A look back at life on the coast in days gone by.
Recently, we were lucky enough to be handed a copy of Porthleven, a comprehensive history. Written by Tony Treglown – in his own words, a proud Porthlevener – this book has something of interest to anyone who has a love for this charming, quintessentially Cornish fishing port.
From shipwrecks of centuries gone by to sea rescue training in the mid 1900s and everything in between, this fascinating volume displays a detailed history of the port, from the 1700s right the way through to present day.
Sadly, Tony passed away just after the book was published, but he was thankfully able to see it in print. Special credit goes to Tony’s wife, Hazel, for typing, scanning and laying out the pages, and Rod Stephens of
www.porthlevenmuseum.org.uk, who played a key part in collecting the book’s beautiful vintage imagery. Porthleven’s own Carla Regler provided the stunning cover image for the book, which you’ll find copies of in her gallery on Chapel Terrace, as well as in Albatross Gallery on the harbourside.
We love to see vintage photography of Cornwall, so here are some of our favourites from Rod’s collection, as featured in the book. You’ll find plenty more in the Porthleven Historic Photographic Collection, which Rod has lovingly displayed on the walls at Out of the Blue free house, Porthleven.
CAPTAIN EDWIN OF THE CONCORD, CIRCA 1898
Captain Edwin’s story is a fascinating one. On his way to Hull, Edwin’s ship was caught in a powerful gale and swept right out into the channel, 40 miles from France. After his son was taken with seasickness, with just one loaf of bread and a turnip, Edwin was forced, singlehandedly, to keep the ship afloat and the two of them alive. Tony’s full account of the tale is well worth a read!
DUTCH VESSEL LIMPS INTO THE HARBOUR
On 4th January 1955, the 300-ton Dutch coaster, the Frisso was caught in a blizzard and holed on rocks near the Lizard, before sluggishly making its way to Mount’s Bay and thankfully being boarded by a crew of Porthleveners and brought to the safety of the harbour.
MAURICE WILLIAMS, A COBBLER AT WORK
This image from circa 1950 shows Maurice Williams, a cobbler, with local men gathered around sharing stories and setting the world to right. The shop was known fondly as ‘the House of Lords’, probably due to the establishment’s clientele. Maurice also led a male voice choir, details of which can be found in the book.
HELICOPTER WINCH RESCUE TRAINING
This image, which was taken circa 1980, depicts a Royal Naval sea rescue helicopter training near Rinsey. According to Tony, an unofficial trick was to touch the rock with the wheels of the helicopter!
WRECK OF THE EBENEEZER
This 13-tonne fishing boat was wrecked on Trigg Rocks on 14th April, 1913, while attempting to sail out of the harbour against a strong south westerly wind. All six of the crew made it ashore safely, climbing ropes and ladders up on the pier.
FISHERMAN TRANSPORTING THE DAY’S CATCH
Fishermen used special wheelbarrows to carry their pots and nets to and from their lofts. This image, which shows a local fisherman transporting his catch, was taken circa 1880 and is typical of Porthleven’s bustling quayside at that time.