Trust and The Curry Fund. The project was also supported by Cornwall Council’s Community Chest small grants scheme, with individual grants from Councillors Guy Foreman (Helston South & Meneage) and Mike Thomas (Helston North).

The Building Stones of Helston publication was made possible by the generous support of The Curry Fund.

Water and Stone/Dowr ha Men 2023 was made possible by the support of Falmouth University, with FEAST, Cornwall Council, Arts Council England, Cornwall Community Foundation and Helston Town Council. The project was also part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.