by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
August 27, 2004
Charlestown however could not compete volume-wse with the huge tonnages being shipped out from Fowey and Par and, around 15 years ago, ceased to be a working port.
It has now however revived its fortunes on two counts.
Firstly, Charlestown is in demand as a "location" for many types of TV dramatisations. Although no longer a working port, it has been left pretty much as it was and this lends itself admirably to the critical gaze of film producers. Recent productions filmed at least partly here include Daphne du Maurier's "Frenchman's Creek" and the TV series "A Respectable Trade" starring Warren Clarke as a 19th century slave trader.
Charlestown's second stroke of good fortune is that several "full rigger" training ships now use the facilities at the harbour for everything from cleaning down to replacing masts and re-rigging. You will probably be fortunate to find at least one ship in dock here at any one time and it is possible to go aboard with the captain's consent. Readers will remember the ill -fated "Maria Assumpta" that was based here which tragically foundered and broke up on rocks (off Portugal I believe) only days after a full refit here and was widely reported in the news.
You can see all Charlestown has to offer in half a day including the Lifeboat Museum, situated at the top end of the harbour.