”Beach House (Cottage)” was, in the mid-1800s, a pub called the “Ship Inn”. “Beach House” is part of the complex that contains the “Mermaid Café” and is surrounded by the sea defence wall known locally as “The Platt”. Between 1851 and 1865 the landlord was Thomas Saunders (Sanders) who brewed his own beer. Thomas Saunders, in his pocket book, records that on the 17th June 1851 he brewed 36 gallons of beer, and in the same month he paid £30 – 4s – 7d for 47 tons of coal including Freight, carriage and stowing. He also states that on the 21st January 1867 “the hend of the Ship Inn washt down”. More interestingly he also records that on the 31st January 1867 Mr. Varcoe sold the Ship Inn to Mr. W. Hicks, St Austell for £61. It is presumed that this is the Walter Hicks who founded St Austell Brewery, I believe in the 1850s. St Austell Brewery is, of course, still going strong and I am sure many are familiar with their ales. I believe Thomas Saunders died on 31st January 1892 but I have no idea how old he was.
“THE CHIP SHOP and BEACHCOMBER”
This site was once the site of a very well-known boat builder, John PILL, 1799 – 1883, where he built boats up to 40 ft. in length. The business continued in the Pill family until 1925, run by John’s nephew Richard Pill and included an export trade. I believe his boats were well known as “Gorran Haven Crabbers”. I also believe that a replica of one of these boats has recently been built in Fowey for a private owner.
“FUCHIA COTTAGE” (next to the CHOP SHOP Hairdressers)
According to a Grose family history, researched and written by Kenneth J. Grose, this cottage was occupied by Thomas and Emma Grose for nearly all of their 54 year marriage. It then had four rooms and was built on the site of a fish cellar. Thomas was a stone mason and between June and October 1886 he worked on the building of the new quay. Thomas died at Fuchsia Cottage on 24th June 1948, aged 79 leaving a will with an estate of £233. Emma died in April 1950, aged 84 and both are buried at Gorran churchyard.
Thomas and Emma brought up two sons in Fuchsia Cottage. The elder was Robert Henry (Bob) born in 1894. He did not marry until he was over 45 years old. He originally worked as a mason but in 1935 he was left Rice Farm by his uncle and he then became a farmer. In 1940 he married Elsie Brown and went to live in Rattle Street. They had no children and he died in 1975 aged 80 years. The second son was John Wade Pill Grose who was born in October 1896. This son went to work in the post office and after serving in the First World War left the village and continued his career in the postal service until he retired in 1956. He died in Southampton in 1988 on the eve of his 92nd birthday. He was the father of Kenneth Grose the writer of their family history.
“TRELAWNEY” (between HARBOURS REACH and GRIST MILL)
This property was built by Susan (Susie ) Pomery in about 1904 on the site of an old lime kiln which failed after the other lime kiln was built at the top of the beach. Susan was born in 1861 and never married. She was the daughter of Robert and Eliza Pomery and was one of eight children. She went to Birmingham with two of her brothers and became a Post Office supervisor. She retired following a nervous breakdown in her forties, returned to Gorran Haven and built Trelawney. She let “apartments” there from about 1914 to 1923 and continued to live there until her death in 1946, aged 85 years. In 1880 one of her brothers, Robert, and his 16 year old son Henry disappeared whilst fishing from Gorran Haven. Neither body was ever found.
SMUGGLERS HOUSE, RATTLE STREET.
Built circa 1580 Smugglers House was originally a pub called The Duke, the landlord was an Oliver. Later it became a hotel, then a restaurant.