Mullion Harbour. Plans were submitted to the Board of Trade for the construction of a Harbour in Mullion Cove as early as 1868. These Plans included a jetty on the northern approach to the harbour parallel to the Leat which was originally built to provide a constant supply of water to two grist mills which had been in place in the cove for several hundred years, finally ceasing operations around 1840. The Plans thereafter included a jetty following the line of the cliff north to the base of the Henscath headland, and then west to the Gateway between Henscath and Ear Rock or Scovern as it is also known. This would form a semi enclosed jetty protecting this relatively small harbour.
If required, a protective wall could continue south from the south side of Ear Rock to the Var, (a small rock visible at low tide which is visible today behind the west pier).
Fishing Boats and small coasting ships would have been able to unload their cargoes in favourable weather.
The 1868 plans also detailed the construction of a dam or breakwater between Mullyon Island and the Vro in an attempt to create a Harbour of Refuge for larger vessels and coasting ships to run and anchor in the event of storms.The project however was never started.
During the 1800s many ideas were considered around the Cornish coast for the construction of Harbours of Refuge where sailing ships could anchor at any state of the tide. No such harbour was constructed.
Plans for the current harbour were again proposed in 1890 with the re-submission of the 1868 plans- minus the plan for a Harbour of Refuge. These plans were submitted to the Board of Trade and accepted but subsequently amended by Sir William Matthews to the current designation with the proposal of two stone piers. Construction at the site commenced in 1890 with the building of the northern causeway. The west pier took 2 years to complete and was formally opened by Lord and Lady Robartes in December 1892.
The building of the south pier was deferred and plans resubmitted to the Board of Trade in the summer of 1895. This was completed in 1897 marking the actual completion of the Mullion Harbour as it is today. No actual construction took place between December 1892 and late in 1895. (RF 2016) See "A history of Mullion Cove Cornwall" publ. 2012 by Robert Felce.
SEEKING SHELTER- ANCHORED OFF THE ISLAND
Mullion Cove Fishermen- How storms affected them over 100 years ago.
Mullion Fishing Cove, or Porthmellin to give it its correct name, has been part of the Mounts Bay Fishery for many centuries but even after the building of the Harbour it still fell foul to the storms which crossed the Atlantic, the depressions often deepening as they approached the cornish coast.
The storms were, however, not restricted to the winter.
In July 1839, for example, 50 years before the building of the harbour a severe storm caused the loss of 6 seine boats and almost all the fishing gear. Half of the boats and nets in the fishery was said to have been lost. All the pots belonging to the crab fishermen from the Lizard to Lands End, including the store pots were lost. The financial loss amounted to £5-£10 per man- a small amount of money now, but a huge loss for that time.
It wasnt until after the harbour was built that the longstanding practice of not fishing on a sunday was changed. On 15th October 1898 a good catch of pilchards was left in the nets overnight on Saturday and Sunday to await processing on the following Monday but a heavy ground sea got up overnight combined with high spring tides on the saturday and damaged every net containing fish. Late on Saturday the boats agreed to try and to put to sea to save the catch but it was too rough for them to get onto the water. One of the best catches of fish and all the nets were damaged and lost along with boats belonging to T. Downing and Mr Mitchell of Polurrian House.
In early 1905 there were several storms which caused the loss of nets and fishing gear but these were not the only storms to hit the local industry that summer. It became one of the worst incidents ever experienced by the fishermen of Mullion and almost led to the closure of the fishery.
Below- Early 20th century image of Mullion Cove (Source unknown)
By early August the pilchard fishing season was just beginning and all the boats were on the water, being safely moored in the harbour, ready to answer the call of the huer whose little stone built hut with its roof constructed from an old upturned boat situated right on the edge of Henscath cliff faced the fishing grounds between Mullion Island and Pedngwynian.
The Hotels and Guest Houses were full of visitors enjoying the summer weather and local scenic attractions.
