This time whilst at the Cellars I bought two booklets Lizard Tales 1 and 11 which contains tales from elderly Lizard villagers. It was produced in 1997 and some are no longer with us so it is great they were encouraged to put pen to paper. Several mentioned how in the summer the pleasure boats would into Church Cove from Falmouth, Queen of the Fal and the St Mawes. They used to come in three or four times a week with lots of passengers described as “well heeled” who would transfer into rowing boats and be brought into the Cove. We were very kindly given the photo above by a local which was taken by one of his relatives. We have had it blown up and framed and it now hangs in the hallway in the Cellars.
The boats would give a great hoot as they came into the cove. They would arrive at 12 and leave at 4 and many of the passengers would walk to Kynance and back which is a fair distance. They would stop at Hansy Cottage on the way up from Church Cove – the cottage opposite the Church – where “Granny Mitchell” would provide lunches and then teas on the way back to the Cove. The passengers would sit in her garden to eat. I was wondering what would happen if it rained as the cottage is small but I guess the boats would not come out in bad weather. There was a comment that summers were summers then.
A couple of very amusing sentences from the booklets: “if the tide was out when the boats came in the passengers would have to climb over the rocks and many of them lost a heel” and “some of them were sick and used to lay out at Granny’s all day. We gave them soda water.”
The boats stopped with the second world war. In fact the cove was wired off during the war.
The area around the Church was know as Churchtown (I think this included the older thatched houses that went down to the cove) and the farm nearest the church is still called Churchtown Farm. It was mostly allotments from the farm upwards. There used to be no road so people would have to walk from Church Cove up to the main Helston road and then into the village. One chap remembered how Churchtown people called the neighbours Lizard onions! There was a reference in another persons reflections of Churchtown rats!
Life was tough. One lady remembered how people in Churchtown would have to walk to a well for water. Clothes were washed and boiled. Oil lamps were used. It does make you realise how we take things for granted now like running water and mains electricity. Some people did have wells in their gardens and there were three village pumps. Once mains water came to the Lizard, South West water declared the pump water water unfit for human consumption!
One chap described how transport from the Lizard to Helston used to be by horse drawn buses which operated twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It left the Lizard at 1 and came back at 6 and as it took 2 hours each way it did not leave long for shopping! Passengers had to get off and walk up the hills at least those that could. The wheels were metal rimmed and the roads unmade which meant they passengers felt every uneven bit. Some passengers had to sit on top in the open in all weathers. There was tarpaulins to put across your knees to keep off some of the rain!
In the article it did not say when this was but the automated buses started in 1903. They had a driver and a conductor. One of the early conductors was a cockney who apparently found the population difficult to understand. I would have thought on both sides there may have been problems!