As you walk along Mountwise, take in the magnificent view across Newquay to the sea. Try to imagine the scene, as you gaze down the roads leading to the town. It’s the dawn of the twentieth century, fishermen, brewmen, shipwrights and carpenters, shopkeepers, miners, knitting factory workers, cooks and chambermaids etc., are heading to their various places of work. How different would it have been from today?
Like then, Newquay is still a thriving and hard working community. Today, tourism forms the backbone of the town’s economy and many of the properties along Mountwise have been converted into hotels.
The Newquay AFC’s team, known affectionately as the Peppermints because of the red and white strip, has hosted on their Mount Wise ground, matches with teams from the country’s national football leagues. During the off season, this ground is transformed into a different sporting arena when the ever popular weekly Donkey Derby is held.
Between 1790 and 1860 the Newquay Lead and Silver Mine was on Mountwise. The mine’s count house is believed to be number 57 and, either side of the road leading to Jewsons, the miner’s cottages.
From 1894 Newquay Water Works pumped water from the mine and supplied the town with water. The drainage tunnels, known as adits, ran from here and under the town to emerge in the cliffs behind Towan Beach and water from these outlets was used by the Mineral Water factory and the Steam Laundry.
As you proceed along Mountwise, see if you can spot the blue plaque on the front of the Blenheim Hotel identifying the birthplace of Sir William Golding, author of ‘Lord of the Flies’.
This road is one of the highest points in the town and proudly dominating the skyline is St. Michael’s church, one of the three largest churches in the county. The main body of this church was designed by Sir Ninian Comper and completed in 1911 and can hold a congregation of up to one thousand. In 1993 St. Michael’s was completely gutted by fire and the church was forced to close its doors to worshipers for three years. Now completely restored to its former glory, it is well worth a visit.
Cross into Marcus Hill on your way back to the Killacourt and, as you walk down the road, spare a thought for the man who gave the hill its name. It was formerly called Marky’s Hill after Mark Cardell, who, legend has it, following the murder of his wife, cut hi throat and ran down this hill and threw himself over the cliff into the sea.
If you care to discover more about Newquay’s past and present why not visit the Tourist Information Centre where a souvenir of many books on Newquay’s past and present can be purchased.