The Farmers, realising the importance of the crops to be gathered had become keen to harvest the grain and were keen to get the corn cut and put into "mowes" as soon as possible. Of course many of the men engaged in the harvest were also fishermen and needed to earn their living from both occupations in order to feed their families.
Local fisherman Edward George had only recently taken possession of a new fishing boat and gear- the previous one being lost in the storms of the previous year.
Records show August 1905 was unsettled throughout the month. A number of depressions came in from the Atlantic, and the deepest showed itself off the SW coast of Ireland on the 2nd before skirting the SW Coast of England. On the morning of the the 4th August it suddently changed course and passed east of Ireland. Pressure readings showed that the lowest pressure recorded was on the 3rd and the 4th.
On the 2nd of August the sea in the Mounts Bay was calm and the fishermen saw no urgency to take either nets or boats from the water and pull them on shore up the slipway. The new boat belonging to Edward George was moored in the centre of the harbour along with others including that of fisherman John Bray. Others were moored against the harbour piers. The fishermen moored them there so that the following day- Thursday the 3rd of August they could bring in their nets which included trammel nets early. They decided that the boats would be safe overnight but by the following morning conditions had suddenly changed and the bad weather arrived in the form of gales and a storm from the south and south south west.
As one local newspaper reported, "An alarm was given early the next morning and a wild rush was made for the cove, where a disastrous scene met the fishermens gaze.The boats were being driven madly one against the other and then dashed against the piers filling some to sinking point- two going to the bottom just as the first efforts were being made to save them".
Two brothers Tommy and Jim Downing were put at great risk trying to save their fishing gear and Edward George was nearly swept over the pier and into the sea by a tremendous wave. He was saved only by clutching onto a pipe fixed to the pier. John Bray had only just got into his boat when it sank like a stone. Joseph Gilbert in the next boat managed to grab him and pull him to safety. The work went on to pull the boats ashore, hindered by towering waves.
Visitors were on the scene and watched as the rescue took place.
Some boats had little damage but others were badly battered, especially boats belonging to Edward George and Tommy Downing.
This was the second loss for the fishermen in the year. Luckily no lives were lost.
With most of the boats out of action and nets and gear lost the little band of fishermen were hit hard at a time when they least needed it, and there was deep concern for the future of the fishery.
As news of the disaster travelled around there was no delay in donations being forwarded to help with the refurbishment of the boats and loss of fishing nets and gear.
Below; Fishing boats moored in Mullion Harbour, a few years after the storm which damaged the boats in 1905.(Source Henry Hughes)
The Harbour Regatta, in which the fishermen were always heavily involved was due shortly, and it looked like it would have to be cancelled, with a loss of revenue which helped the fishermen maintain their occupation. Luckily, there were many prominent figures of the time staying at the local hotels and one group of well known Edwardian actors were not slow in realising the importance of the Regatta as a fund raising venue.
It fell upon Mr Seymour Hicks ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Hicks), and his wife Elleline Terriss (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellaline_Terriss) along with other authors and actors to provide support. They were two of the the most popular actors of their day, being well known for their exploits on the London Stage and later the silent movies plus the early "talkies". With their friends they provided a Programme of events entitled "The Fishermens Sports" and autographed them for visitors to help raise funds.
Source "A History of Mullion Cove Cornwall" by Robert Felce Publ. 2012 , and also courtesy B Mundy.
With most of the boats out of action and nets and gear lost the little band of fishermen were hit hard at a time when they least needed it, and there was deep concern for the future of the fishery.
As news of the disaster travelled around there was no delay in donations being forwarded to help with the refurbishment of the boats and loss of fishing nets and gear. The Harbour Regatta, where the fishermen were always heavily involved was due shortly, and it looked like it would have to be cancelled.
There were many prominent figures of the time staying at the local hotels and one group of well known Edwardian actors were not slow in realising the importance of the Regatta as a fund raising venue.
