Dylan Thomas in Cornwall

The Lobster Pot, Mousehole, by George Hammond Steel (1900-1960), where Caitlin and Dylan Thomas spent their wedding night.

Cornwall was the holiday destination of choice for the London bohemian set in the thirties and the poet Norman Cameron, a friend of Dylan's, introduced him to the writer Wyn Henderson. She invited Dylan Thomas to her cottage, Polgigga at Porthcurno, near Penzance, between April and May 1936, and then to her new home in Mousehole.

Dylan wrote to Cameron’s wife, Elfriede, on 25 April: ‘Mousehole is the best village. I want to live [here], not with Wyn but cosy and cheaply with something dumb and lovely of my own choice, with a woman who hasn’t been psycho-analysed or rodgered (sic) by celebrities’.

On 11th July 1937 Dylan and Caitlin were married in Penzance Registry Office. Wyn Henderson paid for the licence and hosted a party for the couple on their wedding night at the ‘Lobster Pot’, her guest house in Mousehole.

Dylan wrote to Vernon Watkins from the Lobster Pot on 15 July 1937 "My own news is very big and simple. I was married three days ago; to Caitlin Macnamara; in Penzance registry office; with no money, no prospect of money, no attendant friends or relatives, and in complete happiness."

The Lobster Pot is no longer open, though the building still exists. The Ship Inn, which the couple also regularly frequented in the village, is still in operation as a hotel.

From Mousehole the Thomases retreated to Max Chapman’s studio at Newlyn.

dylan thomas in cornwall - The wedding 

In her memoir, Life with Dylan Thomas, published in 1986, Caitlin described the wedding:

On my wedding day I wore a simple little blue cotton dress and no hat. Dylan wore his usual corduroy trousers, tweed jacket, check shirt and no tie. We had quite a lot to drink before we went down to the Penzance Register Office for the ceremony….Dylan was very romantic. Without telling me, he had gone off to Penzance and bought two little Cornish silver rings for about six shillings each, and we went through a ceremony of exchanging them.

The story goes that caitlin's blue dress was made out of a pair of curtains from the Oriental Cottage in Lamorna Cove where they were staying just before the wedding.

At the time Penzance Registry Office was located at Phoenix House, now a private residence (below right). There is a plaque on the building commemorating the occasion (below left).

To Dylan Thomas in Laugharne

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