The Yacht Inn, Penzance, in the 1950s

Strange coincidences and connections have led us to a collection of family photos of one of our favourite local pubs.

A brewer we interviewed last week (Paddy at Crossed Anchors) noticed that we had a picture of the fabulously Art Deco Yacht Inn, Penzance, as our Twitter header image. He mentioned that his great aunt and uncle, Frank and Phyllis Glasspool, ran it from 1949-c.1959. He emailed his dad, who emailed a cousin, Susan Glasspool (Bottaro), who provided the following fantastic collection of photographs and said we could share them here:

It was very hard work there, especially for my mother, who did all the cooking (plus the extras for the bar, pasties, sandwiches etc.), a lot of the cleaning, and then ran the cocktail bar in the evenings. Hard to have any family life. Thank goodness for the swimming pool over the road — 10 bob for a season ticket and I spent all my summers there!

Pub sign with moody sky and sea.
The sign of the Yacht Inn with Mount’s Bay and Newlyn in the background.
A man in a suit sits at the bar while Frank directs his assistant.
Frank Glasspool (left) and ‘Lennie’ (white coat) behind the main bar of the Yacht.

Bespectacled landlord serving a customer who is seated on a stool, laughing.
Frank Glasspool behind the bar at the Yacht.
Two men in suits sitting at a bar; bespectacled landlord serving.
The main bar at the Yacht with Frank Glasspool behind the counter.
Family sits in blinding sun smiling at camera.
“Mum, Dad, Scott & Pam”.
Bespectacled landlord pulling a funny face while pouring a cocktail.
Frank Glasspool tends the cocktail bar at the Yacht Inn.
White-painted Art Deco pub frontage with smiling couple.
Frank and Phyllis Glasspool outside the Yacht.

All pictures copyright © Susan Glasspool (Bottaro) and not to be reproduced without her permission.

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A couple of observations from us:

  1. The exterior of the Yacht has been well-preserved, the odd bit of plastic window frame aside.
  2. The interior in the 1950s was much cleaner and more minimalist — the bar, for example, got a faux-Victorian makeover at some point, and that tiled floor is now carpeted.
  3. No pump-clips! (See here.)
  4. The pool Sue mentions is the Jubilee Pool, due to re-open this summer after extensive storm damage in 2014, and a beautiful Art Deco twin to the pub.

10 thoughts on “The Yacht Inn, Penzance, in the 1950s”

  1. The correct surname is Susan Glasspool (Bottaro). I note something has been published on FB too…

  2. My parents, Peter & Pat Jenkin took over The Yacht Inn, Penzance from The Glasspools in 1958 (after running The Swan Hotel Wadebridge) They ran it very successfully until 1985 ( the last 5 years of which Mum did alone after dad died). After Mum retired St Austell Brewery sold the lease to a company in Redruth who ripped the heart out of The Yacht, removing all the beautiful Art Deco fixtures etc and replaced it with the present day look.
    We had 3 trainee Vicars working as barmen during the 60’s Paul Foot & Frank Otto being 2 of them. As in Susans day my mum was the genius in the kitchen, (her fishcakes & Pasties were legendary!) thern after dinner was served mum would spend her evenings running the cocktail bar, whilst dad was running the bar. I too spent all my time at The Jubilee Pool in the summer. I lost a lot of my photographs when I moved but there is one that is on display behind the bar of Mum & her regulars taken the day she retired.

  3. The third chap in the little “Lennie” photo, and also seen in profile in the other bar photo is/was Herbert, I think he emigrated to Australia. Both of them were with us for many years, Lennie retired when we left, a great character, “proper Cornish” and died not long after. The Yacht was also famous for our dog “Bosun”, he terrorized Penzance for years…

  4. Brilliant Sarah. I have no idea however who was there before us! We had a large garden at the back, now much reduced, I see, and my father built our service flat over the garage and men’s loos. Before that we camped in a caravan in the garden in the summer.

  5. Excellent photos indeed. In the picture between Mr. Glasspool and the extra 1/8th pint sign, you see a bottle upturned for service which would have been a common call in Britain then but especially in that area. It is Coates Plymouth Gin. While made (it still is) in Plymouth which is Devon, Plymouth was a centre of influence for Cornwall too and I’d guess the gin was especially popular in Penzance with its seafaring history. Note the depiction of the robed monk on the label, you can see it here more clearly: https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/12348/plymouth-gin-imported-bot-1960s

    Many types of liquors were and still are associated with the St. Benedictus orders, whether gin was too I can’t say. It may have been a marketing thing but I’d like to think there was a connection away back.

    The Plymouth style, formerly at least, was between the London and old Dutch types in taste. One brand is still made in Plymouth. There is no spirit more quintessentially English.

    Is a bottle still in the pub, I wonder… If so, B&B, you might take a pink gin, which is simply gin and bitters (Angostura is fine). Ice or water is fine although I’d guess in the old days it was drunk neat. Old naval drink. If no Plymouth gin there, London Dry will do. 🙂

    Gary

  6. and I thought that it was my mother that did all the work regardless of who actually owned/ ran the Yacht!

  7. Dear old “Tonkie” I absolutely loved her, Mum’s right hand woman!
    Susan, thank you for telling me about the service flat your dad built, it solves the conundrum of why the earlier photographs I have of the Yacht had the single storey at the side Nearest the Mission building.

  8. The Yacht Inn was originally designed by my father Geoffrey Drewitt whilst he was still a student which is why Colin Drewitt is credited with being the architect in charge. The idiot from Zenith Trading in Redruth is the one who ripped out the Crittal windows and put the plastic in. The balcony has leaked ever since! I have a wonderful picture, somewhere, of the Yacht with my Pa’s roadster parked outside. Also have copies of the original plans. Have many fond memories of the place.

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