It fell upon Mr Seymour Hicks ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Hicks), and his wife Elleline Terriss (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellaline_Terriss) along with other authors and actors to provide support. They were two of the the most popular actors of their day, being well known for their exploits on the London Stage. With their friends they provided a Programme of events entitled "The Fishermens Sports" and autographed them for visitors to help raise funds.
Source "A History of Mullion Cove Cornwall" by Robert Felce Publ. 2012 , and also courtesy B Mundy.
A brief history of Mullion Harbour.
In 1868 there were plans put forward for a Harbour in Mullion Cove supported by Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock. They were far reaching, ambitious and included an attempt to construct a Harbour of Refuge for sailing ships of the time.
Below diagram by author.
Those plans failed to materialise but just over 20 years later new plans for the development were implemented.
A Provisional Order was obtained in 1890 and the work commenced with Construction Plans created by Sir William Matthews.
A new road was built from the villlage of Mullion and work on the North Causeway was commenced by Engineers T. Lang and son
The construction of the 180 foot long west pier at Mullion Harbour which began in the year 1890 was successfully completed in
December 1892. It would have been completed more quickly had it not been for the winter storms and blizzards which held back
Lord Robartes had long been aware of the need for a Harbour which served several purposes.
Life on the Lizard Peninsula posed many difficulties for his tenants there.The roads were poor and farmers had to travel to Gweek
and Porthleven for supplies, as did local traders, and the local Fishing Industry which included Pilchards, Crab and Lobsters was
also in difficulty. The benefits of the Railway to Cornwall were many, but the Railway by passed the Peninsula at Helston and
competition and trade was affected. Even simple commodities such as coal and manure were more expensive to transport.
With many ships still seeking anchorage in the Mullion Roads it was hoped that their resupply could be better managed and
provide income for local shopkeepers. In addition the tourist trade weas beginning to take off in Cornwall with many visitors taking
annual holidays in the picturesque south of the County.
The opening event was marked by a visit from Lord Robartes, the financial benefactor, and his family Lady Robartes and the Hon.
Eva Robartes on 7th December 1892.
At the opening there was a celebration led by Lord Robartes which involved a procession of local dignitaries, the crew of the
Lifeboat, fishermen, the village band, schoolchildren and almost all the residents of Mullion who marched from the village all the
way to the new Harbour. It was then followed by a return to the village where celebrations continued inside the new Mullion
Reading Room. For the time it was a lavish event.
The construction of the second pier- the south pier was delayed by Lord Robartes for a further two years. In July 1895 he made an
application to the Board of Trade for permission to build the south pier which was to be 150 foot in length and directed towards the
end of the west pier forming a harbour entrance facing to the south. It enclosed an area of about one acre and allowing entry for
fishing boats and small coastal craft, thus completing the harbour. The construction of the south pier took place over a period of two
years and it was finally completed in 1897.
The piers, were made from locally sourced Serpentine, elvan stone, with edging quoins of Penryn granite and a core of Portland
cement. From the very first stages of construction the power of the sea quickly became apparent and with storms and gales
frequently battering the coastline and harbour walls the structure shuddered under the effects of what were often huge and powerful
In its early stages the harbour stood up well to the adverse weather conditions and a local Stonemason, James Harry, was
employed in the summer to ensure that any repairs were carried out.
The Victorian harbour continued in regular use until 1928 when the owner Lord Clifden sold it to the Meyer family who had also
purchased land and property in the area. Ownership by the Meyer family continued into the 1940s until when in 1945 the harbour
and Mullyon Island was gifted to the National Trust.
Very little information about life here was recorded during the time of the ownership by the Meyer family but it was one one of the
most important periods in the history of the harbour.
There are records which show that when the harbour was taken over by the National Trust in 1945 there had already been a
significant collapse to the end of the south pier, but also the west pier was in need of attention to stop it from collapsing.
