WATCH: 13 retro videos showing Cornwall in times gone by

PUBLISHED: 12:45 18 February 2019

St Michael's Mount (albumen print by F. Frith, Cornwall, United Kingdom). Photographic Heritage, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

St Michael's Mount (albumen print by F. Frith, Cornwall, United Kingdom). Photographic Heritage, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)


Take a step back in time with these short clips showcasing the glory days of Cornwall. How much has changed over the past 100 years?

Muscular farm labourers and clay workers battle for middleweight championship of Great Britain at the Cornwall County Wrestling Championships in Newquay, Cornwall, 1925.

‘These two backs on the front will serve to introduce you to this rather fast party as you can see, holidaying at lovely Carlyon Bay on the Cornish coast.’ 1936

‘The little Cornish town (Camborne) is on its toes over the big fight. You needn’t guess which big fight because you’d be wrong. Once a year the boys get together to play a game called Wheat Pitching.’ 1937

‘One of the most pleasant of places to go to, a spot that’s almost bursting with memories of the glorious past, is ancient Tintagel in Cornwall.’ 1937

‘Its real name is Fowey – a charming, old-world, Cornish seaport on the west shore of the Fowey estuary and sheltered by a screen of hills. Narrow winding streets, and ancient eaves dwellings are a feature of the town.’ 1938

‘Like a stricken body, St Ives lifeboat lies on the rocks below the Godrevy lighthouse. Only one man out of her crew of eight has been saved. It went out to help a ship in distress but so cruel was the raging sea that the lifeboat though unsinkable was capsized twice.’ 1939

‘When most people think of loneliness they think of the sea, of distance from the outside world. But here in the West, where the Cornish coast flings a sheltering arm against the Atlantic, is an island where loneliness is only another name for enchantment – St Michael’s Mount.’ 1949

‘Halfway between Penzance and the Scilly Isles, it rises out of the turbulent sea, a beacon to men afloat – it’s Wolf Rock – one of Britain’s grimmest and oldest lighthouses.’ 1950

‘Now meet Catherine Bent of Deveran in Cornwall whose physical reaction to water is so strong that she is literally pulled this way and that in the direction of the underground stream she locates for Cornish farmers.’ 1954

‘Great words are shouted here, lines from the greatest of our plays, for hewn out of the rock itself is one of Europe’s loveliest theatres – the Minack Open Air Theatre on the cliffs of Porthcurno.’ 1955

‘For 364 days of the year, Helston in Cornwall is a typically old English market town – you might say quietly dignified. But on the remaining day, it has an atmosphere infectious gaiety that draws people from all over the country. For this is the famous annual Furry Dance.’ 1955

‘After those strenuous exertions, let’s relax now in the serenity of another seaside town. Once merely a cosy little fishing port, but today, proud of its reputation as perhaps the world’s most distinguished art colony: the county is Cornwall, and the place – yes you’re right – is St Ives.’ 1959

‘10 teams of life savers make a brisk appearance at St Ives in a rescue and resuscitation competition. These are the men who between them, last year, saved more than 100 people from drowning.’ 1963

If you enjoyed this article perhaps you’d like to read...

Cornwall’s oldest pubs: 13 historic inns you need to visit

The history behind some of Cornwall’s most renowned shipwrecks

The history behind Cornwall’s lighthouses and the keepers that ran them

Latest from the Cornwall Life