Cornwall LivingIssue #66
Light up, Light up
We hear about one woman’s mission to make the village of Polgooth look sparkly in time for Christmas.
Polgooth Inn, which means ‘goose pond’ in Cornish, is steeped in history. By the 18th Century, the village had the richest mine in the UK and was celebrated for being the greatest tin mine in the world. The inn was used as the Pay House and at one stage, the bar is thought to have been shared with chickens, ducks, the odd horse and, more recently, a crisp-eating sheep named Bubbles!
“… the pub has its very own kitchen garden, with herbs, vegetables and salad growing in it…”
Now, this beautiful rural valley pub near St Austell offers comfortable, relaxed surroundings and a warm, friendly atmosphere. It’s a lovely little spot, and whether it’s catching up with friends over a glass of wine or a pint, enjoying a quick lunchtime bite, or sitting down for an extended evening dinner with the whole gang, nothing is too much trouble for
This winter, if you’re out and about walking the dog, you’re both guaranteed a warm welcome, so why not pop in and make the most of the cosy open fires? The menu, which is characterised by the sheer wealth of options includes everything from traditional pub classics, to the chefs’ own seasonal signature dishes, and all makes the most locally grown produce. In fact, the pub has its very own kitchen garden, with herbs, vegetables and salad growing in it – it doesn’t get any fresher than that!
What really makes Polgooth stand out, however, is that it’s a family run community pub, ran by staff who really listen to their customers. Indeed, Landlord and Landlady, Alex and Tanya Williams work very closely with the surrounding community, which resulted in the village enjoying its very first Christmas lights switch on last year!
Back in 2013, Tanya began fundraising with the genius idea of running ‘Locals Take Over’ evenings. These consisted of Polgooth’s locals running the pub for an evening and included the cooking, washing up and waiting as well as running the bar and cellar. While this took weeks of planning, training and a lot of trust, Tanya tells us: “It was a roaring success and raised more than £3,000!”
After this, the hope was that the Christmas lights could get underway, however after spending most of 2014 drowning in parperwork, it was deemed impossibly due to the lack money, lack of support from the utility companies and general health and safety issues.
“I had almost given up, when a group of locals offered their support to do another ‘Locals Take Over.’ They wanted to raise more money and try again, so in 2015 we did and managed another £2,000 and more!”
This time round, to make it happen, Tanya began thinking outside the box. “If I could encourage every resident to display Christmas lights at the front of their properties, we could have a sparkly village, without the health and safety nightmare of before.
“We flyer dropped to every property, purchased 80 sets of 80-metre long lights and began the mission. With the cash raised, we also purchased a huge village Christmas tree, with stand and lights, and with the money left over, we helped to pay for the residents’ lights. Once all of that was sorted, we could have our switch on party!”
To the party, Tanya and her team of helpers invited the eldest resident and youngest resident to do the official switching on of the lights – the first of their kind in Polgooth! “We had complimentary mulled wine, mince pies, roasted chestnuts, and we even had the local community choir singing some carols!”
Now in its second year, Tanya’s Christmas lights initiative now has an additional 55 properties involved. She says: “I cannot tell you how amazing our wonderful little village looks.”
The Polgooth Inn is all about joining the community in whatever means possible. In the seven years of being there, Tanya has donated always been heavily involved in helping the local community. Tanya finishes by explaining: “It’s a wonderful village to be a part of, and we can’t help but get involved!”
"... the pub has its very own kitchen garden, with herbs, vegetables and salad growing in it..."