The Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn is celebrating its 300th birthday this year, and current custodians the Tunnicliffe family are calling for the local community to help them uncover tales from its history.
Chef Ben Tunnicliffe explained: “We have been in residence here at The Tolcarne since 2012, and have always wanted to know more about the history of the pub. We are hoping that local museums and archives, as well as members of the public, will be able to help us collect some great stories.”
A lintel above the door is inscribed with the construction date – 1717 – making it one of the oldest buildings in the Tolcarne area of Newlyn; the building was given Grade II Listed status in 1950.
The pub is directly next to the sea wall, and its story is intertwined with that of the famous fishing port, the Cornish mining industry, and the local artistic community.
The proximity of the sea has always been both an asset and a menace for landlords, who have on many occasions had to contend with breaches of the harbour wall and serious storm damage.
Tantalising snippets of dramatic stories have already been uncovered from various archives – including tales of fishermens riots, “furious gales” and high-spirited misdemeanours.
It is thought that a painting of 1935 entitled ‘Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn’ by local artist Dod Proctor shows the then Landlady, Jessie Bray – providing an insight into the inter-war years at the well-loved drinking house.
Ben’s mother Anne, who runs the pub alongside her son, is intrigued and keen to find out more:
“I think these walls could tell a story or two! We are hoping that families will have passed down tales through the generations, and that local institutions will help us by searching their archives for relevant records and images.”
The family have given The Tolcarne Inn a new lease of life, and the pub is now a magnet for food-lovers.
A chalk-board menu features the catch landed each day at Newlyn and sold in the neighbouring fish market, making the pub Inn one of the best places in the UK to enjoy fresh seafood.
Despite enjoying a reputation in the upper echelons of the Cornish food scene, The Tolcarne is still a humble pub, welcoming drinkers and remaining at the heart of the local community.
If you have interesting stories or material about the history of The Tolcarne, you are invited to call in at the pub or email firstname.lastname@example.org