Salcombe Harbour in the days of the fruit schooners and the fishing fleet.
Between 1786 and 1887 at least 200 vessels of differing sizes and rigs were launched from Salcombe yards. From 1837 to 1912 at least 86 were launched from the Kingsbridge yard.
These were the days when 200 men were employed in the Salcombe yards alone. Men worked as sailmakers in four lofts in Salcombe and two in Kingsbridge. Men specialised in making spars, masts, blocks, pumps, casks and even trennels (tree nails - wooden nails). In 1851 there were three shipsmiths in Salcombe and an iron foundry in Kingsbridge. The towns were busy and prosperous with the dawning of the lucrative fruit trade.
Sometimes when the tide and the wind were right you would see up to 1,000 boats sheltering in the harbour, great three and four masted schooners, brigatines, clippers. 'Twas a beautiful sight...enough to make your heart sing.
Edward Hannaford, Retired Lifeboatman.