But what had occurred since 1928 and why had the harbour not been repaired.?
Below is a photograph of Mullion Harbour which was taken in 1929, one year after ownership was transferred from Lord Clifden to
Montague Meyer, and it can be seen that there is no damage visible to the south pier and that the harbour is in full use with visitors
and fishermen alike apparently enjoying the benefits of a good summer. (Photo from Private Collection).
Compare this with a photograph published in the Western Morning News from July 1947.
Evidence of storm activity in the 1800s was recorded in archived newspapers and the area around Cornwall bore the brunt of those
violent meteorological events. Shipwrecks were unfortunately frequent along the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula and in the
Mounts Bay. Sailing ships were wrecked having become embayed and some were involved in collisions with other vessels in rough
weather. Many lives were lost.
Both Penzance and Falmouth were often the first Ports of call for the long distance cargo ships sailing to and from from all quarters
of the world. They would often return damaged and put in for repair, or call at the local Consular Offices for Orders as to which Port to make for with their cargo. They left Ports in Great Britain, Europe, the Baltic Countries, the Americas and Russia to travel half way around the world
before returning, often up to two years later with their cargo holds full. Some were also full of soldiers with their Military cargoes
having been involved in battle while travellers and migrants packed ships bound for countries around the world.
It was in 1854 that the Meteorological Office was established, run by Admiral Fitzroy. In 1861 he began to publish weather reports
giving early warning of approaching storms.These reports were made available in newspapers but also to shipping at Ports around
In the 1800s there were often over 200 sailing ships reported at anchor in the Mullion Roads and in some cases there were over
300 reported. At one time the number recorded was no less than 500. As well as ships from around the world there was a high per
centage of coastal traffic with cargoes of coal, mineral ores such as copper, timber, stone, sand, clay and cement. There were even
cargoes of Ice.!
In 1892 the constructor of the west pier, Mr. T Lang had commented that "...his firm had carried out many contracts but in no place
had they had such difficulties to contend against as they had encountered at Mullion. Old Father Neptune seemed to have
concentrated all his fury into that cove. However the work was now completed and he believed that it would stand the fury of the
sea for many generations."
Little did he know what was still to come .
The early damage.
Despite the gales and storms of 2013 and 2014 violent meteorological events have always occurred but the available records show
how there were periods both in the 1800s and early 1900s of similar storm activity. The 1860s was one such eventful decade with
widespread storms hitting the south west of England with many ships and lives lost.
During the earlys 1900s storm activity was strong and frequent in Cornwall. In 1905 for example storms in May and August hit the
Cove and fishing boats were lost along with their gear. It had an effect on the livlihood of the fishermen there. In October 1920 a
thunderstorm, the like of which had not been seen for over 50 years, flooded the area including Mullion village and the river running
into the harbour. The volume of water coming into the culvert caused much damage to the north causeway of the harbour approach
forcing a rebuild of that part of the protective harbour wall. Houses in the harbour were flooded out and possessions were washed
out to sea.
Did such storms contribute to the demise of Mullion Harbour in the 1930s, a mere 35 years after it was built.?
A look at the Meteorological Records for the Summer of 1929 showed it to have been one of those glorious summers which are
dreamt of by tourists, visitors and hotel owners alike. Good weather lasted into late September which was "unusually warm and dry",
but later in 1929 conditions changed dramatically.
From late November until mid-December there were a series of violent storms and gales predominantly over the Atlantic, from the
In the first 25 days of November 1929, a total of 10 inches of rain fell over Cornwall.
On the 5th November a storm produced gales over Cornwall and over an inch of rain fell in Falmouth.
There was a further storm from the 9th to the 10th of November with gale force winds on the coast and on the 11th which lasted for
14 hours at Falmouth and 16 hours on Scilly, along with 80 mph winds.
There were similar gales on the 15th and 16th November 1929. A deep depression settled over the Atlantic on the 18th November
producing intense gales and heavy rain.
