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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Cornwall Part 1

Originally published on Blogspot by Gethin Thomas October 26th 2021

Camborne and Marazion.

This is my first post on Blogger and is about my recent trip to Cornwall. The trip takes in Camborne, Marazion, Penzance, Botallack, Porthleven and Mousehole.

First some shots of buildings in Camborne.

You will notice that most of the major buildings are made of the local granite. Camborne was formerly one of the richest tin mining areas in the world and home to the Camborne School of Mines.

Camborne had its working heyday during the later 18th and early 19th centuries. It was just a village until transformed by the mining boom which began in the late 18th century and saw the Camborne and Redruth district become the richest mining area in the world.

Although a considerable number of ruinous stacks and engine houses remain, they cannot begin to convey the scenes of 150 years ago when scores of mines transfigured the landscape.

This is an old Methodist church, now converted into a very grand coffee shop.

Dolcoath Mine, the 'Queen of Cornish Mines' was, at a depth of 3,500 feet (1,067 m), for many years the deepest mine in the world, not to mention one of the oldest before its closure in 1921. The last working tin mine in Europe, South Crofty, which closed in 1998, is also to be found in Camborne.

The local delicacy is the Cornish Pasty a steak filled pastry eaten with the hands. They were the staple food of the miners. Legend has it that the thick pastry edge was held in dirty hands and the centre then eaten with the soiled crust then discarded. I suspect this is not true as a miner would have needed all the calories he could get and they were poor and he is unlikely to have thrown away the crust. Also it is worth remembering that with hundreds of miners in very narrow tunnels that were worked for decades, that would be an awful lot of pastry crusts discarded down there. Even today it is the lunchtime staple of "white van man".

This is the Institute Lecture Hall, no more lectures until further notice.

This is the top floor of a bank, and the glass is gone and the pigeons have taken up residence.

This has the look of a former cinema now a Bingo Hall. Bingo Hall was probably the commonest repurposing of former cinemas.

This is the very grand former Post Office of 1899. Now replaced by a more modest version placed inside another shop.

This is the main square with the Holman Fountain. The fountain is Grade 2 listed.

Public fountain. Dated 1890 on north side. Granite ashlar and cast iron,

with brass furnishings. Circular plan. Two-tier bowls surmounted by a lamp

standard; the lower bowl is approx. 3 metres in diameter and 1/2 metre

high, and has a hollow-moulded rim; a short circular pedestal in the centre

carries the smaller upper bowl, which has a cyma-moulded underside and a

chamfered rim, and a square central pedestal with lion-head spouts in each

side and a cast-iron lamp standard on the top. The lower pedestal is

lettered on the north side:-







(Holman's engineering firm was the principal manufacturer of mining

machinery in this area.)

This is a former bank now a gambling den.

Tyack's Hotel, is an original and traditional country hotel with very distinctive signage. Founded 1901. A brewery owned pub belonging to St Austell Brewery.

Founded in 1851 by Cornishman Walter Hicks, today St Austell Brewery remains 100% independent and family owned.

The brewery has a novel pints of beer counter on it's web page which counts up as you watch, currently over 2.2 billion pints brewed since 1851.

The John Francis Bassett pub. The building built in 1866 long before the birth of the Wetherspoon Pub chain. This building is the former Market House.

The new Market House was paid for by John Francis Basset, the squire of Tehidy. The Bassets were leading local landowners, with the family coat of arms visible in the stonework. In 1911, a two-storey Italian-palazzo-style extension was added along the Church Street side of the building. This was known as St George’s Hall and later became the Scala Cinema.

Master clockmakers Dent’s of London imagined and created a time piece commissioned by John Francis Basset to sit in the clock tower. It is said to be a miniature replica of the famous Big Ben which sits within the Palace of Westminster, London. (Wetherspoon)

J D Wetherspoon plc (branded variously as Wetherspoon or Wetherspoons, and colloquially known as Spoons) is a pub company operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin and based in Watford, the company operates 925 pubs as of June 2021. This includes the sub-brand of Lloyds No.1 bars, and around 50 Wetherspoon hotels. Wetherspoon is known for converting unconventional premises into pubs, such as former cinemas and banks. The company is publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. (Wikipedia)

Next stop is Marazion, a very biblical sounding place.

Christianity in Cornwall began in the 4th or 5th century AD when Western Christianity was introduced into Cornwall along with the rest of Roman Britain. Over time it became the official religion, superseding previous Celtic and Roman practices. Early Christianity in Cornwall was spread largely by the saints, including Saint Piran, the patron of the county. The Cornish saints are commemorated in legends, churches and placenames. (Wikipedia)

In fact it is noticeable that there appear to be more place names than usual in Cornwall that are associated with saints.

In contrast to Wales, which produced Bible translations into Welsh, the churches of Cornwall never produced a translation of the Bible in the Cornish language, this is believed to be a large part of the reason why the Welsh language survived and the Cornish language largely disappeared.

Marazion is notable for being the crossing point to St Michael's Mount. The cousin to it's more famous French counterpart across the English Channel, Mont St Michel, which translates as the same name. Here there is a stone causeway at low tide but a boat taxi service when the waters are up.

Under the cloud cover there is a castle not unlike it's counterpart in France.

St Michael's Mount is a tidal island in Mount's Bay, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. It is managed by the National Trust, and the castle and chapel have been the home of the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650.

Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France (with which it shares the same tidal island characteristics and the same conical shape, though it is much smaller, at 57 acres [23 ha], than Mont St Michel which covers 247 acres [100 ha]), when it was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century.

St Michael's Mount is one of 43 unbridged tidal islands that one can walk to from mainland Britain. Part of the island was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1995 for its geology. (Wikipedia)

This pier offers a boat service at high tide even in stormy seas like this.

The inevitable pasty shop, now more popular with tourists than miners.

The original parish church lies outside Marazion and the church in Marazion itself is Victorian, All Saint's Marazion.

This lovely Victorian church was designed by the architect J Piers St Aubyn, and was consecrated in 1861. This is the third church on the site, the first one being in recorded use as early as 1309.

The church has some notable stained glass of which these are just a selection. Made in 1861 by Lavers and Barraud.

Lavers, Barraud and Westlake were an English firm that produced stained glass windows from 1855 until 1921. They were part of the Gothic Revival movement that affected English church architecture in the 19th century.

In the mid 19th century, Lavers, Barraud and Westlake were among many young designers who responded to the growing market for stained glass windows. The partnership initially comprised Nathaniel Wood Lavers (1828–1911) and Francis Philip Barraud (1824–1900)[note 1] and operated from 1858 as Lavers and Barraud. Both were originally employed at the workshops of James Powell and Sons. Lavers started his own studio in 1855 and was joined by Barraud in 1858.

Marazion Town Hall. Grade 2 listed.

Town hall, now used as bank. 1871. Roughly coursed granite rubble with dressed granite. Described as Chateau Style, I can't think why. Also doubled as the town jail and fire station during it's past.

Part 2 features Botallack and Porthleven

Part 3 features Penzance

Part 4 features Mousehole and Truro

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