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Villages by the Sea: Charlestown (S1EP4 BBC Two Mon 29 Nov 2021)



Charlestown: Archaeologist Ben Robinson discovers how a small hamlet in Cornwall was transformed into a state-of-the-art Georgian port.

Charlestown, named after its creator Charles Rashleigh, went from fishing village to hub for the mineral trade thanks to pioneering technology. Luckily for us this Georgian creation is beautifully preserved and is used as locations for films and tv programmes such as Poldark.

Charles Rashleigh commissioned renowned 18th century engineer John Smeaton to design this innovative port, which required a water supply from specially built lakes and leats so that it could accommodate ships at both high and low tide. It was the making of the village.

With the help of Earth Scientist Dr Anjana Khatwa, Ben shows us how natural resources – tin, china clay, and copper – contributed to Charlestown’s financial boom, as well as serving the new industry of British electrical engineering.

There’s a dramatic end to the tale. Betrayal and deception saw village founder Charles Rashleigh financially ruined.

Airdate: Monday 29 November 2021 at 7.00pm on BBC Two.

Season 1 Episode 4