The month of November 1929 was the wettest month for 60 years at Falmouth and St. Austell.
The weather in December 1929 followed the same course, being described as "... mild and abnormally wet and stormy" and " with
excessive rain and persistent violent gales... which were... the most severe in coastal districts in the south and west of England and
On the night of the 5th December 1929 winds reached 94mph at Pendennis and on the 6th /7th winds at Scilly touched 111mph and
The bad weather did not end there. It continued into January 1930. On the 12th there were winds recorded of 102mph at Pendennis
and 97mph at Scilly.
It is no wonder that on 6th December 1929 the newspaper headlines were of "Hurricane Havoc in the West", "Ninety Mile
Hurricane", "Damage on land and sea" and "Prospects of storm returning".The newspapers also described widespread
damage to Harbours, sea defences, coastal structures and buildings as well as shipping losses of high value. During this storm for
example, Newlyn sea wall was breached, houses were flooded at Mousehole and elsewhere. The waves were riding high up the
sides of St. Michaels Mount, the King Harry Ferry was sunk and the Saltash Ferry was set adrift. Ships including steamers were
cast ashore. The Penzance Lifeboat was unable to reach the French built and owned Steamer Ornais II. She was caught in the
gale, was unable to anchor and was blown ashore at Trebarvah Beach near to St. Michaels Mount and the Prussia Cove rocket
apparatus brigade had to be summoned to assist.
On the 12th December 1929, at Porthleven, there was severe damage to houses and Public Buildings and part of the Institute roof
was stripped. The wind went on to totally remove roofs from some houses and farm buildings there.
Was it any wonder that the harbour at Mullion Cove was damaged?.
Further storms and gales were recorded in the early 1930s, but not on the same scale.
In December 1932 a storm left 84 ships of all sizes sheltering in the Mullion Roads until winds ameliorated sufficiently for them to
make headway. Food stocks on board became low for many of them and had to be replaced at shops in Mullion village- conditions
not seen before in the 20th century but reminiscent of conditions in the 1800s which led in part to the building of the harbour.
Damage to the south pier at Mullion was to develop gradually during the course of the 1930s with an increase in damage around
1936 coming to a head in 1937. Without repair the south pier continued to suffer from the repeated attacks by storms and gales.
(It should be noted that this damage was almost identical to that which occurred after 2003).
Photographs of the Harbour during the 1930s do exist and it is as a result of examining them that we can see the progression of the
Frith Postcard Published 1931- Note damage to the seaward end of the south pier.
A.H. Hawke Postcard Published 1936- shows extending damage to the south pier.
Penpol Postcard- published circa 1937
The research leading to this article being published was helped considerably by information provided by one Mullion resident,
William Mundy. During the 1930s his family lived in Mullion Cove. Bill was born in the Cove in January 1937 and recalls a story told
to him by his mother of how he was born on the night of a storm. He was later given a photograph of the harbour taken by his family
that year. The photograph shows the damage to the south pier and the fishing boats berthed under the west pier. He was told that
at the time the the south pier was filled with stone, concrete and other loose material, but the largest fall of material from the south
pier had occurred on that night in a storm when Bill, now 80, was born in the Cove.
Below- Picture of the harbour at Mullion Cove in 1937.( Courtesy of William Mundy)
The number of fishing boats in the harbour is significantly higher than that of today but it can be readily seen that although the
opening to the entrance is wide, the available space is affected by the fall of the south pier. From 1939 however the second world
war was to take many of the fishermen away from the harbour.
By 1944 the remaining fishermen were concerned that conditions were now becoming too dangerous for them to come in and out of
the harbour entrance and understandably, they refused to pay their harbour dues. This was reported to the SW Fisheries Committee
It should be noted that the owners of the Harbour at the time were heavily involved in the repair of the cities bombed during the early
stages of the war. In addition the war had taken away many of the skilled stonemasons and craftsmen from Cornwall and with the
Armed Forces and remaining labour engaged in local defence construction, such as anti tank walls, and barbed wire fencing it was
virtually impossible to repair in this out of the way corner of the south west.
