Fowey is the toast of yachtsmen and ramblers, but also of historians and archaeologists.
Iron Age Man lived here. The Romans found it already a port. In 1380 the Spanish, and in 1457 the French, tried to raze it to the ground. Drake, Raleigh and Frobisher all sailed from Fowey, whose harbour was surveyed by Cook before he became Captain. Here, Charles I was shot at and Queen Victoria welcomed; here, Kenneth Grahame and Daphne du Maurier found literary inspiration and the Treffry family planned their pioneering role in the Industrial Revolution.
A natural place, then, for a museum. It has a sympathetic setting in the oldest part of the Town – in a room which served as a council chamber when Fowey was a borough in its own right.
With the civic regalia on display is the mayoral chain made for the former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Charles Hanson, in his role as Lord High Sheriff of the City of London. It stands proud among artefacts and memorabilia of the many who have enriched Fowey with art, craft or government, industrial skill or naval reputation.
Complementing them is the hardware of Fowey’s seafaring celebrity: the timber, sails and cordage from ships that chased the Spanish, beat the French and carried Cornish tin and China Clay all over the world.
Together, they form a compelling backdrop for special events – like the 1995 exhibition of famous local authors – which bring cultural pilgrims to join the holidaymakers drawn by the magnet of Fowey’s narrow, atmospheric streets and lovely estuary setting.
Fowey museum may be a small one room affair,housed in one of the oldest buildings in the town dating back to the 15th century, but it is packed to the ceiling with interesting artifacts illustrating some of the rich and varied history of this harbour town and its inhabitants. Some of the displays are changed every year so that we can commemorate local events. Regular items on show are the cape worn by Garibaldi during his Italian campaign, boat building tools from the days of sail, the ‘finds’ from Fowey area including the contents of a medieval garde-robe. We celebrate our many litterary connections, civic pride and maritime heritage.
A cabinet of curiosities.
Museum open Easter to end September
Monday to Friday 10.30am – 16.30 pm
Last entry 16.00hrs.
Adults: £1 – Children: under 16 or in full time education – free.