A rich resource for research, or a place to borrow the latest novel

The Morrab Library. Photo by Glyn Richards.The Morrab Library is an independent library established in 1818, housed in a Victorian mansion in the beautiful Morrab Gardens in Penzance, Cornwall. We hold over 55,000 books on floor-to-ceiling shelves as well as archives and a rich photographic collection.

Our new extension is now complete, bringing us much-needed extra storage space as well as a new home for our photographic archive.

We are open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-4pm.

 01736 364474

enquiries@morrablibrary.org.uk / photoarchive@morrablibrary.org.uk

Find out more about us and our collections.

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Latest from our blog


This month’s offering from the slide collection.  We have a fair bit of information about this one, but if you have any more we’d be really grateful – thank you.

‘Loading Stone Boats’ on the South Pier at Newlyn c1970
This is a Ruston diesel Loco (LM 40, No. 375315), used to deliver the millions of tons of ‘Blue Elvan’ stone quarried at Penlee (started in 1880s and originally called Gwavas Quarry).  Vessels were moored alongside the railway, and the trams, each containing two and a half tonnes, tipped the stone chippings into the hold.  The narrow gauge railway ran from the end of the Lighthouse Pier back to the quarry ‘bins’ which have since been demolished.  In 1973, a new conveyor system replaced the familiar little trains, and the whole quarry operation ceased in the 1990s.
The brass plate on the tram (bottom right) refers to a Newlyn man: Mr. John W Jenkin, a much respected and long serving employee of the firm.  The loco driver (just visible – you can see his hand + a boot!) could well be Mr. Bill Sleeman and the figure helping to tip the trams is possibly Mr. Louis Lawry.
In the distance you can see glimpses of Newlyn – to the left, the houses above Sandy Cove and the road to Mousehole.  And to the right the houses above the Fishermens Arms Inn extending up to Lynn Terrace and St. Peter’s Hill.  
The Penlee story is well documented and a major part of Newlyn’s history.