Penzance in 1817
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Penzance in 1817

The new beginning.
Penzance, 1817

In the tiny curve of the 1760s quay, not much different from the one built in the 15th century,
cover ships huddled together, as they very well might need to be, bound to each other;
St Mary's Church stands out, or rather her high steeple, for she was a tiny church originally.
The cliffs front Penzance, with New Street (with access to the inner beach of what is now the basin)
and Chapel Street, with access to Barbican and the tiny harbour;
in 1812 the Custom House was built (next to what is now Bosun's Locker)
to serve His Majesty's purse; at that time the Custom House and Boat store fronted on to the harbour area,
(where the officer would board the ships via a small boat)
main access at the rear of the building, the harbour office also stood on the edge of the quay.
There was a large building (where the Trinity House building now stands) next to the Custom House,
walled off from Quay Street; it is my belief that this was the Bonded Store.
There was no direct access to the basin from Custom House,
since the area to the north of the boat store was a shipbuilders' yard,
and had dry dock facility, not in the present position of the Dry Dock,
but running back from the face of the quay;
Jennings Street has access to the water by a narrow gully.
On this picture, in line with the steeple of St Mary's - in the water was a large collection of rocks,
bedrock, named Cairn Jenny; because it was a hazard to ships, and a Bremen ship was sunk there,
the Oxnam family, who owned the land fronting the basin, had it removed by explosives in earlier years.
The Richard Oxnams (senior and junior) were both merchants and owned many ships.
It was in their interests not to lose any of their own ships to the rock.

Raymond Forward
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