Europe’s oldest dry dock is set to close at the end of May which could be the end of an era in Penzance.

Penzance Dry Dock was the first of its kind in Europe when it opened in 1834 but now looks set to close.

The facility is leased by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group which has confirmed that it is pulling out.

When contacted today Penzance Dry Dock confirmed that it is closing at the end of May but when asked for more details declined to give any information.

In a statement the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group said: “The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has leased Penzance Dry Dock and operated it as a business since 2009. In 2019, the company decided to focus on its core operations of transporting passengers and freight by sea and air.

“Following an extensive review over the past 18 months, the company has regretfully decided not to renew its lease of Penzance Dry Dock and will close the operation at the end of May this year.

“This decision affects 11 employees who were informed in February. Following a consultation process, around half this number are expected to be retained in other roles within the business.”

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall councillor for Penzance East, said: “This is really sad news and I really feel for all those people whose jobs are affected.

“I have hope that another buyer will be found and, if that is the case, let’s see if the people who work there now can retain their jobs.

“With new opportunities like offshore wind coming to West Cornwall there may be a growing interest in using this kind of facility for that kind of work. Let’s hope that this is not the end of the dry dock and that it has a great future.”

On its website Penzance Dry Dock states: “Since 1834, the marine engineers at Europe’s oldest dry dock have been known for their outstanding attention to detail, good humour and sound, down-to-earth advice. Perfectly located at the UK’s south western tip, Penzance Dry Dock is fully equipped for all kinds of marine engineering, with an experienced team and skilled contractors on hand.”

It adds: “Since 1834 Penzance Dry Dock has offered engineering services to vessels of all sizes, at the corner of one of Europe’s busiest shipping lanes. Today the facility is part of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group: one of Cornwall’s biggest employers.”