This must have been a consideration when it came to the Harbour being gifted to the National Trust in 1945.
During the following years many repairs were carried out on the south pier with different structures being constructed including a
sloping end to the south pier which was reversed in 1978/9.
The West Briton and Royal Cornwall Gazette commenting on a photograph of the harbour wrote on February 15 1979 that "The
traditional but by now unfamiliar outlines of Mullion Harbour where the National Trust have completed £35,000 of construction work
to the end of the small breakwater (south pier). In 1954 the toe of the breakwater started to fall away and because of a shortage of
funds at that time the trust were unable to rebuild it. Subsequently it was cut off at an angle and capped with concrete. In recent
years cracks appeared at the end of the breakwater and the trust have , in the last two months rebuilt it with a vertical end of
serpentine and granite, so that it now looks as it did when originally constructed."
Initially in 1945 the National Trust themselves were not keen to repair the harbour but must have realized that this proud and
symbolic remnant of Victorian engineering, now so loved by visitors to Cornwall, an iconic piece of cornish history, was and still is a
monument to the skilled workers and stonemasons who came from many Counties to build it in 1890 (1890-1892 and 1895-1897)
Below photo February 2013 by author.
The Harbour piers were Grade II Listed in 1984 and with the help of important repairs have remained an important example of
Victorian engineering as well as part of Cornwalls historic Mounts Bay fishing community and a reminder of the perils experienced
by all those men and women who made their living from the sea.
Although there have been many changes to the south pier resulting from damage there has always been a belief among some local
people that there were structural issues with its construction. This may have been related to a slightly unstable platform on which it
was constructed resulting from minor geological issues connected to one of the many geological faults running through the bedrock.
It certainly has undergone more changes than the west pier and a different company initially responsible for building it but the later
damage has been challenging.
Below- Damage to the south pier in 2012.Photo by author.
Below is the result of a concrete repair to the south pier in 2013. Photo by author 2013
Repairs were conducted to the south pier in 2015 as a result of major storms in 2014. The repair on this occasion was extensive.
Photos below by author.
The resulting damaged structure, was allowed to be repaired using "Marine Concrete" instead of local stone which included
Serpentine. It remains to be seen whether this will last the further test of time.
R Felce BSc (Hons) 2017
Please Note; References are available from the author of this article Robert Felce at firstname.lastname@example.org
No photograph or part of this article may be reproduced or copied without permission.
MULLION ISLAND (BELOW LEFT) WAS NOT INHABITED, BUT IN THE 1700s A LOCAL MAN CALLED ISRAEL ODGER WAS REPUTED TO HAVE CREATED AND MAINTAINED A SMALL GARDEN ON IT.THERE IS ONE ACCESS POINT ON THE ISLAND WHICH ALLOWED BOATS TO LAND THERE WITH A DEGREE OF SAFETY.THE LANDING PLACE WAS CALLED "TOLDHU", OR THE "BLACK HOLE".
FOR 200 YEARS VISITORS AND LOCALS WOULD VISIT BOTH THE ISLAND AND A SMALL, NEARBY BEACH, CALLED SANDY VRO ON THE MAINLAND WITH THEIR PUNTS AND SMALL BOATS, OR IN THE SUMMER BE ROWED OUT BY THE LOCAL SERPENTINE TURNER MR CASLEY, TO ENJOY THE SUN.
THE VICTORIAN TOURISTS WOULD ALSO SWIM FROM THE COVE TO THE ISLAND AND BACK AGAIN, MINGLING WITH THE FISHING BOATS IN THE WATER.
