Penzance

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Penzance_dock.jpg
Penzance's old docks with Abbey Slip and St Mary's Church behind
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Arms of Penzance

Penzance is a port in Cornwall, UK, facing south east onto the English Channel. Granted various Royal Charters from 1512 onwards and Incorporated in 1615, it has a population of about 20,000 people.

Situated in the shelter of the sweeping Mount's Bay, Penzance is bordered to the west by the fishing port of Newlyn and stretches towards the small town of Marazion to the east. Also near to Penzance is a small town called St Just, in the area controlled by the Corser clan who had a long running feud with many Penzance families. The feud was only brought to an end in the 1800s when the Penzance contingent offered a lump sum for a truce. The town's location gives it a unique subtropical climate, much warmer then most of the rest of England.

The name Penzance is derived from the Cornish pen sans, meaning "holy headland", as a chapel once stood on the point to the west of the harbour more than a millennium ago. It is the principal town on the Penwith peninsula.

It was the birthplace of chemist Sir Humphry Davy.

Places of interest in Penzance include Penlee House - an art gallery and museum, notable for its collection of paintings by members of the Newlyn School. The sub-tropical Morrab Gardens are notable for their range of tender trees and shrubs many of which could not be grown outdoors anywhere else in England. The surrounding Regency and Georgian terraces and houses are only tainted by the shadow of the nearby seven-storey 1960s government offices.

Also of interest is the sea front with its promenade and Jubilee Bathing Pool harking back to Penzance's heyday at the turn of the century as a fashionable seaside resort.

It is the home of fictional pirates in Gilbert and Sullivan's play The Pirates of Penzance; at the time the play was written Penzance was peaceful enough that the very idea of its being overrun by pirates was amusing.

See also

nl:Penzance

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