RNLI Collection Box


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
Porthgwarra, St. Levan, Penzance, TR19 6JR


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Statutory Address:
Porthgwarra, St. Levan, Penzance, TR19 6JR

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Levan
National Grid Reference:


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

Reasons for Designation

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.


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.


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.




This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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