At the turn of the 18th century, Penzance was fast becoming a popular destination for travellers. The town was prosperous due to the riches of the tin and copper mines in Penwith, as well as an important port; there was even a Portuguese embassy in the town.
The arts flourished and Penzance with its scholars and inventors, took on a Bohemian air. Penzance was noted for the pleasantness of its situation, the salubrity of its air, and the beauty of its natives and by 1860, the first official guide book to the town had been printed.
The Queen’s Hotel opened on the seafront in 1862, to cater for the increase in visitors to Penzance. Penzance was a wealthy, and fashionable, town with well-established drama and arts.
Although mining was in decline by the time The Queens took in its first guests, the prosperity of the tin and copper era was very much evident. Businessmen, artists and visitors flocked to the town, many staying at The Queens Hotel. The Queens was so successful that it was extended in 1871 and 1908.
In the late 19th century, The Queens Hotel boasted that all bathrooms had hot and cold water and that its cuisine and stock of wines were selected with the utmost care.
There was also attached to the main building a good range of stabling, and horses and carriages ‘for airings’, picnics etc, available at moderate charges. The superiority of the accommodation was nevertheless provided at moderate tariff.
The completion of the railway through Cornwall made it easier for tourists and invalids to enjoy the mild climate of Penzance and bathing machines had been advertised for hire on the beach as early as 1823. It was only when the train line was built to Penzance in 1852, that Cornish time was unified with Greenwich Mean Time. Before then Penzance, and Cornwall, was 16 minutes ahead of the rest of the country.