E.T. L., 19th Century
First and Last House, Land’s End with Grace Thomas standing outside

signed and dated with monogram "1879" inscribed on the side of the house " FIRST AND LAST REFERSHMENTS IN ENGLAND BY GRACE THOMAS"

pencil and watercolour
15 x 22 cm.


The First and Last House is ocated on the clifftops at the most westerly point of Land's End and mainland Britain. Grace Thomas, was the first person to use the building as a refreshment house in the 1860s.  The house itself dates back to the early 19th century, but Grace Thomas, the wife of an agricultural labourer, established its use as a refreshment house. She walked in from Treeve Moor every working day carrying with her what she needed. A typical meal seem to have been ham and eggs with bread and butter (The Cornishman 29 August 1878).; the right hand chimney pot is also shorter and probably dates from the 1870s. Later photographs show the sign has changed to that of her son, William Thomas, who ran the house after her death. The notice of Grace's death shows widespread affection: "The death of Mrs Grace Thomas ... at the age of 70, is announced elsewhere. Hundreds will recognise the owner of the name when we explain that Mrs Thomas was the civil old woman, who, for many years, kept the little house which directly overlooks the Land's End point. Her good cup of tea, moderate charges and civility are remembered far and wide" The Cornishman 16 June 1881.