Tintagel: not what you expect

Tintagel, on the north coast of Cornwall, was a no-nonsense, workmanlike sort of place in the mid-1800s. Its children, sons and daughters of slate quarriers, farmers and their labourers, lived hard lives wresting their livelihood from the land and braving the frequent westerly gales that swept in off the Atlantic. The Tintagel children in our … Continue reading Tintagel: not what you expect

Talland and the matchgirls of London

Talland, on the south coast of Cornwall next to Looe shared the fishing village of Polperro with its neighbour Lansallos.  Polperro provided the larger number of the Talland children in our database, three boys and four girls. Although none of them emigrated, these Polperro children did not all live their lives out in the village … Continue reading Talland and the matchgirls of London

St Teath: slate quarrying on two continents

St Teath in the 1860s was Cornwall’s slate capital. The village of Delabole in the parish had grown as the result of the expansion of the former hamlets of Pengelly, Meadrose and Rockhead, which housed the hundreds of quarry labourers who came to work at Delabole Quarry, one of the deepest, if not the deepest, … Continue reading St Teath: slate quarrying on two continents

St Ive: riding the rollercoaster

Outside Cornwall the east Cornish parish of St Ive is liable to be confused with the better-known St Ives in the west. But St Ive experienced a much more dramatic change in the Victorian period than did the stereotypically picturesque St Ives. Within the space of one generation St Ive had been transformed from an … Continue reading St Ive: riding the rollercoaster

St Columb Minor: full circle at Newquay

Newquay, in the parish of St Columb Minor, is now one of Cornwall’s largest towns. With its surfing and music festivals, reputation for drunken partying and crowds of tourists, it’s not the most obviously ‘Cornish’ place in Cornwall. Mediterranean-style seafront developments and massive housing projects, with a lot more to come, that steadily encroach on … Continue reading St Columb Minor: full circle at Newquay

Hayle: powerhouse of Cornish engineering

In 1779, John Harvey, a blacksmith in the parish of Gwinear, moved to Hayle and established a small foundry there. His son Henry worked to transform this into Cornwall’s major engineering works, by the nineteenth century employing hundreds of men. To the east of Harvey’s foundry was Copperhouse Foundry, originally a copper smelting works begun … Continue reading Hayle: powerhouse of Cornish engineering

Perranarworthal: fitting engines and feeding boarders

We arrive at the three parishes named after Perran, who has become Cornwall’s patron saint. Perranarworthal (Perran at the manor of Arworthal, meaning by the marsh), on the western bank of the Fal estuary upriver from Penryn, was one of Cornwall’s more industrial parishes in Victorian times. It was here that the Foxes had financed … Continue reading Perranarworthal: fitting engines and feeding boarders

Liskeard: Victorian Cornwall’s boom town

In the 1830s copper ore reserves were discovered on Caradon Hill on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor near Liskeard. Soon after, in 1843, rich lead deposits were noted to the south east at Menheniot and to the south of the town. In consequence Liskeard became Cornwall’s boom town in the 1840s as several mines … Continue reading Liskeard: Victorian Cornwall’s boom town

Portreath: Illogan’s industrial port

The parish of Illogan is in the heart of what was once called Cornwall’s Central Mining District, serving as a useful barrier between the towns of Camborne and Redruth. It is the location of South Crofty, the last working Cornish tin mine, which closed in the early 1990s. On the coast we find Portreath, formerly … Continue reading Portreath: Illogan’s industrial port