Polkerris was once a busy pilchard fishing harbour.
Large shoals of Pilchard appeared off the Cornish Coast in mid July and were caught in large numbers.
The fishing industry declined towards the end of the 1800s.
The remains of the old Elizabethan 'palace' or pilchard curing cellar at Polkerris
was one of the largest ever to have been built along the coast , is now roofless with the former openings
(square apertures to accommodate the ends of long beams, or “pressing-poles ) looking like
the battlements of a folly.
Pilchards would be gutted and then carefully placed in piles (baulks) , in alternate layers of fish and salt.
The salted pilchards, known as “fairmaids,” were then washed and packed into hogsheads.
A long “pressing-pole,” was inserted in an aperture in the cellar and pressed on the cover of the hogshead by means of a heavy stone on the end of the pole.
The cask was topped up a few times and eventually held around 2000 fairmaids.
The Casks could be despatched to their destination, often Italy.
The oil obtained through pressing was sold for refining.
Location: SX 0919.5190