The Egyptian House

The Egyptian House

Located 50 or so metres from the top of Chapel Street is the Egyptian House (Nos 6-7). It’s perhaps one of Cornwall’s most flamboyant examples of architecture with it’s ornate facade of lotus columns and stylized cornices. Set in amongst the Egyptian styling and spynx like adornments is the royal coat of arms of George III/William IV maybe just to remind us we are still firmly in the British Empire.

The first floor apartment is the smaller of the three Landmarks within the Egyptian House. It dates from about 1835 and the front elevation is very similar to that of the former Egyptian Hall in Picadilly, designed by P. F. Robinson. Robinson or Foulston of Plymouth are the most likely candidates for its design, though there is no evidence to support the claim of either.

No matter who designed it, today you can enjoy The Egyptian House as a base to explore everything that bustling Penzance and West Cornwall have to offer; such as Chyauster Ancient Village, St Michael’s Mount and the Botallack mine.

It was built for John Lanvin as a museum and geological repository. Why was there a geological shop here? Although picked over by Victorians, the beaches at Penzance still hold every kind of pebble, from quartz to chalcedony.

When we acquired the building in 1968, its colossal façade, with lotus bud capitals and enrichments of a proprietary artificial stone, concealed two small granite houses above shops, solid and with a pleasant rear elevation but very decrepit interiors.

During our work to the front, we reconstructed these as three compact apartments, the highest of which has a view, through a small window and over the chimney pots of the town, of Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount.


Chapel Street