Cornwall LivingIssue #73

Way back when – Porthleven Harbour 1911

A look at life on the coast in days gone by.

The inner harbour of Porthleven, circa 1911.

We love delving into the past to reveal a glimpse what life in Cornwall was like in yesteryear. In this issue, we visit the home of Cornwall Living, instantly recognisable by the iconic clock tower of the Bickford-Smith Institute, completed circa 1884, and the castellated Coastguard Station, built in 1866, perched on the hillside – both still stand today.

The UK’s most southerly port, the stone harbour wall was constructed mostly by French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, creating a safe haven for working boats to weather the storms. Despite motorboats largely taking place of the traditional sailing vessels – and more visitors in part due to the blossoming foodie scene – the overall look of the harbour has actually changed very little in the last 100 years. Porthleven still has an active fishing fleet, selling fresh fish from the side of the quay.

If you want to find out more about its history, take the Porthleven Town Trail. Look out for wall plaques dotted around the harbour detailing historic buildings of note, including the fish curing stores, the china clay store, the lime kiln, and the lifeboat house.

Source: Francis Frith & Co


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