Our next stop after the charming village of Mousehole, was the neighbouring town of Newlyn, on the edge of Mount’s Bay overlooking the English Channel…
Status: Cornwall Unitary Authority & County, Town, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Newlyn Harbour, Mount’s Bay, War Memorial, Post Office Building, Royal National Museum to Deep Sea Fishermen, Passmore Edwards Art Gallery etc
We started up on the “Strand”, a coastal road which runs past the main Harbour towards Mousehole further along the coast. You get a fantastic view from here across the Harbour, which has grown so much over the last 100 years.
In the foreground of the picture, over to the right is the original Harbour Pier, which was constructed sometime prior to 1435, when it was rebuilt to it’s current form, aside from numerous revamps. Up until around 1910, it was the only Pier in what was then a much smaller Harbour, with the rest covered by a large beach, where boats would be pulled up to wait until the tide returned and they could float back out. After 1910 two new Piers, one of which is shown behind the original, were constructed, providing shelter for a much larger number of vessels. The second is out of shot over to the right at the other end of the harbour.
Looking across one of the new Harbour Piers, you can see the town of Penzance in the near distance, with the Tower of St Mary’s Church dominating the Skyline. Both Newlyn and Penzance are officially towns, although as Newlyn is the furthest South, is has the taken the impressive title of Britain’s Southernmost town.
Much like Mousehole, Newlyn is a major Fishing Port, and since the new Piers we built a vast fleet, one of the largest in the whole country, has been in residence here, servicing the Fish Market on the quayside. It sits on the edge of Mount’s Bay, which stretches round past Penzance towards St Michael’s Mount, a famous Castle atop a large rock which is cut off from the mainland at high tide.
Walking along the “Strand” we came across a plaque that suggests Newlyn Harbour briefly played host to one of the most famous vessels in history, the Mayflower, which supposedly docked here not long after it left the city of Plymouth in Devon, full of Pilgrims bound for the “New World”. It would later arrive in what would become the modern state of Massachusetts, at Provincetown. Traditionally Plymouth had always been thought of as the last stop in England for the Mayflower, however as the plaque states, historical evidence was unearthed by Bill Best Harris (1914 – 1987) to suggest otherwise. The theory is that the Mayflower stopped here to take on fresh water after an outbreak of Cholera onboard.
Wandering away from the Harbour into what you could call the Town Centre, we came across a few buildings of note, starting with the Post Office (although there were stories it would soon be sold so it may have changed hands since we visited).
According to the news stories about the buildings sale the Post Office itself has “Stood in the same spot for 88 years” which dates the building back to the 1920’s, made out of traditional sandstone by the look of it.
Directly behind the Post Office is a small square, which contains both the Town’s War Memorial, as well as the “Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen”.
The stone sections of the Memorial were sculpted by a local man named Mr Snell during the 1920’s, whilst the bronze panels, which includes a sculpted one at the front of the Memorial out of shot, were the work of L. S. Merrifield. It originally commemorated the fallen of WWI, but was later updated for WWII.
In the background is the Royal National Mission, a charity dedicated to helping Fishermen and their families. The Mission was originally based in neighbouring Penzance, however it moved to Newlyn into it’s new building in 1903, and has remained here ever since. Atop the small Clock Tower is a weather vane in the shape of a sailing ship.
Our final stop was the “Passmore Edwards Art Gallery”, named after John Passmore Edwards (1823 – 1911, Philanthropist from Central Cornwall) who financed the building, designed by James Hicks. The Gallery originally housed the works produced by the Newlyn School of Arts, although today it mainly focuses on Painting/Drawing, with the other works showcased in the Penzance Gallery.
Newlyn is an interesting little town, and although dwarfed slightly by its neighbour Penzance, there is still plenty to give it it’s own character. Slices of history in the Gallery and the supposed arrival of the Mayflower all make Newlyn worth a visit. It has good bus connections on to Penzance, although there are no trains this far, as the Westernmost train station in Britain is in fact at Penzance.
We had one more stop for the day, being the town of Redruth, which coincidentally was the home of James Hicks, who designed the Passmore Gallery…