Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mevagissey, Cornwall England - September 9, 2010

Mevagissey is cradled in a small valley and faces Mevagissey Bay to its east. There are more than 60 registered fishing vessels in the harbor which also offers tourist fishing trips and a passenger ferry to Fowey in the tourist season. Tourism has long since overtaken fishing as the primary economy driver.
Known as Porthhilly as far back as 1313, Mevagissey was the outcome of a merge with the hamlet of Lamoreck in the 17th century. The new name was was formed from two Irish saints, St Meva and St Issey with the "g" borrowed from hag, the Cornish word for "and".
At that time, pilchard fishing and smuggling were the primary sources of income for the locals and supported at least 10 pubs, just two of which remain. The inner harbor was built in the late 18th century with the outer harbor following about 100 years later. Amazingly, in 1895, Mevagissey built a pilchard-oil powered power station to run the lighthouse and local street lighting.
Translucent Pears' Soap
Pears' Soap is well known in England as an expensive and refined product. Andrew Pears was born in Mevagissey in 1768 and trained as a barber before moving to London in 1789. There he opened a barber's shop in the fashionable area of Gerrard Street, Soho and quickly noticed that the London upper classes cultivated a delicate white complexion as opposed to a tanned face associated with the working class. Pears recognized an opportunity for a gentle soap for these delicate complexions and found a way of removing the impurities and refining the base soap before adding the delicate perfume of garden flowers. The resulting product was a high quality soap which had a bonus distinction of being transparent. In 1835 Andrew partnered with his grandson Francis and moved to new premises near Oxford Street. Pears' Soap is now made in India by Hindustan-Lever, part Unilever empire begun by the Lever brother.
More pictures of this picturesque village are here.

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