Sunday, 21 March 2021

Treasure those Memories … part 6 … Hayle and its history …


I used to get down to Cornwall as often as I could to see my mother, who had moved there … and once driving that was easier – while back in those days … I could wangle getting off work at 3.30 or so – then I’d escape the London rush-hour and be out of town and speeding away … yes, I did drive rather fast … always had, now I make sure I get there. 

 

West Penwith - Cornwall ... showing Hayle
and St Ives (north coast)

The lure of Cornwall often called, so when I was at Hayle I was almost there … the cry of the fish and chip shop could not be avoided!  Temptation and taste buds made sure I had my treat … it was at the westerly end of Hayle near the viaduct and Foundry Square.

 

 

Hayle was a grim, run-down town … a single road going through – so that was frustrating – eventually a bypass in the 1980s was built ...

 

 

Hayle - late 1800s
The town in the 1800s had been a famous engineering and shipping centre … with its entanglement of breweries, foundries, rope-walks, timber-yards and a thousand and one other activities … it had become rather down-trodden and grim.


 

Hayle Harbour c 1900
This was the Hayle I knew back in the 1950s/60s a town past its best … not very inspiring, nor prosperous, at all … though it had been flourishing in the late 1700s … but during the 1800s competing family interests soured trade …


 

The tin and copper mines with their associated industries were waning as the 20th century came along …


 

The shifting sands set the tone … prior to 1825 it was a perilous journey to go further west … across the Lelant Saltings area …

 

Hayle viaduct
… trade grew, the town expanded along the turnpike road, the early railway gave more impetus … but the construction of the new railway in 1852, with the impressive Angarrack viaduct, spanned the valley thus avoiding the town.

 

 

The ever changing coastline including estuary, tidal pools, sand banks discouraged the shipping industry that had been essential in getting coal from Wales to the rich tin and copper mines, before exporting the mined ore to customers – then that waned too – some new trades and industries sprang up during both war years – but these small works waned along with ancillary businesses.

 

 

Lots of new development being planned

Recently there’s been a lot of development and redevelopment, as building knowledge has increased … the need for more housing, the realisation that the area could offer tourists a base and thus local infrastructure was encouraged.

 

 

The rich fishing grounds of St Ives Bay have supported the fishermen of the two ports (Hayle and St Ives) for generations – but the fishing trade is not being protected by the government, and has lost out badly with Brexit – I hope it’ll be rectified …

 

 

… but the communities that rely on the fishing trade and the ancillary businesses have taken a real beating recently …

 

 

St Ives pier early days -
'Sailing by': Eric Ward (1928)

… they are being priced out of everything – apparently now Cornwall is the place to be and that does not bode well for Cornwall’s local families.

 

 

There is a major development at the harbour for homes, new leisure facilities etc – a very large building project in the South West – but in a very small corner of the world.  The fishermen’s working area is under threat …

 

 

Fish and Chips in newspaper
Yes the area needs redevelopment and change – but at what expense …

 

 

My memories of my journeys down, the delight in getting to Hayle – nearly there … with the fish and chip interlude and then home … I’m not sure what I’d think now. 

 

Saxon England:
Cornish peninsula, with Wales
to the north over the Severn estuary

 

I haven’t been back for ten years – connections all gone … but even in the 1990s – the locals hardly ventured forth in the summer – roads packed, beautiful coves and beaches over-run …

 

 

It’s a changing world …

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

32 comments:

Inger said...

It must be so difficult for those whose livelihoods are affected by changing times. And how difficult it would be to grow up and continue to live in a charming small town that would be discovered and then run over by tourists. I've read about places where Games of Thrones was filmed and that later were swamped by Americans and other fans of the show. I fail to understand the joy of such tourism. Take care, my friend.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
This is sort of the tale of so many such places all around our coast. My own wee toon of Dunoon gets 'touristed' for four months of the year and the rest of the time is a wee tad 'ghost town' - I am suspecting that the recent very fast-moving housing stock at rather higher than usual pricing is down to COVID and folk from Glasgow looking to get out of the city... and am in two minds about that. Although I am, myself, an 'incomer'!!! YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

This is a sad post, and a familiar one. Progress is a very mixed bag and I often mourn for the families and the birds/plants/animals displaced when an area becomes fashionable...

