Heligan has been the seat of the Tremayne family for more than four hundred years and is one of the most mysterious estates in England. At the end of the 19th century its thousand acres were at their zenith, but only a few decades later, bramble and ivy were already drawing a green veil over the grounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Spring is fighting through in the West Country and to show its golden hand the meadows and fields are starting to turn a distinctly daffodil colour of yellow! But they’re not the only blooms poking their heads above the soil, here’s a quick guide to where you can catch some Cornish flora this weekend.
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This is the first blog from Ben our working boat blogger, he’ll be bringing us regular updates from the waters of Carrick Roads and beyond.
This weekend the world famous ‘Matthew’ will be in Padstow!
150 years ago today the very first public weather forecast was published, starting with the lines ‘general weather probable in the next two days…’ and triggering our national fascination with all things weather related.
The British are renowned for being more than a little bit weather obsessed – and who can blame us? The unpredictability of British weather can play havoc with summer holidays, hair styles and also our choice in wardrobe. It could be the middle of summer, but we might still need the thick knit and wellingtons close to hand!
All this means that the public weather forecast has become something of a lifestyle crutch to anyone in the vicinity of the British Isles who’s planning a stay-at-home holiday, sailing excursion or simply a picnic in the middle of summer.
So today, the 150th birthday of the first public weather report must be something of a celebration for us meteorologically minded people; here’s a quick look back at the history of modern weather forecasting.
The invention of the telegraph in 1835 revolutionised communications and weather reporting. Information could be relayed at a speed never experienced before, which meant that weather reports from a wide range could be reported almost instantaneously and forecasts made on conditions upwind.
This new science of meteorological prediction was pioneered by Francis Beaufort and Robert Fitzroy. But despite their impressive naval credentials (Fitzroy captained the HMS Beagle during Darwin’s famous voyage) the initial work received ridicule from a wide range of critics who believed the science unfounded and under researched – some even attributed its accuracy to magic!
In 1859 however a huge storm destroyed the Royal Charter and FitzRoy felt compelled to design forecasting charts. These charts allowed standardised predictions to be made – a process he called ‘forecasting the weather’.
On 1st August 1861 The Times Newspaper ran the first publically published report and as a nation we haven’t looked back.
Here’s a little shipping forecast montage, surely the nations favourite soundtrack for a spot of meteorological reminiscing.
This week Seasalt turns thirty, here Neil Chadwick remembers the influences and early days that inspired our wonderful seaside company.
“In the seventies it used to take eight hours to get to Cornwall, even with leaving at two o’clock in the morning. We’d arrive just in time for Mrs Richards to make us breakfast in St Ives.
Our B&B was right next to the artist studios in Back Road West and when we moved down here in 1981 we moved into the same cottage permanently – Dad had quietly bought the house after breakfast one morning a few years before. It was perfect timing because our shop in the Midlands had started to suffer in the worsening recession. Businesses were closing everywhere and it was a strange sight driving through once thriving areas of Walsall and Wednesbury seeing factories that had removed their roofs. The law at the time curiously stated that if there wasn’t a roof on the building you didn’t have to pay rates.
In 1980, on a fairly typical drizzly August day whilst on holiday, my brother David and Dad went to Penzance and came across a shop called General Clothing Stores. It sold government surplus clothing, fisherman smocks, rigger boots, gloves and balaclavas for cauliflower and daffodil pickers, and wellies. You name it, if it was practical and useful, Mrs Strutt sold it. David bought an army parka and dad and Mrs Strutt got on like a house on fire. She was from Palfrey, Walsall – just round the corner from our shop in Caldmore, which gave them lots to talk about. They got on so well in fact that after half an hour they’d shaken hands on the sale of the shop. It was a great stroke of luck for our family; Dad had managed to sell off his shop in Walsall and buy one in Penzance. He always said that this was one of the most fortunate times for our family and looking back over thirty years he was right.
I was in the last year of school when my father moved down to start the new venture. We opened in July 1981 and remember the winter of that year very well, because the Penlee lifeboat disaster happened just along the coast towards Lands End. The next few years Dad built up the business and I’d be working holidays and weekends, eventually joining the business full time in 1991. Brother David had joined the business in 1984 and for five years we all worked together. The business had changed quite a lot and we sold camping and outdoor gear as well by that time. Then, as now, we were so busy in the summer. It seemed to rain non-stop and we sold heaps of waterproof jackets. So many in fact that my other brother Leigh used to go to the factories in Birmingham to buy the cagoules and wax jackets and meet Dad on the M5, just so we didn’t run out of stock.
