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Charlestown Harbour Opens to The Public for The First Time

April 15, 2017 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

On 17 April The Grayhound tall ship, will visit the historic port of Charlestown, to celebrate the opening of the harbour to the general public for the very first time, the return of trade to the historic port and a unique port collaboration.

Charlestown Harbour is a beautiful well-preserved 18th century trade port which has become globally famous as the nautical backdrop to some of the finest historical dramas and movies including Poldark, Dr Who and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Now, thanks to a unique collaboration between, The Shipwreck and Heritage Centre and the Historic Port of Charlestown, visitors to the Cornish harbour town, will be offered a unique chance to experience life on and off deck, including opening the stunning 18th Century harbour to the public for the first time in its history.

And to give a flavour of what’s to come, The Grayhound, a replica 18th Century three masted CustomsLugger, built in Millbrook, Cornwall, will celebrate this unique partnership by delivering its first consignment to the port and the Shipwreck Museum and Heritage Centre; where visitors will have the opportunity to purchase exclusive items delivered by this trading tall ship.

To date, the harbourside has been closed to the public for the exclusive use of trade ships and film companies, but now the general public will be able to go down into the harbour where there will be opportunities to interact with an authentic 18th century tall ship, The Phoenix: visitors could steer the ship, square the main yard and maybe even raise a sail. Visitors can also learn about trading vessels, explore the cargoes of the past and see what conditions were like for an 18th Century sailor.

MD of The Lost Gardens of Heligan, George Elworthy, a resident of Charlestown, who’s taken over stewardship of the Shipwreck Centre and Heritage Museum said, said, “We are delighted to welcome TheGrayhound to celebrate this special day which marks a historic opportunity to bring both the harbour and the museum alive again. We want to pay homage to the explorers and traders of the past: Charlestown used to be home to the final remaining sail-only cargo boat in the 1930’s – and we now want to embark on a new era of trade.”

Charlestown’s Shipwreck Museum and Heritage Centre is being redeveloped by its new owners. The much loved Cornish attraction is home to Europe’s largest collection of shipwreck artefacts from over 150 shipwrecks including objects from The Titanic, as well as many important artefacts from Britain’s most famous sunken ships. It is hoped the museum will now engage with diving clubs to embark on future dives to further explore our history under the seas.

The Shipwreck Museum and Heritage Centre’s restaurant, Loveday’s, has also been re-developed to offer both a celebration of Cornish ingredients as well as those from around the world, reflecting the historic trade routes to Cornwall.

The newly re-furbished Shipwreck Shop will also reflect the theme of global trade and will celebrate the early trading days of the port. It will showcase exclusive lines from the Grayhound and offer small, exclusive ranges of items that have arrived into the harbour from around the world, including wines, food and other limited edition items.

George Elworthy comments, “Like The Lost Gardens of Heligan, where we brought the gardens back to life, we wish to bring the Shipwreck Museum and Heritage Centre alive again. We believe that the Museum is a gem that needs to be preserved and its collection should continue to be further developed. We believe that our experience at Heligan gives us a unique understanding of how to tell a story of great power and a heritage that haunts the imagination”.

The new Charlestown visitor experience has been created thanks to a unique partnership between The Historic Port of Charlestown and The Shipwreck Museum and Heritage Centre. For the first time, visitors will be able to purchase one ticket which enables them to visit both the Shipwreck Museum and the Harbour, to explore the harbour’s rich history as a global port and Cornish trade hub.

Interestingly, The Lost Gardens of Heligan hold a 240 year old historical and romantic link with Charlestown. Back in 1776, Grace Tremayne, the sister of Heligan Squire Henry Hawkins Tremayne, married Charles Rashleigh; the man who gave Charlestown its present day name. This recent acquisition once again brings the two heritage sites back together ensuring that the links of love are never forgotten.

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