The grandfather of the current Pengelly clan worked on the day boat fleet for most of his life, and was a ship captain for much of that time. Although times have changed, the life he led then is much the same as the life facing the current day boat crews. Long, anti-social, hours... Facing storms and poor weather... cold in the winter, sunburned in the summer... and the ever-present risks associated with a life at sea.
After the second world war, the Pengelly's began exploring other ideas to build a business from the Cornish seafood bounty. In the '60s they began a mobile fishmonger's, running a cart at various markets and selling fish and seafood direct from the quayside. (See image in the sidebar.) Soon, however, their merchandise became so popular that it was time to open a permanent shop, and they found prime real estate on Buller's Quay, right next to the fish market and the estuary.
Popular from the start, Pengelly's became a byword for the finest Cornish fish and seafood in the southwest. From restaurants sourcing the centrepiece of their menu, to everyday customers wanting that special piece of fish for their evening meal, customers flocked to Pengelly's for their reputation for the finest fish and shellfish, and the friendliest customer service in an already super-friendly town!
In the latter years Pengelly's expanded and opened another shop in the market town of Liskeard. Now run by the two sisters, Angie and Jackie, the business has won awards and featured in several TV shows, including Rick Stein's Food Heroes, BBC Coast, and Dick Strawbridge's The Hungry Sailors. They were also key contributors to Mary Portas' Queen of the High Street, where they helped to rebrand Liskeard as part of the Lipsmacking Liskeard branding initiative.
A far cry from pushing a cart around the narrow streets of Looe, the Pengelly sisters continue to write new chapters in the long and fascinating history of the family's connection with the Cornish seas.