One day in the summer of 1902 two young ladies, Gertrude Fleming and Augusta Sherborne, set off from Bude on heavy, sit-up-and-beg bikes for a cycle tour of Cornwall. We hear that they wore their boaters at a rakish angle but attached the hems of their long skirts to their ankles with elastic bands to stop the skirts from billowing up. When they came to the pilchard -fishing hamlet of Port Gaverne they spotted an attractive cottage, which particularly appealed to Gertie. It was the Pink Cottage (then called Atlantic Cottage).
In 1905 Gertie married Keith Price (subsequently Sir Keith Price) and acquired three sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law. Remembering the Pink Cottage, Gertie enticed one of her sisters-in-law, Dorothy Price, to visit Port Gaverne and subsequently the two of them hired the cottage for summer holidays (Keith preferred to go salmon fishing). In 1916, the Pink Cottage was bought outright by Gertie and Dorothy with joint ownership, but Dorothy holding legal title as she had produced most of the funds.
Dorothy (known as Dossy) subsequently bought Beach House, the White Cottage, Pilchards Corner
and the kippering sheds opposite the Pink Cottage. Her sister, Gwen, married Guy du Maurier (brother of Gerald and uncle of Daphne) and acquired the kippering sheds next to Dossy's and the adjoining cottage, The Refuge. Property prices were low at the time owing to the decline in, first, the pilchard and then the herring fishing (local stocks had disappeared). Keith Price bought the Port Gaverne foreshore and did what he could to encourage local employment, including mackerel, crab and lobster fishing.
When she acquired her other Port Gaverne properties, Dossy handed over care and control of the Pink
Cottage to its original admirer, Gertie. Guy du Maurier and both of Keith Price's brothers, Jack and
Harold, were killed in World War I but Gertie, Dossy and Gwen took care of much of Port Gaverne
through the 1920s and '30s. A Canadian Price cousin, Jean, married a Cornishman, Michael Treneer-
Michel, at this time and acquired Chimneys (now Leat House) by the stream below the Pink Cottage.
Both Dossy and Gwen were close to the Llewelyn Davies family (Sylvia, the mother of the boys made famous by J.M. Barrie in Peter Pan, was a du Maurier) and Dossy let Pilchards Corner (behind the sheds immediately opposite the Pink Cottage) for many years to one of the 'boys', Captain Jack Llewelyn Davies RN and his wife (and eventual widow) Geraldine.
Originally the Pink Cottage had no plumbing. There were two earth closets in a small hut behind the
cottage, and there was a boat shed where the downstairs bedroom and shower room/loo are now situated. The upstairs bathroom and downstairs bedroom were added in the late 1930s by Gertie (Lady Price), and the downstairs loo in the 1950s.
Gertie's daughter Wendy remembered 12-hour car journeys from Guildford to Port Gaverne in the early 1920s (the car had to climb Yarcombe Bank in reverse), and whizzing down the dusty track from Port Isaac to Port Gaverne in a soap-box cart made by her friend Jack Hicks, the butcher's son. After a visit to South Africa in 1933, she was among the first to use a surf board at Polzeath.
Gertie, Dossy and Gwen all died in the 1960s, and ownership of the Pink Cottage passed on to two of Gertie's children, David Price and Wendy Marnan. Dossy, Gwen and Keith Price bequeathed local property to the National Trust. A wooden bench on the headland, near the Gut, commemorates the Price family.
Until recently the Pink Cottage was owned jointly by David’s two daughters, Annie and Gilly Price, and Wendy’s son, Anthony Marnan. Annie Price lives in Port Isaac and is a leading light in the local R.N.L.I. Anthony and Andrée Marnan’s elder daughter, Cilla, was married at St. Endellion church from the cottage in 1995 and her children have all been christened at St. Endellion.
The Pink Cottage is now owned by Anthony (Hank) Marnan, his wife Andrée and their family. Not surprisingly, the cottage is greatly loved by all members of the family and we ask visitors to take great care of it.
Gertie (left), Dossy (centre), Wendy (right) and a young Anthony