Tolla Crisp invited Caitlyn and I to visit Frogmore 4.0, the fourth iteration of her popular themed region which recently opened to visitors.
Once again, the setting draws its primary inspiration from the county of Cornwall, in the South-west of England – a place noted for its moors, hamlets, fishing, surfing, beaches and rugged beauty and which was the inspiration for the design we last saw in June 2020 (see Frogmore’s Cornish twist in Second Life). However, the design adds a couple of little twists of its own to the mix as well as offering a completely new look.
Those twists take the form of a corner inspired by London’s Notting Hill, with another part taking the name “The Shire” – although whether this is a reference to Tolkien’s eponymous home of Hobbits or a reference to the shires of England in all their diverse beauty, is open to interpretation.
Now making use of the Land Impact bonus available to full private regions, this iteration has been designed by Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fotherington), who has been responsible for all of the various Frogmore designs. This ensures something of a continuity of approach as the region changes, helping to give it a sense of evolution / life in keeping with the continuing focus on Cornwell for on its inspiration.
With this iteration, the region offers a look and feel of the more rugged parts of Cornwall’s coast that can feature rocky coves with little fishing hamlets tucked into them. Split into a series of islands, there is no set route to finding your way around the region, instead, visitors can wander as they please, causeways and bridges connecting the various areas.
The core influence for this design is the north Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac. It’s a place that may not be familiar to those outside of the UK, but since 2004 it has been the setting for the comedy series Doc Martin, at least one season of which has been streamed in the United States.
It is also the home of Fisherman’s Friends, a male singing group who have been performing sea shanties since 1995. In 2010, they garnered worldwide attention after signing a recording deal with Universal Music, and their story was used as the basis for a 2019 romantic comedy film. The village is also part of the Baltic Live Cam network, with a 24/7 webcam stream.
Listed as a Conservation Area due to the buildings at its centre representing 18th and 19th century architecture, Port Isaac is historically significant, having likely been founded in Celtic times; its Cornish name, Porthysek means “corn port”, reflecting the use of the bay in shipping corn grown inland to centres of populace. It’s importance as a point of trade grew in the Tudor period, when Henry VIII had the bay dredged and the main pier and breakwater constructed. Apart from the corn that gave the town its name, cargoes of coal, wood, stone, ores, limestone, salt, pottery and heavy goods also passed through the harbour.
However, pilchard fishing formed the backbone for the village for most of its history up until the late 1800s, with fishing still part of village life today, together with tourism. A curiosity with Port Isaac is that it shares a stretch of the coast with the hamlet of Port Gaverne; whilst separated b around a kilometre, the latter is often to be an outlier of the village, something that might be reflected in the way elements of this design stand aside from the rest, but nevertheless appear to be part of the whole.
With its harbour cove caught at low tide complete with breakwater, the heart of the region captures something of Port Isaac’s waterfront look whilst offering a wilder, more rugged landscape that is not so densely packed with houses and buildings. These are represented by the cluster of houses, barns and public building clustered on the island directly to the north.
The Notting Hill aspect to the region can be found in the south-west corner, where an antiques boutique typical of those found along Portobello Road is waiting to be found. Sitting on a finger of land reached by a covered bridge, it sits separated from the main Cornish village element by The Shire.
This is a location that sits both aside from, yet a part of, the rest of the region. As already noted, whether one takes the area’s name from Tolkien or stands in reflection of England’s shire counties is a matter of choice. Certainly, there are no Hobbit holes waiting to be found, and the buildings, drywalls and gardens are suggestive of places like the Home Counties shires mixed with a dose of Yorkshire and Derbyshire. However, the high mountains surrounding the region – which are definitely not of England – give a New Zealandish feel to the setting, putting one in mind of the likes of Peter Jackson and his iconic visualisation of Middle Earth through his films, and thus call forth thoughts of Hobbits.
As with all of the Frogmore iterations, this setting is rich in opportunities for photography, exploration and simply sitting and enjoying the view. Do be aware, however, that given many of the buildings are furnished, it is a place packed with mesh and textures, and this can have an impact on viewer performance, so be prepared to make allowances should this be the case.
But that said, from the compact gathering of houses and buildings clinging to the shorelines and cliffs complete with narrow streets, to the sweep of a northern beach overlooked by the ruins of a promontory fort, the richness of the Cornish landscape is hard to deny; while the twists within – the hints of Portobello Road to the touch of the Mediterranean in some of the buildings – make Frogmore a delightfully engaging visit.
To mark the re-opening of the region, Tolla is holding a photography competition with a L$17,500 prize pool, details of which can be found here.
- Frogmore (rated Moderate)