A lost Victorian street that was unearthed during building work now has people living on it again, 75 years after houses were pulled down.

It marks the end of a long project at Penzance Depot, which has most recently been used as a base for Cormac.

It was two years ago that the remains of ten properties from the 19th century Camberwell Street were discovered, whilst excavating the land ahead of the building of 24 new houses by Homes for Cornwall.

The ruins dated back to the Second World War, when the entire street was demolished and the remains hidden under a metre of topsoil and tarmac. Here they until discovered in August 2018.

Archaeologists moved in and uncovered fire places, oven doors, floor tiles and patterned lino as well as part of the narrow lane that ran through the centre of this once-bustling community.

Now people have moved in once again, following the completion of the new housing development - 100 per cent of which is classed as affordable housing, with 17 for rent and seven for shared ownership.

Rob Cock, head of delivery for LiveWest, which is part of the Homes for Cornwall partnership along with Cornwall Council and Vistry Partnerships, said: "It has been great to be involved with a development with such huge historical links.

“The history of the site was long buried under a mix of rather tired looking, run-down buildings and it was fantastic to re-discover that during the work.

“It was a very challenging site to develop, and we are delighted with the result.”

Falmouth Packet: The houses built on Penzance Depot, formerly Camberwell Street in PenzanceThe houses built on Penzance Depot, formerly Camberwell Street in Penzance

The houses built on Penzance Depot, formerly Camberwell Street in Penzance

The 1841 Tithe map of Penzance showed that Camberwell Street began life as Camborne Street but towards the end of that decade an official government document recorded it as Camberwell Street.

The 1851 census and those which followed showed that it was common for families of five and six people to live in the homes, which often had only one bedroom and a floor space of roughly 10ft wide by 12ft deep.

Some of the houses had particularly interest backgrounds - including 14 Camberwell Street, where Victorian resident Robert Ellis, who moved to Penzance from Lowestoft in order to work on the railway, had an ambition to own his own boat.

Thanks to the help of the local community, he built the boat ‘True Love’ in his backyard out of old floor boards. However, after the boat was completed in 1906 it was discovered to be too big to take out of the backyard to the sea.

As a result, walls were knocked down and ‘True Love’ made her maiden voyage across Mount’s Bay before it was deemed unseaworthy by the Board of Trade.

Camberwell Street was later rocked in 1849 after a damning report into the unsanitary conditions of the area led to calls for the homes to be demolished.

But they survived until the start of the Second World War when a Housing Confirmation Order in March 1939 ruled that the homes should be pulled down. The outbreak of the war gave temporary respite, but work began in 1943 that saw the houses reduced to rubble.

Now 75 years later residents have started moving into the new homes on the site following 20 months of construction work.

The site, which has the addresses Camberwell Vean, Sennen Row and Gwenvor Terrace, is located in a conservation area and information boards will be put up on the development to detail its historical significance.

It is one of eight sites making up the Homes for Cornwall initiative, which is set to deliver 398 new homes, with 55 per cent having been provided as affordable housing.

Cornwall Councillor for Penzance Central, Cornelius Olivier, said: “I have always wanted this site to be both 100 per cent ‘affordable housing’ and mostly rental properties.

“This site ticks all the boxes; it is ‘brownfield’, it is located very near public transport facilities and local shops, it provides good quality homes, mostly available for rent, with secure, long term tenancies, in a town with an acute shortage of such housing.”