A walk around Penzance

The Egyptian House

The Egyptian House in Chapel Street

I took the opportunity to take a walk around Penzance this morning in the spring sunshine just as the town was waking up for the day. To my shame when I wrote the first part of my Penwith tour with some of the history of Penzance not a photo could be found in our folders of any of the architecture and so this morning I set about remedying that. I splurged a £1 to park the car for an hour, after dropping Charles for an appointment and set off!

Market Jew street

My first destination was the iconic statue of Humphry Davy which stands in front of the tall domed building that dominates the top of Market Jew Street. The granite pavement terrace, framed by rails was full of the towns bustle and so was the market house in the shape of a scaffold truck! So instead of the impressive pillars that frame this most famous son of Penzance, there were acres of pink polythene and some very cheerful workmen. Still I crossed the road and took a snap against a more humble background before glancing down the alley near the house where he was born.

Flags were flying gaily in the breeze around the town and everywhere tables were being put out for pavement cafes or vans were delivering, as preparations for Easter gather momentum. So with a spring in my step I moved on towards Chapel Street through an alley and passed the old saddlers shop where, Mr. Nichols used to stitch in a steady measured calm, usually with a few old gentlemen chewing the fat in the corner of his shop.

Chapel Street

This was the original main street, with lovely architecture. I normally recommend that our Bed and Breakfast guest, that they park on the harbour and then take the slipway beside Penzance dry dock up into this street, which is filled with intriguing house and little shops. Today I walked down the timeworn granite pavements towards the sea soaking up the history in the wonderful, diverse, architecture of sea captains houses and cottages, occasionally dodging a car as I stepped into the road for a better photo woops!

On my route I passed the Egyptian house – a memento to the days when there was a craze for all things Egyptian and paused to admire the oldest pub the Turks head Pub (The Barbary pirates were still snatching folk from Penzance as late as the 17th and 18th century.)  The Union Hotel from which the news of Nelson’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar was announced. I had a time limit on my parking ticket, so returned up the hill before reaching the harbour and cut through one of those leafy alleys that run along beside the beautiful Georgian terraces that sprang up from the mining wealth  to reach the broad street, a reminder former opulence of Morrab Road.

I my way spotting the tiny milk float from Trenow Diary in Perranuthnoe about her rounds – small world!


Morrab Road

My destination today was Penlee House Museum, which houses the Penzance and Newly School pictures. The house with its clean elegant lines set in and elegant subtropical little garden, that was already starting to attract a few strollers, it looked so inviting to pop in and see the latest exhibition but time to go

………..and then I met John Skewes a farmer, from the next little hamlet of Trebarvah, delivering a crate of freshly grown produce for the Gallery “Have you seen the new statue of the Juggling Farmer?” he said forging off towards the café “It was only put up yesterday” and sure enough there is a magnificent new statue, warmed by the sunshine against the garden backdrop.  ( by Kurt Jackson a leading contemporary artist)

I asked John’s permission to take his photo as he walked back to his van “Why yes” he said “Local boy at Work.”

I wonder if the statue is for the new exhibition “Sons and Daughters of the soil” (28th March – 13th June)  It looked so perfect there I do hope it stays. But for me I had to run! If you have more time than me check out Morrab Gardens at the bottom of the road too!

I did get back to the car with five minutes to spare – oh but Charles was waiting for me! Still if you have little longer why not try the Tour Guide Penzance for a guided, walking tour for a full history at maybe a slightly slower pace!

If you would like to read more of my blogs about Penzance


About Christine Taylor

Christine has written a weekly blog about life at Ednovean Farm and interesting places to visit in West Cornwall for over ten years now, concentrating on those off the beaten track places that only the locals find. Charles and Christine Taylor have hosted Luxury Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm Nr Penzance in West Cornwall since 1991 and live there with three cats and five horses, including a Spanish Stallion called Danni. Ednovean Farm has been awarded AA five star gold for Bed and breakfast and is included in The Michelin Guide and The Alastair Sawday Guide . The Farmhouse and gardens has been featured in BBC Homes and Antiques, Homes and Gardens. Period Living and 25 Beautiful Homes as well as being used as a film and photo shoot location.

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