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.


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:

    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. 🙂


  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.

    1. That’s fan­tas­tic infor­ma­tion – thank you! We’d love to write some­thing sub­stan­tial about the Yacht so do drop us an email at if you’ve got more you’d like to share.

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