Crantock Street cemetery is worth taking the time to explore. Here you will discover that many grave stones offer a poignant reminder of Newquay’s seafaring past. During the early part of the 20th century, Newquay became known for its textile industry which was started by Madam Hawke, in 1905. At one time there were as many as seven major knitting companies throughout the town. Quality knitted goods were sent to Debenhams in London, who built the Newquay Knitting Factory for Madam Hawke in 1918. This very large building can be found half way along Crantock Street. At its peak it employed as many as 450 women and girls working hand-operated machinery. In order to transport the many thousands of “Newquay made” garments safely to their destinations, cardboard packing boxes were needed. Mogford Box Factory stood next door to the Knitting Factory.
Treffry Court, on the opposite side of the road, was built on the site of Newquay Board School. The school was opened in 1875 and had 120 students under the watchful eye of the headmistress, Miss Grace Wallis. Education was not perhaps respected as it is today. Records show that children would rather visit a local fair or a ship wreck than attend lessons. Girls would also be taken out of school, in the summer months, to help their Mothers look after holidaymakers who were staying with them. The pitched end wall of the boy’s toilets and the substantial granite capped pillars bordering the entrance are all that remain. In front of the school, where the seating area is now sited, Newquay’s first official Fire Brigade Station once stood. The original Fire Bell now hangs outside the town’s new fire station in Tregunnel Hill, which can be discovered on the second part of the trail.
The cottages at the bottom of Crantock Street were built by Mr. Cotton Jenkin for members of his family. He was quite a character and would never be seen without his favourite bowler hat. His grandson, Reginald Cotton Jenkin, who sported the nickname Baron because of his dapper dress, would parade the town with his friend who went by the nickname Lord Lonsdale.
The Salvation Army Meeting Place, at the junction of Crantock Street and St George’s Road, was the site of the town’s first Methodist Meeting House. It was later taken over by the Congregationalists and became known as John Cotton’s Chapel, after the farmer from Trenance who often conducted services. A little belfry was added in 1849 which housed the first bell in Newquay to call people to worship. In 1897, from the forecourt of the chapel, a solicitor’s clerk took evidence from the men involved in the Headland Riots.
Before moving into Bank Street, see if you can you see the very old tin plate sign with a hand pointing the way to Fistral? Bank Street is the commercial centre of town where all major banks where located. Many are no longer with us, yet you may notice the imposing facades announcing their wealth and importance. Can you identify the architectural gem which was once The Devon and Cornwall Bank?
Woolworth stands on land purchased from the Womens Institute. The first building on this site was St Michaels Chapel of Ease which opened in 1858. After its demolition in 1938, FW Woolworths bought the site and installed Cornwall’s first escalator. This contraption caused such a stir that people came from far and wide just to try it out!