Porthleven Calamity 1925

February 1925



During an early morning in February 1925 there was an alarming incident which will never efface itself from the memory of the oldest resident of the village, the day that Bay View Terrace
came within an ace of being swept away by the sea.

Of the many tales related about the event the providential escape of Mr.Henry (Harry) Cowls, a postman serving the inhabitants, can only be described as a miracle.

Mr. Cowls was delivering mail on the first of three daily rounds. He had just passed the home of Cap`n Will Cowls, when on looking round he was astonished to see the whole of the gardens and protecting walls, weighing many hundreds of tons, slipping away into the harbour.

Photograph showing the extent of the damage done on that fateful Februry morning in 1925.
This photograph kindly sent by ASHLEY LAITY, Porthleven

Terrific waves completed the work of destruction.

The sea wall, protecting railings, paving stones,roadway and the mighty harbour walls were being pounded into the sea. Only feet separated the stone built houses, which at the time were little more than 20 years old, from sharing a similar fate.

The site formerly supported some old fishermens cottages and it has been related that some of the old cobblestones and foundations of the former Buenos Ayres Row were revealed by the catastrophe.


Another alarmed resident was Mr.Thomas Kitchen, a retired fisherman and owner of two fishing boats, the “CRISPO” and the “JAMIE”.His house was also threatened, but it escaped by the same margin. However, the damage was made good, the gardens, protecting walls, rails, cobbled road and strong sea wall were all replaced at enormous expence. Even during present times there is anxiety when storm and tempest rage and huge seas, weighing many tons, loose their fury on this particular part of Porthleven village.

This is the part of the Harbour Wall which fell into the sea.
Note the difference in colour in both walls where repairs were carried out and even with just a small winter swell the waves hit just at this point!