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The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Polperro Heritage Museum

Age group: 8+

Location: MID Cornwall


Contact: nr Polperro, PL13 2RB

TEL: 01503 272423


Located in The Warren overlooking the harbour, the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing houses a remarkable collection of exhibits and 19th century photographs as well as many items of memorabilia dating from the 18th century when both smuggling and fishing thrived in Polperro.


It vividly brings to life the story of this Cornish fishing village's extraordinary history and many of the people who featured in it. Displays also include more recent events such as storm damage, and a rare archive film of pilchard fishing in the 1930s.


Polperro has depended on fishing for generations. In the 19th century, when pilchards were landed in large quantities, the fish were processed and packed in three factories near the harbour. The Heritage Museum now occupies one formerly owned by the Teglio family from Italy.


Contraband goods were smuggled across from Guernsey on a huge scale during the latter half of the 18th century, the Polperro boats often risking seizure by Revenue vessels patyrolling the Channel.


Of the many Polperro vessels involved in smuggling at the end of the 18th century, the Lottery was the most infamous. The story of the Lottery's involvement in the murder of a Customs officer in 1798 which led to the trial and execution of one of her crew in 1801 is graphically told.



The Polperro Heritage Museum is open daily between 10am and 6pm from March until October.

Nominal Admission charge (all proceeds go towards the upkeep of Polperro Harbour).

Looe 4 miles, Polruan 7 miles