Anabel Marsh said...

It is, indeed, a changing world. I don’t know what the answer with tourism is: places need the trade, but then it overwhelms them and can destroy what made them attractive.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So interesting to hear how the town changed over the years. We have many towns in the U.S. that went through sad transitions, including where I grew up.

Liz A. said...

It's interesting how places grow and change.

Janie Junebug said...

Change isn't always for the better.

Love,
Janie

Hels said...

Cornwall certainly is the place to be... just look at the real estate prices! But the fish and chips are still delicious, even if newspaper is no longer used for wrapping.

Pradeep Nair said...

A very interesting peek into the past. How places have changed over the years. Some places that were dangerous during those days are teeming with people now!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I hope there'll be more investment in the fishing industry. There are similar issues here in the States. And I can imagine the issues that tourism can cause.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger – yes I imagine it is … the communities would be inward looking and few able to think outwards … or the local authorities might not have the money to support them. Film or tv programme places tend to be overrun… like the Poldark locations in west Cornwall … like you I wonder about that ‘joy’ of such tourism …

@ Yam – I’m sure your part of the world is suffering in the same way as Cornwall … and again the housing stock being priced away from the locals as city dwellers move in … the second home syndrome … very difficult – fine for those with money, but the others … not so easy.

@ EC – it is and as you say a familiar story … there is much ‘destruction’ in the desire to improve an area … we don’t seem to be able to realise that the authorities need to make sure everyone is dealt a fair deal and that the people doing the work understand the ecology … and the need to proceed with care …

@ Anabel – you must be seeing it too – and as you note … tourism is required – but it can overwhelm the area … pushing the locals aside …

@ Natalie – I know there are many places struggling with these changes and trades change as technology improves … these transitions offer opportunities – but need to be incorporated into the whole …

@ Liz – yes … lots of change …

@ Janie – change is necessary though …

@ Hels – I know Cornwall is already the place to be … it’s going to have a devastating effect on the very small area of west Penwith … particularly the G7 Summit …
Fish and chips is delicious … I so agree – however it is served.

@ Pradeep – yes, you’re right … so much change – people today are not so threatened by skulduggery in the streets and can move around more easily … we are safer … there are just more of us …

@ Elizabeth – I certainly hope the local fishermen get help, as well as protection is given to our fishing stocks, coastlines that improve the seas … that will bring comfort to those who can work in the fishing industry and its ancillary trades …

Thanks for visiting … it’s interesting to write about the changes that have occurred over the nearly 300 years now … today we are seeing exponential change in ways we could never have imagined. Stay safe one and all – and have good weeks - Hilary

Dan said...

It's always sad to see the new prosperity leave the old behind. Some people are left to wonder about redevelopment while others are shaking their heads at unwanted crowds and higher prices. It's a common story over here in New England as well.

I enjoyed the story, the history and the photos. The fish and chips looks yummy. I wish these people well.

Joanne said...

change is hard when a place is deemed "the new cool". And it's tough if they lose their personality and cater to tourists only. But I bet those fish and chips are still yummy. I'm willing to drive hugging the coast for a gander and a mouthful. And I bet the seagulls still squawk and are fatter from tourist food trash!

Keith's Ramblings said...

Another really interesting piece Hilary. Increasingly, many properties in Cornwall are second homes and empty for much of the year which is a bad thing for local businesses which rely on residents for their trade. I've not been there for many years but remember it fondly.

Murees Dupè said...

