Wandering down the hill into Charlestown harbour you’d be forgiven for feeling a little confused. A curious mixture of old and new the town has suddenly become a top tourist attraction thanks to Poldark, and yet it has held a starring role in so many productions over the years because of its unique positioning and its steadfast hold on the seafaring history it portrays. In some ways it reminded me of the Dartmouth or Exeter Quay of the early seventies which had featured epically in the popular costume drama of the time, The Onedin Line ( theme from Spartacus, starts up in my head and rests there as a bygone ear worm!). Charlestown is currently besieged by Poldark fans, I wandered along the quay and heard one woman excitedly saying to her long suffering husband ” and this is where we saw Verity climbing aboard Captain Blamey’s ship to elope!”. Only a moment before I had walked the harbour wall and pictured the merchants walking with Ross and commenting on his newly married status. Yes, it seems that Charlestown is coming into its own again and it will be forever the ‘Falmouth’ of eighteen century England now.
About a decade ago a friend of mine had been supplying pumping equipment into the dock when he found himself standing next to a fully costumed Mel Gibson who nodded to him and said hello and they passed a short exchange that was ( unsurprisingly for those of us who experience Cornish weather daily!) centred around the futility of pumping out a dock that the heavens would soon set about refilling! He was most excited by the fact that that wasn’t the shortest thing about Mr G!
Charlestown is enchanting and shouldn’t just be viewed as an eternal film set however. It’s restaurants serve amazing Cornish fare and the heritage centre is a wonder to behold for anyone interested in the history of our seafaring nation. We will be revisiting it later in the summer with some recommendations for all our followers.