British Cured Pilchards Ltd or “The Pilchard Works”, as it is now more commonly known, started in 1905 to salt, press and export pilchards from Newlyn, Cornwall to Enrico Borzone in Italy. For over 450 years “Salacche Inglesi” – Cornish salt pilchards – was exported from Cornwall to Italy. As a mainly Catholic country with a necessity to eat fish on Friday, the humble salt pilchard filled the requirement without refrigeration.
In 1982 Nick Howell purchased British Cured Pilchards Ltd and still runs the business today. Traditional salt production continued in exactly the same way. In 1995 EU regulations saw The Pilchard Works capitalise on its traditions by opening as a working museum. We told the story of pilchard fishing and processing in Cornwall with visitors able to soak in the smells, sights and noise of the working salt pilchard pressing room. For 10 years we enjoyed greeting people from all over the world and even had two Royal visits from HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Andrew.