A Special Portrait

The portrait is of Richard Nicholls who was a Newlyn fisherman. He had two fishing boats,  PZ 486 Auld Lang Syne which was built for him in 1891 and PZ 663 Speedwell, which was built in 1908 and had a steam engine. The old sailing lugger PZ 486 was one of the boats that went to Whitby every year. His granddaughter has sent a wonderful story of how this portrait came about. Richard was in Whitby and got into conversation with the artist Charles H Thompson (1870-1946) who was painting  on the quay. He invited Thompson down to Newlyn and the artist repaid him by painting his portrait. Sadly, we are told that the artist outlived the fisherman who died two or three years after his portrait was painted.

New to the Archive

Rachel Scott  has kindly donated her great grandmother’s postcard book to the Archive. Her great grandmother Bertha Winterbon was a trained nurse and a member of the Friends Ambulance Unit  and served at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk during the First World War. She must have worked  alongside Ernest Procter who was a Quaker and therefore a Conscientious Objector. The postcard book contains copies of some of Ernest Procter’s war sketches as well as photos of hospital personnel and postcards. An account of Ernest Procter’s War by David Tovey can be found in  The Flagstaff Issue No 44 Winter 2019

.Figure1 Ernest Procter, The Entrance Hall. From Bertha Winterbon's Postcard book

The Brothers

A Newlyn resident, Jonathan Banks, has rescued an historic Penlee lifeboat from a boatyard in Kent and returned her to Cornwall.  She now lies in the Gweek Classic Boatyard and awaits restoration.  In 1919 three sisters in Torquay funded the lifeboat and named it ‘The Brothers’ after their nephews who had drowned in an accident in Cambridge.  The Brothers was built in 1922, was first called out in January 1923 and was in service at Penlee for eight years until 1931, saving 62 lives.  She later began a new life as a dive support boat in Dover before ending up in a boatyard in Rochester.  Her owner was unable to restore her due to failing health and she was rescued at the eleventh hour by Jonathan and returned to Cornwall in September.  His intention is to get her back into the water as a working boat.

A fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/f/SaveTheBrothers has been set up for anyone wishing to donate to help fund the restoration work.  The hull is largely original, but there is a daunting amount of work to be done, much of it expensive.


Henry Martin's painting is reproduced in a new book that the Archive has published. The book, Walk Newlyn, costs £5. Order Forms for the new book are available on the Website.

Picture: Henry Martin, Breakneck Alley, private collection.

We were surprised at how much has changed in Newlyn since earlier walk books were published and we were keen to showcase this alongside the important historical landmarks recognised in earlier books. The new book makes ‘walking Newlyn’ accessible to more people by splitting it into three separate walks round each of the historic districts of Old Newlyn – Newlyn Town, Street-an-Nowan and Tolcarne. We have been able to illustrate the book with images from old Newlyn so that visitors can imagine more easily how the village has developed. We have also reproduced some paintings of the Newlyn Colony Artists by kind permission of Penlee House Gallery where the original paintings may be seen.

Walk Newlyn, published by Newlyn Archive, August 2020. ISBN 978-0-9567528-5-7. Price £5.

Artists at Gwavas Terrace

The Tonkins cottage was on the southern corner of Gwavas Terrace which consisted of a number of dwellings. There was a small strip of garden at the front and two front doors; one led to the Tonkins cottage and the other to that of their nearest neighbour. The other dwellings of Gwavas Terrace were accessed at the side and back of the Terrace. On the landside there were orchards.
The Tonkins’ cottage was rather larger than the other cottages in the Terrace, being roomy enough for two visitors. However, as with all cottages in Newlyn in the 1880s, there was no running water and sanitation relied on the night soil cart, and the only light was from a paraffin lamp or candles and there was no light in the streets at all.
The front door of the Tonkins cottage opened into a hallway. There were doors on either side to the parlour and front room, and a kitchen at the far end. A staircase rose to the three bedrooms on the floor above. At the far end of the kitchen, there was a window and a door into the linhay. The linhay was a paved yard surrounded by neighbouring cottages, whose upper storeys projected over it, so that only its centre was open to the sky. The sheltered portion served as a store-place. The linhay at Gwavas Terrace could be accessed directly from the street by means of a covered ope, which was a dark passage or tunnel running down the side of the house. This was part of the Tonkins’ cottage, although the flying freehold above formed part of the cottage, next door.
There was an upper room above the covered part of the linhay at the Tonkins’ cottage, called the sail loft, which smelled of cutch, tanned nets, tar, and creosote and contained the nets that were out of season or being repaired. This is where Thomas Cooper Gotch made a rough studio in the early 1880s and was used by artists Stanhope Forbes (who stayed at the cottage when he first came to Newlyn in 1884) and Walter Langley. Thomas Cooper Gotch painted some of his most significant early work while staying at the cottage, including Hiding from Granny, 1883 and The Sailor’s Farewell, 1886, both painted in the linhay of the cottage.

The doorway and window shown in this picture is painted from the linhay at Gwavas Terrace. Walter Langley used this as the background for two of his well-known paintings, A Cousin from Town, 1898 and A Chip off the Old Block, 1905.


In 1879 Gwavas Terrace was the home of the childless William (a fisherman) and Annie Tonkin. They rented rooms to some of the first artists of the Newlyn Colony. NAME THE ARTISTS AND THEIR PAINTINGS.

The Tolcarne Inn c1912

The painting by Alec Walker shows Jessie Bray and Grace Thomas behind the bar of the Tolcarne Inn. Jessie Bray owned the Tolcarne in the late 1800's. Her daughter Grace Thomas took over from her until the St Austell Brewery bought the Inn  in the 1960's.  During the early years, many Newlyn artists drank there, including Alec Walker, who first came to Newlyn in 1912. Grace Thomas was a good friend of Derek Tangye and is mentioned in his books. Thanks to Grace’s granddaughter Lizzie for the information.



This painting was done by Alec Walker c1912 and shows the landlady and her daughter behind the bar of a famous Newlyn Inn. The Inn is very ancient and situated next to the sea.

Cliffside Stores

Michael Hitchens, currently in lockdown in Spain, thought the woman in the doorway of the grocery and vegetable shop looked like his grandmother Hannah Deeble

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Open Day 16 June 2018

There were 138 visitors to this open day, ‘Getting There and Getting Back’, and it was very enthusiastically received. Many conversations could be heard of

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Happy New Year 2018

The collage above celebrates the final opening of the Boathouse in 2017, when Friends of the Archive provided light refreshments for visitors and there was

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November 2017

Above: David Tredinnick, Chairman of the Newlyn Archive with film-maker Shauna Osborne-Dowle at the launch of the film ‘Boathouse Diary’ at the recent Open Day.

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Report on the Open Day

Christopher Laughton took this wonderful photo of the Archive Open day at Trinity on Saturday 6th September. 114 visitors visited the exhibition which was about

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February 2017

We would like to share the first letter addressed to the archive at its new home in the Admiralty Boathouse, which appropriately was a Friend’s

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News for May 2016

We had another very successful open day last month. The Building of Newlyn Harbour was held at Trinity Centre on April 4 2016 and was

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March 2016 News

The photos were taken at the last Open Day ‘The Great Storms’ on Saturday February 13, 2016, when we had a record 272 people visiting

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