Tuesday, 5 July 2011

From a distance this building caught my eye

Well this building caught my eye from a distance.  Not only did it look interesting, also rather official with the tower at the harbour end and a diagonal flagstaff protruding from the base of the tower.

I thought it might be a historical harbour navigation building with the flagstaff used to signal instructions to ships entering the harbour below.

To my surprise it was “The Duke of Cornwall Hotel”  Built in 1863 with 72 rooms at a cost of £40,000.  Back then Bed & Breakfast would have cost you 37.5p and a cold bath 10p (I think I’d go smelly).  It was the tower that initially attracted me to the building as I wanted to know why it had been built.  To my surprise it was purely for decoration!

I must now describe the harbour.  It is based on a bay facing roughly south with a headland at either end.  The mouth of the bay has a breakwater with a small fortified island in the middle and a lighthouse at either end.  This forces shipping to pass close to the headland and presumably in easy range of the forts.  In the middle of the bay, behind the breakwater is a larger fortified island (Drake Island).  On the mainland at either end of the Hoe are more fortified positions.  The Royal Citadel to the East and another naval fort in the West.  At the extreme western end is the mouth to the river.  There are marinas at either end beyond the forts.

Looking Northwest towards the Hoe from the fortifications at the Western end of the harbour.

Drake Island.  The breakwater is behind it.

Photo taken over the top of Drake Island.  The small fort in the centre of the breakwater can be seen with shipping on the horizon.

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