Cornish Summer Memories from John Jackson

Posted on: July 26th, 2018

To celebrate the paperback publication of One Cornish Summer John Jackson tells us about her Cornish holiday…

Outside and ice cream parlour of Fore St 1953

Cornwall is firmly linked in my childhood memories as THE place we went to on holiday. My Grandmother and Great-Grandmother bought a tiny fisherman’s cottage in St. Ives for £200 in 1948 after my Grandfather had died.

on the beach St Ives 1955

Every summer we would drive down from south Manchester, long, long before motorways existed. We would start at 5 in the morning and stop for a picnic breakfast on the A36 outside Gloucester, then to bath and the south west, arriving as dusk fell. At that age the journey was part of the holiday, although we always stopped at the same places through the day. I’ll gloss over the time my parents left me in my portable high chair, hanging from a farm gate. (they realised I wasn’t in the car after about 100 yards).

The A30 going into Cornwall was no better then then now! The road was slower, but the traffic was a lot lighter. There were some famous bottlenecks along the way; some of them are still there, re-designated as “road improvements”.


Holidays there were one long beach day after another. Porthminster, Porthmeor, Westcott’s Quay, the Harbour.

A family of four can’t fit in a tiny cottage, so half the family would decamp to stay with my uncle and aunt at their farm in Leedstown. A real old-style small Cornish mixed farm where my Aunt and uncle ran a herd of Channel Island cows, kept pigs and raised chickens. I still remember the year my uncle got a tractor! It was Dobbin the horse before that.

Just after the War, there were still fields being cut by scythe by a gang of miners when they came off shift. The farm had no electricity then, so taking a candle to bed was a real adventure.


My Uncle, Ralph Harvey James, came from a long line of Cornishmen, and his grandfather was the last Purser of the Botallack mine on Cape Cornwall.

Of course, when you are aged six, summers lasted forever, and the sun always shone. I have no memory at all of it raining! It seems we only remember the good times at that age.


A couple of years ago, we started holidaying in Cornwall again. While the family members are long gone, the magic still remains.


Perhaps with all that history, it was inevitable I would fall into writing historical romance. There is a book coming eventually featuring the Harvey James family!


John’s first historical novel, Heart of Stone, was published in October 2017 by Crooked Cat Press. Set in Ireland, and about more of John’s ancestors, it continues to garner 5* reviews. 

Liz here…I’d also love to see and hear about your Cornish Summer memories. If you use the hashtag #OneCornishSummer  and tag me on Facebook, Twitter (@liz_fenwick) or Instagram  (@liz_fenwick) you’ll be in with a chance to win a copy and a bottle of Curio Rock Samphire Gin. (by joining the giveaway you confirm you are over 18). Winner will selected on 12/8/2018.