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RNLI Collection Box

A Grade II Listed Building in St. Levan, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.0376 / 50°2'15"N

Longitude: -5.6724 / 5°40'20"W

OS Eastings: 137132

OS Northings: 21741

OS Grid: SW371217

Mapcode National: GBR DXCL.4JB

Mapcode Global: VH05T.M9KZ

Entry Name: RNLI Collection Box

Listing Date: 31 October 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1422554

Location: St. Levan, Cornwall, TR19

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Levan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Levan

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Porthcurno

Summary

A Royal National Lifeboat Institute collection box of early-C20 date.

Description

A Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) collection box, of uncertain but possibly inter-war date.

The box is constructed of cast iron, square on plan, and approximately 1m in height. At the base is a mounded plinth. Above, the box has a decorative round-headed panel to each side. The side facing south is a door with keyhole for emptying the contents. The box has angled corners and above is a moulded octagonal cap with a central dome on an octagonal plinth. The box is painted in the colours of the RNLI. It stands on a granite slab by a rubble stone wall.


History

A small-scale fishing industry in Porthgwarra is recorded in Elizabethan times, with a permanent community having become established by the mid-C19. Porthgwarra means ‘higher cove’ in Cornish. A handful of families gradually moved to the cove and began to build the structures necessary to live and work. Some of the earliest buildings are Rowe’s Cottages, listed at Grade II, dating from the mid-C19. Further buildings and structures with domestic and industrial functions continued to be built until the early C20.

The slipway is the dominant feature of the cove, providing a route from the hamlet to the beach. The RNLI collection box stands beside the top of the slipway. It is not shown on any historic maps and the Ordnance Survey Map of 1908 shows the adjacent slipway on a different alignment to its current position. It is therefore likely that the collection box was installed after this date, possibly when the slipway was reconfigured. Its construction of cast iron makes it unlikely to be of later than 1930s date.

Reasons for Listing

The RNLI collection box at Porthgwarra, probably of inter-war date, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity and survival: a remarkably well-preserved charity collection box at a coastal location, few of which were built as permanent fixtures;
* Architectural interest: a good example of quality foundry craftsmanship to a handsome design;
* Historic interest: indicative of the once thriving fishing industry at Porthgwarra and the bravery of RNLI volunteers.

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