By 1995 we were ready for another shop and we knew exactly which one we wanted. A beautiful shop called Blenkinsops in Falmouth, Number 1, Church Street. We were busy from the first day; it was a revelation for us that with a busy main street location we’d do so well.
I moved to Falmouth fulltime and in 1999 we had our second biggest stroke of good luck. We were offered 14,000 pairs of amazing quality walking boots and shoes from a company in the north that was closing down. We only sold a thousand pairs of shoes a year at that time, so it felt like a massive risk to us, but we went for it. My other brother Leigh stumped up some extra cash for us to do the deal and two weeks later we were the proud owner of a warehouse full of shoes.
Just after that we were offered a shop in Fore Street St Ives and decided to buy it – we had to sell the shoes somewhere! Thank goodness they flew out, we’d sold the lot in a year and that set us up to open shop number four, in Truro. It was an exciting time for us, but in 2001 we were knocked back when Dad became very ill and passed away.
In 2003 we’d made a decision that we wanted to design and sell our own line of clothing and we’d always been interested in sustainable textiles. So, I contacted the Soil Association and talked with them about organic cotton, something that was hardly heard of at the time. It turned out that no fashion company had ever used Soil Association certified cotton in their range, we saw the opportunity: to produce environmentally sound clothing whenever we can, reflecting the Cornish heritage that we love.
Luckily, I’d met my future wife Sophie by then – a graduate in textile design, so we had some design expertise as well! It was around this time that brother Leigh also joined the business full time, after working with us part time for a few years. We changed the name of our business to reflect our coastal heritage and that’s when we became Seasalt. At this point a few devoted customers will have noticed I’ve skimmed over a short period around 2004 when we had another name, Wildlife. A brilliant name I thought, except that we were inundated with people looking after injured seagulls, so we had to change it… Eight years on and Seasalt is thriving.
The heritage of Cornwall, the creativity and the maritime history are what make our clothing what it is. And every day when we look out of our design office overlooking Falmouth Bay or out of the shop doorways of most of our shops to the local harbour, we feel inspired. We’ve now got twelve shops and have around 300 stockists in Britain and Europe.
Thirty years on since we started our first shop, we feel incredibly lucky to live and work in such a beautiful county. We work with a wonderful team of people, lots of whom have been with us for many years and without them we of course wouldn’t have a business at all, thank you.
But most of all we thank you our customers, our most important people. Thank you for supporting us all this time and we look forward to the next thirty years with more excitement than ever.”
As mentioned yesterday we are always delighted to hear from Seasalt fans around the world and we’ve had many people get in touch from as far away as Australia and the US! A lot our Seasalt fans overseas originated from Cornwall and they tell us that Seasalt really does remind them of home and their happy memories of their Cornish roots. After all, Cornwall is a place that’s hard to forget!
This is definately true for a group of Seasalt fans in New Jersey, USA, who got in touch with us recently to tell us all about how they celebrate being Cornish…
The Cornish Heritage Society East in New Jersey is a group of lovely people who are all either from Cornwall or are of Cornish decent. The group get together regularly to celebrate all things Cornish, whether it’s Cornish arts, literature, food or festivals, all with the aim of learning about and keeping alive the Cornish traditions of their ancestors.
Anne Honeychurch Stephens & Margaret Carne, who are both members of The Cornish Heritage Society, got in touch with us to tell us all about the group and also about how much they love Seasalt. They sent us a lovely photo of the group at their latest meeting, proudly standing under the Kernow flags and also prominently displaying their favourite Seasalt Jute Bags! Margaret claims the jutes are perfect for carrying the society’s portable files to and from meetings!
In 1861, the failure of Cornish mining caused about 100,000 people, mainly Cornish miners and their families, to leave Cornwall in search of work. The eastern states of the US attracted many of the Cornish miners, mainly to the work in the Appalachian mines, and so there are many descendents who still live in the area today. The Cornish Heritage Society East formed in 1995 to bring those descendents together with an aim to research, record and preserve the history of the Cornish in NJ, NY and New England.
