14th June 2018

Fascinating Facts About Falmouth

Fancy learning a little more about the history of Falmouth? Here are some of our favourite interesting facts about the town we love

Did you know...

  • Pendennis Castle was built by Henry VIII in 1540 to defend the Carrick Roads. Together with St Mawes Castle on the east side, it meant the estuary was very well guarded
  • The town, which has a population of about 21,800, is one of the oldest and busiest ports in Cornwall, with a deep, sheltered, working harbour and a docks which is one of the biggest employers in the region.
  • Falmouth Harbour and the Carrick Roads form the third deepest natural harbour in the world and the deepest in Western Europe
  • Falmouth was originally known as Smithwick, home to the Killigrew family at Arwenack Manor. In 1613 John Killigrew began to build houses around the harbour, despite opposition from the ancient towns of Helston, Penryn and Truro and a new town began to immerge, split into two hamlets called Smithicke and Pennycomequick. Finally, in 1660, King Charles II decreed that they should be known as Falmouth
  • It was around 1664 that Falmouth became a parish in its own right, with its own parish church
  • Falmouth was made the Royal Mail Packet Station in 1688. In 1805 the news of Britain’s victory and Admiral Nelson’s death at Trafalgar was landed here and taken to London by stagecoach
  • It was following the development of the docks in 1858 and the introduction of railway services in 1863, that the town began to thrive as tourism and business prospered
  • Some of the surrendered German U-Boats were dispatched to Falmouth at the end of World War I. It is thought that this was for ‘explosive trials’ testing for weaknesses in their construction. According to the Atlantic Scuba Dive Centre, the UBoats now lie off Castle Beach, Pendennis Point and Dodman Point
  • Operation Chariot, a famous Commando raid on the heavily defended docks of St Nazaire in France during World War Two, which helped to shape the war at sea was launched from Falmouth
  • Still an impressive building today, St George’s Arcade which can be found on the main street in Falmouth was once home to the town’s first custom built cinema. Opening in 1912, it was the second largest in the country
  • Falmouth was the start and finishing point for both Robin Knox-Johnston and Ellen Mcarthur’s voyages around the world (Knox-Johnston in 1969 and Mcarthur in 2007) – sailing non-stop single handedly
  • In 2016 Falmouth was named best coastal community at the Great British High Street Awards and in 2018 Falmouth has been named as one of the 'best places to live in Britain' by The Sunday Times


Photographs courtesy of Visit Cornwall