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Champions Slip, Newlyn

The above photo shows Newlyn in the year 1882. Work has commenced on the building of the South Pier and luggers are drawn up on the beach. In the foreground the woman looks out on the scene from Champion's Slip. Named after the headmaster of the Wesleyan School  at the head of the slip. This was the route used by people traveling between Street an Nowan  and  Newlyn Town and visa-versa. On the other side of the beach was the Nor'ard Slip which led up to the cliff and the other half of Newlyn. Although the narrow streets which led down to the Fradgan could be used by pedestrians, horse-drawn traffic had to take another route when the tide was out. With care they  negotiated  the Nor'ard slip and then went across  the strand below, ending their journey at the Wharf Slip in the heart of Street an Nowan. At high tide the two sections were completely cut off.  Then it required them to make a journey up Jack Lane, down through Belle Vue to reach the top of St. Peters Hill, a much longer route. Many carters risked a wetting to beat the oncoming tide. There are reports of a four horse team, loaded with quarry stone, swimming the last few yards in an attempt to regain the far bank!

A hundred and twenty years have passed and the view has changed, as Sandra found out  as she stood in almost  the same spot as the woman.. 

The slip is now well hidden behind the fish stores, once the pilchard factory known as " The Cornish Canners". This was built on the site of the boat builders' yards, which were at a disadvantage when launching,  following the construction of the road in 1908. There are a few photos of launches being made which shows them dragging  the boat across the road and down  into the water. The business' later re-located at  Tolcarne on the Western Green and Newlyn Bridge.  With the coming of the road  people did not have to worry about the tides as Aunt Jane had done in  the  J. C. Tregarthen's novel "The Smugglers Daughter".

"The sun was shining over the Lizard when Aunt Jane accompanied by Kitty with the carpet bag, set out to catch the coach.

"There's every promise of a fine day," said she as they passed along the cliff. What a pity it is you can't come with me."

" A very great pity, Auntie, but it can't be helped. It would never do, as you said, for father to come back and find us both gone: besides there's fathers money and your rents to be thought of."

" To be sure there are; but I don't trouble about them: it's seldom any old soldiers come our way, and as for Newlyn folk they're as honest as the day. I'm more troubled about the tide do you think we can cross the sands?"

"Yes, Auntie, if you put your best foot forward, as you are doing."

I promise you I'll do that."

Even then they were only just in time, having to make a dash for it as the wave receded from the foot of the slip.

Across the beach they trudged to the passage that wound between the cottages, and so to Newlyn Bridge......."


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Last modified: Thursday April 16, 2009 .