This film is part of Free

A Special Report from Porthleven

A report on the most southerly port on the island

News 1964 12 mins

From the collection of:

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TV reporter David Mudd is in Porthleven for a special report. Salvagers are working on the wreck of HMS Anson, a 44 gun adapted frigate of 1781 that went down at Loe Bar in 1807. Following the loss of an estimated 130 to 190 souls (some press-ganged crew fled the ship), Henry Trengrouse of Helston (John Opie painting shown) invented rocket apparatus used in life saving to this day. A monument is dedicated to him at St Michael's Church.

William Wittels was a Polish immigrant who turned a timber yard into a boatyard. Boatbuilding, netmaking and fishing became the mainstay of Porthleven with companies such as J Bowden, Oliver and R Kitto employing shipwrights. In 1811 an Act of Parliament was signed for the construction of a harbour in Mount's Bay in Cornwall to shelter ships from storms. The Portleven Harbour Company was set up and the new harbour was completed in 1825. An inner harbour for the fishing fleet was completed in 1858 and is still protected by its original timber balks. Porthleven is dependent on tourism and a coastal fishery.