ON THE NORTH SIDE OF MULLION ISLAND IS A SHALLOW AREA WHICH IS REGULARLY COVERED IN WHITE WATER AND WHITE WAVES CALLED "TREGWYN" OR THE "WHITE SPOT", A SCENE OF MANY A SHIPWRECK OVER THE CENTURIES.
MULLION WAS A PILCHARD FISHERY USING INSHORE SEINE NETS AS A MEANS OF CATCHING THE FISH. UNTIL ABOUT 1850 THERE WAS A SUMMER AND AN AUTUMN SEASON BUT GRADUALLY THE FISHING BECAME LATER AND LATER IN THE YEAR. THE SEINE BOATS,EACH WEIGHING 30 TONS WOULD BE KEPT ON THE WATER READY WHEN THE WEATHER ALLOWED WAITING FOR THE "HUERS CALL" THAT SHOALS OF PILCHARDS WERE PASSING THE COVE. THE NETS COULD THEN BE CAST AT THE HUERS DIRECTION FROM HIS HUT PERCHED ON THE CLIFFS ABOVE WHERE NOW SITS THE COVE HOTEL.
THE HUER HAD A SET OF SIGNALS, OFTEN USING 2 BUSHES OF TRIMMED FURZE WHICH WERE VISIBLE FROM THE SEINE BOATS BELOW. THE HUER DIRECTED THE BOATS TO THE SHOAL. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN ORDER ON THE WATER, EACH BOAT HAD A LIMITED TIME (CALLED THE STEM) TO CAST THEIR NETS AND CONTROL THE FISH BEFORE THE NEXT BOAT TOOK OVER. MARKINGS ON THE CLIFFS HELPED DELINEATE THE BOUNDARY OF EACH STEM.
COMMERCIAL PILCHARD FISHING BEGAN AT MULLION ABOUT 1794 WHEN AN APPLICATION WAS MADE TO LORD ROBARTES AT LANHYDROCK FOR HIS PERMISSION TO EXPAND THE NUMBER OF BOATS AND CREATE FISH CELLARS IN THE COVE.
ROCKS IN THE COVE HAD TO BE REMOVED USING GUNPOWDER TO ALLOW BOATS ACCESS AND FISH CELLARS CONSTRUCTED TO PROCESS THE LARGE CATCHES WHICH OTHERWISE WERE TAKEN BY SEA STRAIGHT TO NEWLYN AND OCCASIONALLY PORTHLEVEN. WHEN NOT IN USE THE SEINE BOATS WERE HAULED UP THE SLIPWAY USING A LARGE CAPSTAN OUT OF THE WAY OF HIGH TIDES AND ADVERSE WEATHER. THERE WAS NO WEATHER FORECAST TO BE HAD OTHER THAN THE FISHERMENS EYES AND THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE OF INCOMING STORMS AND A NIGHTWATCHMAN WOULD BE EMPLOYED TO PROVIDE EARLY WARNING THAT THE BOATS NEEDED TO COME OUT OF THE WATER.
IN THE ABSENCE OF PILCHARDS CRAB, LOBSTER AND CRAWFISH WERE THE MAIN CATCH OF THE SEASON. AS THEY STILL DO TODAY, THE FISHERMEN USED BAITED POTS LEFT ON THE SEABED MADE FROM LOCALLY SOURCED WILLOW STRANDS REPLENISHED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH YEAR. EACH FARM IN THE AREA WHICH HAD A STREAM OR WATERCOURSE HAD AN AREA WHICH GREW WILLOW TREES.
