The History of Hayle and North Quay and why it’s a Favourite Escape Location

It is true to say that Hayle and the town’s quayside have seen a lot of comings and goings over the years. We unpack some of its history and introduce the new hot location being added to the Cornish Escapes portfolio.

There’s a long history of settlement in the area stretching from the Bronze Age (evidence still exists at the fort on the hill above Carnsew Pool) to the Romans having a presence in Hayle Estuary, through the industrial revolution and on to the present day. All of these times have made their mark and now again the town is slowly revealing its latest reinvention – and we are delighted to be right at the heart of it; the transformation of Hayle Harbour into an exciting and vibrant new coastal quarter where we will have a portfolio of stunning new holiday homes.

Why Hayle has World Heritage Status

Hayle had worldwide recognition during the nineteenth century for being a forerunner in the global engineering market and the world’s most important mining port. This was all due to the first major development at Hayle which was the construction of the modern quay by John “Merchant” Curnow, in the 1740s, to service the fast growing mining industry.

This then attracted the Cornish Copper Company which moved from Camborne and set up a copper smelter at Ventonleague (Copperhouse Creek). This proved to be so successful that a canal was built to bring vessels right up to the works and additional land was purchased on both sides of the creek for industrial use and as housing for workers. The copper slag was cast into large heavy dark bricks or “Scoria Blocks” which were to prove a very useful building material which were used and re-used in the town.

In 1779 John Harvey, a blacksmith from nearby Carnhell Green, established a small foundry and engineering works in the area, now known as Foundry, to supply the local mining industry. The business flourished and is probably best remembered for producing beam engines, considered as some of the finest ever built, which not only served in Cornish mines but were exported worldwide. The story can be explored with a FREE visit to The Hayle Heritage Centre.

Harvey’s of Hayle reached their peak in the early/mid-19th century but, along with the other foundries and engineering works in Hayle, began a long and slow decline. In the years between the World Wars a number of small works were established on North Quay, including a glass works, a small oil depot and an ICI plant for producing bromine–a fuel additive for high octane aviation fuel. which increased the power of aircraft such as Hurricanes, Spitfires, Lancasters and Mosquitoes.

Modern Day North Quay

All are now closed and most of the buildings have been demolished but the engineering tradition continues with specialist firms of Bassett Engineering and Rigibore. Rigibore provides tooling to a global market and offers revolutionary products for hole boring. Bassett Engineering offer a wide range of engineering services to the Ministry of Defence.

The townscape of Hayle and its historic harbour were part of the initial submission of the Cornwall and West Devon historic mining landscape World Heritage bid. On 13 July 2006 it was announced that the bid had been successful and that the historic mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon would be added to World Heritage list.

Hayle as a Holiday Destination

In recent years the town of Hayle has developed into a desirable place to be and popular holiday destination. Its position by the sea and three miles of golden sandy beaches at low tide means that it has become a sought after Cornish Escape for all the family. As well as the grass-tufted dunes, there are rock pools at Strap Rocks and sea water beach pools at low tide. Plus, with a good breeze from the Atlantic, an expanse of beach at Gwithian Towans is a favourite destination for body-boarders, surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers in great all-year round conditions.

If you’re lucky you may also spot some Atlantic grey seals in the waters off the beach – just make sure that you only watch from afar.

Cornish Escapes in Hayle

All of the team here at Cornish Escapes are really excited that we have taken on some new holiday homes in Hayle.

The Cornwall House is the perfect retreat to escape to for a holiday on the West Coast. Immaculately and tastefully restored throughout, this three-bedroom property is right in the heart of Canonstown, near the port town of Hayle, and a short drive from the centre of St Ives. Plus – it is one of our ever-popular dog-friendly Escapes.
This striking, converted Wesleyan Sunday School property is situated near the mouth of the river Hayle with its three-mile stretch of golden sands and boasts parking and a private courtyard, perfect for alfresco dining and soaking up the Cornish sunshine.

Surfside is a stunning wharf style apartment located in the new North Quay development in Hayle. It has been designed to present the perfect getaway for your family and furry friend, with Estuary views and parking for one car. This stylish two-bedroom, two-bathroom holiday home has been built to a very high standard with the internal specification designed to complement the wonderful waterside location. Just a short stroll away to Hayle’s restaurants, Harbour, Towans, three miles of golden sands and shops, Surfside is also just a twelve-minute drive away from St Ives Town Centre with its famous art scene, boutique shopping and renowned Blue Flag beaches making it a real gem of a holiday home.

Although the accommodation is self-catering, there are some wonderful places to dine out only minutes from both of these beautiful holiday homes.