In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Penzance like this:
Penzance, mun. bor., seaport, market town, and township, Madron par., Cornwall, 26 miles SW. of Truro and 326 SW. of London by rail - township, 337 ac. and 87 foreshore, pop. 12,499; bor. (comprising the greater part of the township and a small part of Madron township), 486 ac., pop. 12,409; 4 Banks, 3 newspapers. Market-days, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Penzauce is picturesquely situated at the head of Mounts Bay, 8 miles NE. of the Lands End, and is the most westerly town of England. ...
It was burned by the Spaniards in 1595, was sacked by Fairfax in 1646, received its charter of incorporation from James I., and was made one of the stannary towns in 1662. As a head port Penzance has long occupied an important position. Its harbour is formed by 2 piers (North and South), enclosing 21 acres of water, and has accommodation for the largest vessels. The export trade is very considerable, including tin and copper ore, china clay, pilchards, and agricultural produce. The imports are timber, iron, hemp, and tallow. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) On the E. extremity of the South Pier head is Penzance Lighthouse, 22 ft. high, with fixed light 33 ft. above high water and seen 10 miles. Penzance has within recent times become a much frequented watering-place, for which it possesses many excellent advantages, including a fine climate, beautiful environs, 2 esplanades commanding extensive views, and many interesting antiquities in the neighbourhood. Penzance gives the title of baron to the Wilde family.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Penzance has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Penwith. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Penzance and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Penzance, in Penwith and Cornwall | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 19th May 2013
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