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28 October 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > Coast > Nelson and Fish Strand Quay

Remembering The Battle Of Trafalgar

Nelson and Fish Strand Quay

Fish Strand Quay now houses one of Falmouth's busy in-town car parks. But 200 years ago it was the setting for an important announcement marking the death of Nelson and the end of The Battle Of Trafalgar.

Parked cars may fill the area known as Fish Strand Quay as you stand there today. But 200 years ago several fishermen would have been going about their daily work.

Little did they know that 4 November 1805 was going to be unlike any day they had known.

Battle of Trafalgar

Battle of Trafalgar monument

It wasn't just fish that arrived ashore at Fish Strand Quay on that day. HMS Pickle came into sight, bringing with it one Lieutenant Lapenotiere. The news he brought into Falmouth was of victory at Trafalgar but also the death of Nelson.

The harbour at Falmouth wasn't deep enough for HMS Pickle to come into the town. It probably anchored two miles off Pendennis Point, and a longboat would have delivered Lapenotiere safely to land.

The Lieutenant was on a mission. He had been instructed by Vice-Admiral Collingwood to deliver a dispatch to William Marsden, the Secretary of the Navy, at Admiralty House in London as soon as possible.

On the water at Falmouth

View from Fish Strand Quay

After landing in Falmouth at around midday, the Lieutenant ordered a 'post-chaise' to take him to London. It is believed he only stayed in the town for one hour. The mood was one of urgency as Lapenortiere was aware that he would gain a £500 bonus and instant promotion if he delivered the news before anyone else did.

The determined Lieutenant delivered his important dispatch to William Marsden 36 hours after arriving in Falmouth. This was after a highly uncomfortable journey involving 21 changes of horses over a 271 mile stretch.

Now 200 years on The New Trafalgar Dispatch is taking place. This re-enactment will take a lot longer. It started on 1 July and runs through until mid September.

Now walk away from the memorial and the car park. Head up the ramp and turn right, walking back down the main street. Look out for Bell's Court on your left. This is the final stage of the walk through Falmouth.

Trafalgar Way Celebrations

Copies of the new despatch have been prepared in English, Spanish and French, and emphasise the heroism and humanity of both sides.

Nelson's Column

The famous Nelson Column, London

All the copies were loaded on board the Jubilee Sailing Trust's ship 'The Lord Nelson' on 1 July. The ship's first port of call was Cadiz in Spain. From there it goes to Brest in France. From Brest it will make the journey to Falmouth landing in the town on 4 August.

The new dispatch will be brought ashore mirroring the famous appearance of Lapenotiere 200 years ago.

After a reception which will be held in the National Maritime Museum Falmouth, a naval officer will leave by a specially built post-chaise for Truro on the first stage of the journey to London.

The Ordnance Survey have produced a commemorative map showing the original route from Falmouth to London, which includes notes about the route and information on how the locations look today.

There are plans to establish the 271 mile route from Fish Strand Quay in Falmouth to the Admiralty Building in London as 'The Trafalgar Way' marking a fitting tribute to the historic Battle Of Trafalgar and its hero Lord Nelson.  


last updated: 04/03/2008 at 10:14
created: 13/07/2005

You are in: Cornwall > Coast > Nelson and Fish Strand Quay

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