MEVAGISSEY PARISH RECORDS
MEVAGISSEY DEPRESSION AND BANK FAILURE
With the war upsetting trade and the failure of the fishery for several years, the town of Mevagissey experienced some depression in the early part of the 19th century. The collapse of a local bank, that of Philip Ball and Son, in 1824, did not help the situation. The bank, in Church Street Mevagissey, behind the Ideal Cafe, had commenced operations in 1807 and issued its own notes. . Some of these notes are for sale in Mevagissey
Recovery though always subject to good and bad times, the fishery seems to have made some recovery in the second half. There was a revival in the export trade of pressed pilchards (fermades) to Mediterranean countries. In the l880s a factory was established in the town of Mevagissey for canning and preserving sardines and pilchards, the canning being done by hand. Between 1889 and 1890 a new outer harbour was constructed, enclosing some 101 acres of water, but unfortunately it was completely destroyed in the great blizzard-Of March, 1891. The harbour was built again with reinforced materials in 1897, and the old pier of 1774-6 was also greatly improved. By 1906, as well as smaller boats used for catching shell-fish and all varieties of hook-fish and a few seines-though their number had greatly diminished;-.-the port possessed 30 large pilchard drivers. With the improved harbour facilities, trade grew: imports being coal, salt and general goods; exports, pilchards and pilchard oil. Other businesses and trades were also thriving up to the First World War. There were boat-builders (e.g., Frazier and Roberts), sail (Lelean), coopers and rope-makers (Robins). A ropewalk is still in existence between the Coastguard Station and Battery Terrace. A miller was still busy and the mill worked by a water wheel was on the site of the present Midland Bank (now a cafe') and Labour Exchange; the Leat which served it ran down the west side of the valley from the main stream. Markets were held regularly and old inhabitants recall the standings that were erected in Market Square for the display and sale of goods.. In 1895 the Mevagissey Electric Supply Company provided the town with electricity, and since lighting by this method succeeded that by oil (the use of gas not intervening), it is believed that this was one of the first places in the country to have electricity. At about the same time, communications were improved with St. Austell by the setting-up of regular horse bus services.
Mevagissey now has two interesting Places to have a look around free, "The Aquarium and the Museum, Both places are very interesting, allow a full morning for visiting
This picture was taken from a painting of the fist Mevagissey Quay about 1774. Notice the breach in the wall due to the storm at that time
Names from left to right are Siah Longmade, Tommy Cloak, Bill Mills, Wilbur Hunkin, Harold Barber, Dick Nicholls, B. Over, Bill Joe Robbins, Jimmy Dunn and last Jim Bullen. Bill Hunkin is standing holding the little girls hand. By the wall, the man with the pipe is Willie Dyer and Cliff Nicholls is behind him.
Click on the picture to see several different photo's of Mevagissey in bygone days
The Francis Frith Collection contains Photo's of many places in Cornwall going back to the 1800's. By clicking on the above site it will take you to Francis Frith site, where you are able to order photo's
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