Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Penlee Park (again)

Our walk on Sunday started at Penlee Park but this time we went straight down the main path and out into the surrounding streets.  We knew the park had been bought for the people of Penzance in 1946 as a war memorial.  Penlee House, which became the museum and art gallery at that point, was once the home of the Branwell family who were prominent merchants in Penzance and established the first Wesleyan Methodist chapel, something I had not known as my family belonged to the Primitive Mehodists.  Maria Branwell married Patrick Bronte and was the mother of the novelists Charlotte, Emily and Anne.  By now you have probably realised that their brother, Bramwell, had her maiden name as his Christian name.

The house is a typical nineteenth century gentleman's residence with two large living rooms that are now the main galleries.  There were additions to the building at some point and it is now a lovely place and, I hasten to add, until very recently the only disabled friendly building in the whole town.

Like all gentleman's residences at this time, it had extensive grounds and it is these that are now Penlee Park.  Even in January there were flowers in bloom as this is the warmest part of the UK (except for the Isles of Scilly) and the vegetation is very interesting with lots of plants from Australasia.

I like the little tree in this shot which looks as though it was someone's Christmas tree!

Part of the grounds are now an open-air theatre.  There is also a memorial garden and a sensory garden.  http://www.penleehouse.org.uk/visiting/the-park-and-gardens  I posted photos of the English trees in my post on New Year's Day.

Having walked through the park on Sunday we found ourselves out in the street.  This is a very nice Victorian part of town which always reminds me of the part of Wellington where my maternal grandparents lived.  Walking down the street towards the sea and the promenade we made a detour around a crescent which is full of bungalows and again looks very like New Zealand.

We then walked through several streets, none of which we had ever been down, and finally found ourselves at a gate which led back into the park.  Somewhat to my surprise we were back at the top of the hill.  Back at the house we noticed a sculpture which is called 'The Broccoli Juggler'.  It is by Kurt Jackson who is a famous (and now expensive) artist from this area.  kurtjackson.com

Then outside the house, we stopped to photograph the cross that stands near the main entrance. I knew this had been the Penzance market cross and that it has been moved from the Greenmarket in the centre of town but I had not known its history.

It is called the Ricatus cross and there is a legend that it belonged to the last king of Cornwall.  It certainly dates from the eleventh century but evidence for this version of its history is rather thin on the ground.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great walk. You must have really enjoyed it