We find it amazing that there are so many Cornish people spread around the world who not only still hold the place firmly in their heart but are actively trying to keep the Cornish traditions and heritage alive, such as the Cornish Heritage Society East. We are also very touched that a lot of these people love Seasalt too because it reminds them of their homeland of Cornwall.
Thank you to all our fans around the world and if you come back to Cornwall for a visit, make sure you pop into one of our shops to say hello! We’d love to see you!
If you’d like to find out more about the Cornish Heritage Society East, NJ, visit their website here!
Click on any of the above images to view full size
Everywhere you go people are talking about pirates these days. There are regular appearances of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, modern day pirates hit the news now and then and even Doctor Who wielded a cutlass down in Charlestown, Cornwall. So would you take up the offer to sail on a Pirate Ship? Well guess what? Lucy, Seasalt’s Head of Production, did just that! Ahoy There!
If you have a house full of Pirates and adventurers then there is a must do if you’re visiting Cornwall this summer.
I was fortunate enough to have the experience of a life time, a day sail aboard the beautiful Earl of Pembroke tall ship. A real life Pirate ship! Arriving in Fowey on Saturday and seeing her moored out in the harbour was truly a sight to behold! With the promise of adventure in the air we were taken out to the ship. Even the overcast sky couldn’t dampen the spirits of the excited guests. The fearless crew scaled the rigging, set sails and we departed Fowey harbour for the high seas!
Guests helped the crew hoist the sails and a brave few climbed the rigging for the best view on board of the spectacular Cornish coastline, what an amazing sight we must have been at full sail from the shore! After time at sea, tea and chatting to the crew about their recent voyage on The Earl of Pembroke across the Atlantic (truly inspirational- make sure you ask the crew about it, they even had chickens!) It was time to head back to Fowey, sleepy from the sea air (it was nothing to do with rum!!) and very very happy with my days adventuring!
Huge thanks to Square Sail, Dave Redhead and the Crew of the Earl of Pembroke for an unforgettable day.
There are spaces left for various day sails on the Earl of Pembroke and the other 2 boats in the square sail fleet, Kaskelot, and Phoenix ( as seen in Doctor who!) and longer trips if you have your sea legs! Check out the square sail summer 2011 sailing program on their web site for all details and availability.- book quickly, this is not to be missed, and don’t forget your peg legs and best pirate hats! www.square-sail.com.
It’s not a secret that here at Seasalt we are super fans of all things stripey! The classic Sailor shirt, with its iconic Breton stripes, is one of our staple products every season. We love its simplicity, classic style, and above all its nautical heritage.
The striped ‘Sailor Shirt’ is a wardrobe essential and never seems to date. It has been ‘in vogue’ for nearly a century with Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Picasso as just a few of its advocates and it doesn’t show any signs of losing its charm anytime soon.
The first origins of the striped Sailor Shirt started shortly after the 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped shirt as the uniform for all the sailors in the French Navy. It was said that if a sailor fell overboard, the distinctive block pattern of stripes made it easier for them to be spotted in the water and rescued. The Sailor Shirt was then adopted generally as a working mariner garment by many other nautical men and sailors across France and became known as a ‘Marinière’, or ‘sailor-style’ shirt.
The classic horizontal stripe pattern became known as ‘Breton stripes’ after the black and white stripes of the Breton flag, created in 1923. Breton refers to the Brittany region of France and the nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional dioceses of Brittany into which the duchy was divided historically.
The fashion icon, Coco Chanel, was inspired by the Breton striped Sailor Shirt after a visit to the French coast and is considered a pioneer of Breton stripes in the fashion world after she started the trend upon her return to Paris. Over the last century, many other designers, actors and artists have adopted the striped Sailor Shirt look, cementing it as an iconic fashion classic.
It is no suprise then that the classic Sailor Shirt is a firm favourite here at Seasalt, it is a symbol of who we are as a brand; sustainable fashion with a fantasic coastal heritage! Plus all our Sailor shirts are made of 100% Soil Association certified Organic Cotton, meaning they are responsibly produced and super soft too.
We believe that the Sailor Shirt, as well as all things stripey, are here to stay! So, next time you pull out your favourite stripey top from your wardrobe, remember its heritage and the ‘Life of Stripes’!