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New book published on the historic port of Portreath

By WBjridge  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

Michael Tangye with his new book, Portreath

Michael Tangye with his new book, Portreath

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IT WAS February 17, 1917 and the Olivia was steaming from Liverpool to Portreath with a cargo of 300 tons of coal.

The crew, suspecting they were being followed, rushed on deck to find a submarine alongside and three armed Germans standing on deck.

If you had had a gun we would have blown you out of the water, they declared.

After eating the crew's breakfast, the Germans cast the Cornish men adrift in a lifeboat and blew up the Olivia.

The true account comes from a new book about Portreath, written by local author Michael Tangye.

It contains 156 pages and 87 vintage photographs and captures life in the village from the days when it was a busy port.

Hundreds and hundreds of ships visited it each year, carrying coal to power local mines and departing laden with  copper ore.

In its heyday it was one of the most important ports in the county and played a vital role in the area's mining prosperity.

Portreath, Mr Tangy's ninth book, follows on from a much smaller book he wrote about the village in 1968.

"This book bears no resemblance to that one, " admitted Mr Tangye. "This one's much larger.

"I've been gradually collecting information for it since the 1960s."

As well as scouring resources at local libraries, Mr Tangye spent a lot of time in the village carrying our fieldwork and interviewing older residents to capture their unique memories.

His work was helped by the loan of many rare photographers by people acknowledged in the book.

The 16 chapters cover subjects ranging from the harbour and the tram road to mining and smelting, smuggling and the changing face of the village.

The book was designed by Barrie Yelland.

Portreath by Michael Tangye is available from the author at Penolva, 24, Trefusis Terrace, Redruth, priced £8.99 plus £1.40 postage, or from bookshops in the area.

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