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Penzance

Penzance originated as a medieval fishing village on Mounts Bay. It held a weekly market from the 14th century but was not a borough until 1614. It was a ‘coinage town’ (for the taxation of tin produced in the region) from 1663. By the early 19th century Penzance had become a prosperous commercial focus for West Cornwall and developed additional functions as a port and resort after the through railway route across the Tamar was opened in 1859. Penzance lies in Penwith District in the extreme west of Cornwall, 10 miles from Land’s End, the most south-westerly town not only of Cornwall, but of Britain as a whole. It sits on the north-west shore of the spectacular sweep of Mount’s Bay. With the most temperate climate in Britain, the town is particularly noted for its sub-tropical trees and plants, as well as fine 18th and 19th century buildings, high quality streetscapes and spectacular views.

Penzance is a port, rail and coach route terminus, and also the major interchange for local rail, road and bus networks. Sea links with the Isles of Scilly operate from Penzance harbour and air routes from the heliport and nearby Land’s End airport. The town is on the A30, the major spinal route through Cornwall linking to the M5 at Exeter. This ceases to be a national trunk road on the eastern edge of Penzance. The harbour is the most westerly major port in the English Channel, the first reached from the Atlantic and the principal commercial port west of Falmouth.

These connections give Penzance a strategic importance that outweighs its remote location – approximately 300 miles from London – and, in the wider regional context, small size. It is one of the larger towns in Cornwall, with a population in the wider urban area (including Newlyn) of about 21,000.
 

Downloads:
The downloads offered below represent the different elements of the CSUS Penzance Report including the core text, seven illustrative figures and nine character area summaries.
 

 Title Description Format Size

CSUS Penzance Report

REPORT text detailing the results of the historic character study for the town of Penzance. Nick Cahill with Stef Russell, Cornwall Archaeological Unit. Format type: PDF

4.9mb

Figure 1 - Location & Topography Map Map showing the location of Penzance and its immediate topography. Format type: PDF 3.3mb
Figure 2 - OS 2nd Edition 1:2500 Map Map showing the town of Penzance in c.1907. Format type: PDF 1.7mb
Figure 3 - Historic Development Map Map showing the historic development and expansion of Penzance. Format type: PDF 1.9mb
Figure 4 - Historic Settlement Topography Map Map showing the historic topography of Penzance with key areas of historic activity. Format type: PDF 1.6mb
Figure 5a and 5b - Surviving Historic Components Map Map showing the surviving historic buildings of Penzance. 5aFormat type: PDF5bFormat type: PDF 1.6/1.9mb
Figure 6 - Urban Archaeological Potential Map Map showing the areas and sites of archaeological potential in Penzance. Format type: PDF 1.7mb
Figure 7 - Character Areas Map Map showing the nine character areas identified by the survey of Penzance. Format type: PDF 1.5mb
Character Area 1a - Market core

Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of the busy commercial and market focus and the meeting and crossing point of the town's main streets. It is made up of several linked strongly enclosed spaces with a diverse collection of important historic commercial and public buildings.

Format type: PDF 648kb
Character Area 1b - Market Jew Street Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an area of late medieval expansion from the market core, now Penzance's main shopping street, close to the main car park and bus and railway stations. It has striking townscape qualities dominated by the porticoed facade of the Market House at the head of the rising street. Format type: PDF 839kb
Character Area 1c - Chapel Street Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an area of extraordinarily fine historic streetscape, with an assemblage of historic buildings of very high distinction and charm. Formerly one of the main axes of the medieval town, it now presents an air of quiet gentility, underpinned by a range of predominantly 'quality' uses. Format type: PDF 711kb
Character Area 1d - Causewayhead Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a lively pedestrianised shopping street with some the best surviving historic shopfronts in Penzance. There is a diverse range of building styles and heights, but the street overall offers a strong sense of enclosure. Format type: PDF 658kb
Character Area 1e - The back streets Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of the secondary streets around the historic core, mostly narrow and enclosed. Format type: PDF 795kb
Character Area 2a - Transport interchange Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a busy, diverse area dominated by large structures, traffic movement, street furniture and signage, and the functional hard landscaped spaces of the railway, bus station and car park. Format type: PDF 1.5mb
Character Area 2b - Tidal harbour


Character Area 2c - Working harbour

Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of the tidal harbour, where large expanses of tidal water in the outer harbour and inner basin give this area an open, expansive character, framed on the landward side by historic buildings mounting the coastal slope.
Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a busy, strongly enclosed area, dominated by large buildings and engineered structures and a mix of industrial, commercial, maritime and tourist and leisure uses.
Format type: PDF 647kb
Character Area 3 - The Barbican Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an area that was the earliest focus in Penzance. Although subject to major changes in the 20th century, important traces of its former tight-grained and small-scale industrial and residential character survive. Format type: PDF 721kb
Character Area 4 - The Promenade Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an area that is unified by the broad, elegant, linear engineering of the Promenade itself, with a range of leisure, tourism and residential uses fringing its landward side. It offers striking views across the bay and into town. Format type: PDF 697kb
Character Area 5 - Wherry Town Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an historically industrial area. Wherry Town retains a predominantly commercial and edge-of-settlement character despite loss of of most of its historic topography and fabric. Format type: PDF 547kb
Character Area 6 - Chyandour Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a formerly self-contained industrial area and settlement created by the Bolitho family along a stream valley on the eastern finge of Penzance. despite demolition of much of the indutrial fabric, and the presence of main roads and the railway line, it retains a distinct sense of its former industrial and 'estate village' character. Format type: PDF 617kb
Character Area 7 - Lescudjack and the Battlefields Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of an extensive zone of 19th century housing, predominantly terraces and rows, with accompanying institutional buildings, set tightly on a grid of streets laid across sloping terrain north of the core of Penzance. Format type: PDF 894kb
Character Area 8 - Alverton and Morrab Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a large and diverse suburban area, predominantly of genteel villas and terraces, with a significant presence of professional, recreational and institutional uses. trees and gardens are an important element in its character. Format type: PDF 993kb
Character Area 9 - St Clare's and Penalverne Summarises the comprehensive assessments of character and regeneration opportunities of a green, low-density suburban area with a concentration of large-scale public and institutional uses, including hospital, cemetery, schools and cricket ground. It forms a gateway for traffic approaching Penzance from the north. Format type: PDF 741kb

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