Planned Perran Railway Pier and Harbour 1865

In 1865 an application was submitted to incorporate a company, called “The Perran Railway, Pier, and Harbour Objects Company”, and to empower them to set up and run a light railway from near to Perranporth, through Cubert and out to Holywell Bay – and building a long pier into the sea and a harbour. Clearly this never went ahead; many similar plans, such as the light railway from Padstow to Newquay didn’t go ahead either.

Carter's Rocks / Gull Rocks, Holywell Bay, Newquay

Carter’s Rocks / Gull Rocks, Holywell Bay, Newquay

They had £100,000 in “Ten Shilling Shares” and £33,000 on loan to pay for it.  They proposed two railways: 3 miles, 2 miles – and a pier.

  • Railway 1: From St Allen to Treamble Farm at Rose.
  • Railway 2: From the end of the first railway, to Holywell Bay.
  • Put up a pier from the end of Penhale Point, to Carter’s Rocks

One interesting feature they planned was a full pier and harbour at Holywell Bay, using the large existing Gulls Rocks (called Carter’s Rocks in their application) and bridging the gap between those rocks and the existing Penhale Point headland.

When submitted to the House of Lords in June 1866 it was pointed out that what they proposed broke several standard rules and ways of undertaking business, potential for unfair charging and no mention of the rights of pedestrians etc over the Pier.  The application was dismissed because of the necessary amendments required and some corrections to wording/meaning.  The phrase “… would not be in accordance with the practice of Parliament” was given on a couple of occasions, in response to some of the planned practices and methods they planned in controlling the pier/shipping/freight.

It was also noted that such a proposal would interfere with tidal waters, which the application had completely omitted and required various more Acts to be included in the Bill.

The “Perran Railway, Pier and Harbour Bill” was read 2-3 times through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Suffice to say, whatever the decision, it appears to have all gone quiet after this – and the project never materialised.

The car park closest to the beach at Holywell Bay is opposite the St Piran’s Inn. It’s free for National Trust members. This area would have been where the administration and freight offices would have been based I bet.

Next time you are at Holywell Bay: Imagine how the scenery would have looked; there’d be a harbour there, full of boats – and many more houses around.

Then – check out the two local pubs, St Piran’s Inn, on the beach – and the 12th century, thatched, Treguth Inn 50 yards along the road. Both serve food.

The nearest caravan park to Holywell Bay is Holywell Bay Holiday Park (Parkdeans); further up the hill are Trevornick and the main Holywell Bay site. It’s a choice between a small park without facilities, close to the beach and two pubs, or a large caravan park with all amenities on site.

Images © Geoff Welding

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