Fish and chips will always be a classic. I know it is in South Africa. I think fishing has become more corporate, because our government gave all the local fishing permanents and conracts to foreign companies, thus causing hunger, job losses and economic strain on those communities. Its been this way for more than 10 years, and it is a horrid change I wish could go away. As these companies overfish and don't give a crap about their impact on the ocean enviroment.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It was Oscar Wilde, Hilary, who said that the only way to deal with temptation is to give in to it, so your indulgence of fish and chips is well justified. And, I am of the firm conviction that GOOD fish and chips is a gourmet dish to rival anything the world has yet produced. The tale you paint is all too familiar in many parts of the world I am afraid. People whose roots go back in the community, whose ancestors made it all possible, get marginalized for the sake of profit and what is sadly and euphemistically known as progress. The side effect of this, something that infuriates me, is that local people are then treated almost as anthropological oddities. I will never have the money to buy a fancy upscale residence in one of these "by design" communities, nor would I want to, but I hope that if I did I would have the common sense and decency to become part of the community rather then to impose myself on it. As always, your posts are interesting and provocative. I always look forward to reading them, Hilary.

Jacqui Murray said...

Lovely memories, Hilary. The fish and chips in newspaper--I've read that in novels and it always seems iconic of the times. Lovely.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan – yes I know … it’s apparent everywhere – and you’re right – there’s always two sides to the thought of the changes – I’m sure New England is the same as here …
Thanks – glad you enjoyed the article with its history and the photos – yes I must have some fish and chips soon! The fishing industry throughout Great Britain I sincerely hope gets sorted out very soon … and trading with a degree of livelihood to be gained … it affects so many others within their ranks …

@ Joanne – yes … it just creeps up and overcomes – so they’re left to cope with crumbs from others’ prosperity and change.
Fish and chips delicious occasionally … unfortunately the seagulls are desperate for us to get out and about again! A drive around the Cornish coasts is just wonderful – but not when full of tourists!

@ Keith – yes they’ve been becoming second homes in recent decades – just an explosion in the last couple of them … which is exactly as you describe … the local businesses do lose out.

@ Murees – yes I remember Fish and Chips suppers when I was over in South Africa. You’re right about the corporate intrusions … it’s just sad at their complete lack of appreciation of the locals and their need to trade too … who also look after the shoreline …

@ David – sadly far too many temptations … but I’d rather stay on the right side – and not get sent off to Reading Gaol – though for entirely different reasons!! Fish and Chips is just delicious … I’m quite anxious for some … !! – soon I hope.

There were people in Cornwall when I was a kid who had never been out of the county … very possibly still are. As you mention so many incomers believe they have a right to all things … while the locals, who’ve lived happily in the area for years aren’t included … just sad that people can be so selfish and lack any form of understanding, or for that matter curiosity.

@ Jacqui – thank you … fish and chips in newspaper was the thing after the War: the interesting snippet is that during the War newspaper was used as a disinfectant … it was used in childbirth … the ink had certain properties in it …

Thanks to you all … you’re taking me back in time – to early memories … I just hope the fishing industry is treated more fairly very soon …
stay safe - Hilary

bazza said...

Lovely memories but tinged with sadness that all things must past. Nothing stays the same over a long period of time.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s tenderly turbulent Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Rhodesia said...

I do not know Cornwall very much at all but of course, I cycled thought it in 2004 when I cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats. I mainly remember the narrow streets and beautiful old houses. Sad that it is being taken over by people with holiday homes and that they do not mingle with the families that have lived there forever. My Mum used to always talk about trips to Mevagissy but that was before we left the UK in 1953, I really do not remember the place at all.

So enjoying your memories. Keep well Diane

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Oh how the world is changing, not always for the better but it happens and all we can do is cope the best way we can

retirementreflections said...

A beautiful post with a strong mixture of emotion. I am continuing to greatly enjoy the history lesson and am learning a lot!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bazza – I know things change and must do … it’s just we seem not to care about the needs of those who are not able to adjust and join in …

@ Diane – good heavens – you cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats – amazing and congratulations.
It is difficult to know what to do about second homes – it’s the flurry of them that’s worrying – the ability to own a second one has grown exponentially: taking homes out of the market for those who live locally.
Mevagissy is lovely … I only remember going there a few times – once to go out and fish – bring home supper. Now it’s almost impossible to get to … so much traffic. It’s good that you have ‘tiny’ memories about your mother and Mevagissy …

@ Jo-Anne – thanks – it’s leaders and people thinking of others as these changes take place … but as you say we do need to cope as best we can.

