Port Isaac History - The Edge Restaurant Port Isaac Cornwall
The Edge Restaurant Port Isaac Cornwallmussels at The Edge restaurant Port Isaac

The Edge Restaurant
in Port Isaac Cornwall



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Brief History of Port Isaac in Cornwall.

Dec 2010

Port Isaac dates back to the Saxon times as a fishing village. It is thought that Port Isaac was originally called Portissyk and later Port Izzard before Port Isaac.

From the Middle Ages until the mid 19th century, the location of Port Isaac meant it became a busy coastal port. Importing and exporting stones, ores, limestone, salt, timber, coal and pottery. Indeed the breakwater is thought to date back to medieval times.

But from the mid 19th century, larger ships were not able to use Port Isaac harbour and the first railways were built, all leading to the end of Port Isaac as a shipping port, and the port became principally a fishing port. In 1850 there were 9 fishing boats at Port Isaac.

Port Isaac at one time relied entirely on catching and processing pilchards, with the majority of the villagers working either on the boats or processing the fish in the fish cellars. Many of the fish were salted and pressed into barrels before export to Southern Europe. Port Isaac has a long history as a fishing port and fishing continues today with fishermen landing their daily fishing catches of fish, crabs, lobsters and other sea delicacies.

The effect of the local fishing industry is seen in the seafood and fish featured in Port Isaac restaurants, and a key feature on The Edge restaurant dinner menus. Eating out Cornwall in the coastal areas such as Port Isaac involves fish and seafood as well as other foods from Cornwall such as cream teas and pasties, found in many Cornwall restaurants.

A location map of Port Isaac shows the oldest part of the village is down on the harbour side of the hill. The history of the village can be seen in the white washed cottages and narrow street and fish cellars around the harbour. The narrow alleys are called drangs, with the narrowest named Squeeze belly Alley. Many of the buildings are listed as of historic and architectural importance. The RNLI used one of the old fish cellars. The newer part of Port Isaac is built on the headland above the harbour.

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