The Last Thatched Cottage
William Mann and his grand-daughter outside the cottage during the fire.
William Henry Mann saw his house on fire at Newlyn In the early part of 1938 lt
was a matter of supreme concern to him and to his grand-daughter who lived with
him. But that fire was not without a more general significance, for it robbed
Newlyn of the last of its thatched cottages. The cottage stood in Church Lane,
which is now known as Gwavas Lane between Church Street and Boase street almost
opposite the Centenary Methodist Church.
The, vine and the geraniums which flourished before its white washed walls
adding to its charm. Stanhope Forbesís picture,
ďThe Evening HourĒ, painted some years earlier, shows the road at
this spot, and preserves on canvas
a record of three similar thatched cottages
which then stood opposite Williams but which were pulled down to make
room for the Methodist chapel. But William Henry Mannís cottage is not
entirely omitted; it just appears on the extreme right as a subordinate but very
useful part of the composition the portion of its thatched roof being
John J Beckerlegg had a conversation with his father-in-law, Mr. Joseph Marrack Harvey, in August 1944. Mr Harvey was 85 years of age and a native of Newlyn, and it occurred to John Beckerlegg That he should try and find out how many other thatched cottages in Newlyn his father in law could remember. They decided to keep to Newlyn Town, as in his early days Street-an-Nowan was a separate community and had not made the same impression on his memory. Beckerlegg acted simply as recorder and draughtsman and thought they should find a dozen or so, but he was astonished to find that his father in law had personal recollections of no fewer than 64 thatched cottages in Newlyn Town alone. So in the lifetime of this 85 year old man 64 of Newlyn's thatched cottages had disappeared.
Source The Old Cornwall Magazine 1944.
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