ADDITONALLY HAND LINING AND NETTING WAS USED TO CATCH COD, HADDOCK,HAKE AND OTHER FISH WHICH FOLLOWED THE SHOALS OF PICHARDS, HERRING AND MACKERAL. (RF 2012 & 2016)
(SEE " A HISTORY OF MULLION COVE CORNWALL" PUBLISHED 2012 BY ROBERT FELCE)
THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES SAW MANY SHIPWRECKS OFF MULLION. THERE ARE MANY RECORDS OF VALUABLE CARGOS BEING LOST ALONG THIS COAST BUT ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED SHIPWRECKS IN MULLION PARISH WAS THAT OF A 250 TON FRENCH SHIP CALLED LA VILLE DE PARIS, CAPTAINED BY WILLIAM RIGNER, WITH A CARGO OF 400 BARRELS OF OIL, THOUSANDS OF PIECES OF WHALE BONE, AND A LARGE QUANTITY OF ELEPHANT AND SEA HORSES TEETH TRANSPORTED FROM THE WHALE FISHERY ON THE SOUTH COAST OF AFRICA. AFTER BEING WRECKED AT MIDNIGHT ON A STORMY NIGHT SHE QUICKLY WENT TO PIECES AND ONLY THREE CREW MEMBERS OUT OF 21 WERE LEFT ALIVE. A SMALL QUANTITY OF WHALEBONE WAS RECOVERED ALONG WITH PIECES OF OLD IRON.
Below; Passing Tregwyn Fishing off the pier.
HARBOUR AND CAPSTAN 2009 HARBOUR 2013
A WINTER SCENE 2010
BELOW; PUTTING THE HARBOUR BACK TOGETHER AFTER THE STORMS- 2014
Below; SITE OF THE 18TH CENTURY SOAPSTONE QUARRY TORCHLIGHT CAVE " THE GREAT CAVE" 18TH CENTURY MINING DRIFT
OVERLOOKING THE VRO AND MULLION ISLAND MAY 2005 THE VRO AND GULL ROCK
A SPITFIRE OVER THE COVE
BELOW- WEST PIER, "TREGWYN" IN THE BACKGROUND AT LOW TIDE 2014
VISIT OF THE DAWN TREDDER SEPTEMBER 2010 (FROM THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA)
BELOW; TRAVELLING COMPANION "MABEL ALICE"- THE REPLACEMENT FOR THE PENLEE LIFEBOAT SOLOMON BROWNE TRAGICALLY LOST IN 1981.
IN THE 1890s MULLION HARBOUR WAS THE SCENE OF A REGATTA INVOLVING FISHERMEN,COASTGUARDS, LOCAL PEOPLE AND VISITORS TO THE VILLAGE AND COVE. RACES TOOK PLACE INVOLVING FISHING BOATS AND OTHER SAILING CRAFT, COASTGUARD CUTTERS AND SWIMMING RACES AND DIVING FROM THE HARBOUR PIERS WERE POPULAR. EXHIBITIONS OF HOW TO RESCUE DROWNING SUBJECTS TOOK PLACE IN THE HARBOUR. PRIZES WERE GIVEN, INCLUDING ENGRAVED SILVER CUPS WHICH WOULD TODAY BE WORTH A LOT OF MONEY.THE EARLY REGATTAS DREW MANY HUNDREDS OF SPECTATORS, AND COMPETITION AMONGST COMPETITORS WAS HIGH.
THE REGATTAS LOST SOME OF THEIR POPULARITY BY THE 1920s AND CEASED COMPLETELY UNTIL THEY WERE RESURRECTED BY AN ENTHUSIASTIC GROUP OF LOCAL PEOPLE IN THE 1960s. DURING THE LAST 20 YEARS THE REGATTA HAS BEEN REPLACED BY AN OCCASIONAL "HARBOUR DAY" AND INVOLVES THE NATIONAL TRUST. THE LIZARD LIFEBOAT (RNLB THE LADY RANK) OFTEN PAID A VISIT, ALONG WITH RESCUE HELICOPTORS FROM CULDROSE, AS HERE IN PHOTOS FROM 2009.
STORM IMOGEN 8.2.16
BELOW; SHOWERS ON THE HORIZON
BELOW; MEN-Y-GRIB FROM HENSCATH JUNE 2016/HARBOUR
BELOW-A new boat in the harbour- Pegasus 9.7.17