Heritage Centre bought


Sir Tim Smit has bought the Shipwreck & Heritage Museum in Charlestown.

The museum has been acquired by Heligan Gardens Ltd, which operates the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which Sir Tim founded.

It is home to the largest private collection of shipwreck artefacts in Europe, as well as a wealth of local history. The Shipwreck Centre has recently been a key location for the BBC’s Poldark series.

“I have been an archaeologist and a wreck diver since I was 18 years old and have dived all over the world,” said Sir Tim, who discovered Heligan’s derelict gardens back in 1990.

“This collection is like a walk through my romantic imagination, I love it. The museum was my first destination when I came to Cornwall. We had to ensure its future and, to be honest, indulge a boyhood passion in a way that we could share with everybody.”


The Lost Gardens of Heligan also holds a historic link with Charlestown.  In 1776, Grace Tremayne, the sister of Heligan Squire Henry Hawkins Tremayne, married Charles Rashleigh – the man who gave Charlestown its present day name.

George Elworthy, MD of The Lost Gardens of Heligan, added: “We believe that the museum is a gem that needs to be preserved and whose collection should continue to be further developed. We believe that our experience at Heligan gives us a unique understanding of how to tell a story of great power and a heritage that haunts the imagination.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.