Alongside the Penpol Creek is Penpol Terrace – a Victorian row of terrace houses with shop fronts built into the front gardens.
Harvey & Co were eventually forced to allow trading to take place outside their Emporium (where workers spent the tokens they were paid in) but the lack of available space meant that shops had to be built in the existing gardens. Now the row consists of many independent shops including my favourite, the Emporium above. I managed to buy a painted nest of tables and a lovely Windsor style chair from here when we first moved to Cornwall, for a very reasonable price. And surely that Pottering Shed sign is destined for my home?
One shop stands out from the rest – Carnsew Gallery which was originally a butcher’s shop and has a lovely mosaic bull floor. There are terracotta panels with sheeps’ heads to the stall riser and a tiled mural on the left wall of the porch depicting a bull.
At the end of the terrace is “Pickle Jar” Corner and where you find Philps the famous pasty company. I confess to having tried one or two and can recommend the chicken ones. Here it was possible to cross to the Lelant Saltings at low tide by five different tracks, each marked with a granite or wooden post to avoid the quicksand.
(“Pickle Jar” Corner got its name from the local practice of putting a wooden plank across pickling barrels to use as seats during Carnival and Feast Day parades).
The Royal Standard Inn marks the boundary between Harvey & Co and the Cornish Copper Company. The inn itself is very early and once called the “Passage House” and before the Hayle Causeway was built or the A30, travellers to St Ives and Penzance would have stopped here for refreshments whilst waiting for safe tidal conditions in which to cross the estuary.
On the creekside the land is laid to garden with many flower beds and benches, often double-sided so you can choose whether to face the creek or the terrace.
A poignant memorial stands at the beginning of the terrace in honour of Cyril Richard Rescorla who was born in Hayle in 1939. He was working for Morgan Stanley in the Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 and helped 2,700 people to safety during the evacuation. He died when the second plane hit the towers. (In 2019 President Trump has awarded Rick Rescorla with the Presidential Citizen’s Medal for his actions while serving as head of security during the 9/11 attacks.)
This is not a long walk by any stretch of the imagination, but full of the history of this once famous little town.