Two must-see places for visitors today – Fowey and Charlestown. I have already written about the former as one of my favourite towns, and it was a delight to wander yet again amongst the brilliant small shops and back lanes all the while immersed in the special atmosphere of a seaside town and port. Charlestown is different, very different.Located about a mile outside the town of St Austell it is ‘an amazingly pristine, unspoiled example of a late Georgian working port. It was constructed between 1791 and 1801 by Charles Rashleigh, entrepreneur and member of the local landowning family, in response to the growth of the local mining industry. Originally built to export copper and import coal, it was soon being used for the export of China Clay. It is from its creator that the the port gets its name.
Upon completion, Charlestown was a model Georgian “new town”. By the 19th Century various associated businesses were established in sheds and warehouses around the harbour such as pilchard curing, shipbuilding, brick making and lime burning, and the population exploded to close on 3,000. Many attractive period properties sprang up in the village, ranging from elegant Georgian houses to squat fisherman’s cottages, and by and large they remain giving the town an unspoiled Georgian character. This unique combination has lead to Charlestown being a popular location for film and television locations, and to some extent this has probably helped subsidise its existence and prevent development. Credits include Poldark (past and present), Hornblower, Mansfield Park and many more.
There is usually a fleet of square riggers ships to be seen, so it is more than worth a visit.