About Us | Bosun's Locker Chandlery | Falmouth
Bosun's Locker Chandlery, Falmouth
At the Lower end of Upton Slip - one of Falmouth's famous "Ope's" and on top of the Harbour wall, the Bosun's Locker Chandlery occupied the lower floor of a long white building for nearly 80 years. Above the Chandlery, currently owned by Alan and Erica Parmenter, is a flat known as Abbot's Loft - simply because a Mr. Abbot used to live there!
The age of the building is not clear, but most of it is early 18th century, with the Bosun's Locker itself reputedly dating back to 1676. It is fairly evident that originally it was one of many warehouses that fronted the Harbour. At low tide the remains of a channel are visible which had been dug out to enable ships to approach the loading bays. The position of some of these can be seen when looking at the seaward side of the building from the adjacent car park.
Since its early warehouse days the building has had varied uses. One of these was for a business where rabbit skins were cured and made into gloves and hats for sailors. The upper floor has also been used as a sail loft. At other times it has been used as a studio: most notably between 1908 and 1918 when Claude Rowbotham (1846-1949), with the help of several young ladies, used it to produce single-plate coloured etchings of topographical scenes in editions of 100. In 1907 Rowbotham proposed the formation of the Falmouth Art Society with the first exhibition being held in Abbot's Loft in 1908.
Two figurehead's embellish Upton Slip and the Bosun's Locker: 'Amy' as seen on the recent BBC Coast programme and the larger of the two, is reputedly from a ship called The Amazon; the other attached to a 'bowsprit' over the entrance to The Bosun's Locker Chandlery, is from a 118-ton topsail schooner, The Volant, built in 1875 by William Geddie at Duffus Hillock, Banff. She was still carrying cargo in the early 1930's but finally came to grief in 1947 when she was purchased by an Australian film producer called Cross. She left Belfast bound towards Sydney, but the voyage was abandoned at Falmouth where she was stripped to a hulk and left on the mud in Penryn to rot.
The Bosun's Locker is now a famous and well established Chandlery - having been in constant operation since 1946 - and has the reputation of being able to supply almost any item to the marine market. Its location, next to the water in Falmouth the world's third deepest natural Harbour, is perfect for visiting sailors and locals alike.
In February 2014, after repeatedly being flooded, the difficult decision was made to relocate the business. Luckily, a building became vacant less than 50 yards from the original location. On the 9th April 2014, after 80 years on the waterfront, Bosun's Locker Chandlery was relocated to 16-17 Church Street - a fantastic double fronted building on the main high street in Falmouth.
(With thanks to Eric Roberts of Abbot's Loft for much of the research included above)