A port built around 1791 by Charles Rashleigh to service the then thriving fishing and China Clay trades. Upon completion, Charlestown was a model Georgian “new town”. By the 19th Century various associated businesses were established in sheds and warehouses around the harbour such as pilchard curing, shipbuilding, brick making and lime burning, and the population exploded to close on 3,000. Many attractive period properties sprung up in the village, ranging from elegant Georgian houses to squat fisherman’s cottages.
The harbour hasn’t changed much. The houses are still as they were when they were originally built. However, gradually over time these trades slowly declined and the harbour was hardly used by the early 1990s.
The port has featured in many films and TV programmes including Poldark and you can often see tall ships moored in the harbour. The village is also home to the Shipwreck, Rescue and Heritage Centre. Located in one of the old China Clay buildings, the centre contains a number of exhibits relating to Charlestown’s maritime past along with more general shipwreck salvage from Cornwall’s coast.
And if you would like to see more Traces of the Past images then please visit Paula.