@ Donna – I’m enjoying the history … as I’m learning much about the development and changes that took place …

Thanks so much to you all – it’s great reading your memories and thoughts – all the best … Hilary

Pam Lazos said...

I had a very dear friend, now deceased, who adored Cornwall and would go as often as possible, but at least every couple years which is a lot since she lived in Pennsylvania. She wrote a screenplay about it called "The Main Thing" about two people in the twilight years, both widowers, who fell in love. Such a beautiful story and thank you for this one about Cornwall, Hilary, because it gave me a moment to reminisce about my wonderful friend. I am saddened to hear of all the development which seems to be a worldwide problem, but perhaps someday we will learn that the natural beauty is the very thing that draws people there so if we bury it all under concrete it's not going to be so special anymore. Take care, Hilary and thanks for the lovely post.

debi o'neille said...

Nostalgic, but sad. It's heartbreaking to witness or hear about charming little places getting trodden by tourism. At the same token, I live in a small town slowly dying (not so slowly, really) because there's nothing here to attract residents or tourists. Coping, I guess, is everything.

Sandra Cox said...

I've always wanted to see Cornwall. Thanks for sharing it.

Erica/Erika said...

I appreciate you adding a map, Hilary. It gives me a frame of reference to your story. Fish and chips, my favourite guilty pleasure. It is interesting to learn the history of a place, especially when it was thriving. You make a great point on industry and jobs. Sad about local families. Like you say “...at what expense...” Your post reminds me of the Okanagan when I was a girl...lots of fruit, vegetables, summer families. Now, over 100 wineries....”It’s a changing world...”Hope you are well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pam – I’m so pleased to read your memories about your friend and the journeys she made from Pennsylvania – as you say a long way. What fun to know about and read her screenplay – it sounds intriguing. I’m sad she’s gone – but happy to know these posts triggered your memories of her.

Change is the scourge of life isn’t it – in all its forms ... but we have the stories and art from earlier life – I did love the rawness of Cornwall in my early days. Thanks for visiting …

@ Debi – lovely to see you … and as you live in a small town you’ll understand my thoughts here … I hope they can revive the town gently – so the locals can have a good life, but without the hassle of too much change.

@ Sandra – thank you … and I hope you can get over one day …

@ Erica – thank you – I realise some people won’t know where I’m talking about … so I try to highlight, but without swamping the posts with maps.

Fish and chips = excellent! I never got to the Okanagan – it was on the list, but things got in the way … but if you grew up there – I can quite understand your feelings now – and I’ve read about the wineries … they’re happening in so many places. All well here – thank you.

Thanks to you all for visiting … as Erica says ‘it is a changing world’.

Life continues … development will necessarily happen – just I loved my childhood days!! Spring day here – so I wish you all happy days ahead - Hilary

DMS said...

It is a changing world indeed. I am learning a lot about the places you have visited and explored. :)
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - good to see you ... it certainly is a changing world. I'm enjoying learning a bit more about the history too ... and mentally revisiting my early childhood. All the best - Hilary

Deborah Barker said...

"eventually a bypass in the 1980s was built ..." Ah, yes, we took our children and my sister, with her son, to a farmhouse in Hale in the mid eighties for a week's holiday. The guidebook showed it as a picturesque place, but we got there in a very wet and cold August. (I love Cornwall by the way) lt also transpired that the new by-pass was in noisy progress at the end of the farmhouse's drive and access by car was difficult. Whenever we drive along that by pass these days, I remember that holiday...buying coal in August to keep warm and listening to the sound of the diggers and drills...we left a couple of days early LOL! (I really do love Cornwall!) X

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah - I know you love Cornwall ... over Fowey way! How interesting to learn this ... and as you and I both know - Cornwall definitely can be cold at popular times of the year. Buying coal - bet they had it in Hayle somewhere ... no wonder you left early ... I'd have done too.

Thanks for this update comment on the Hayle post ... 'great' to know about - cheers Hilary