Padstow Harbour Commissioners were founded by an Act of Parliament under Queen Victoria in 1844. They replaced the earlier Padstow Harbour Association, a board of men who ran the port.
The port far predates the Commissioners. Padstow grew up within a creek on the Western bank of the River Camel, the head of the creek being near to where the Parish church now stands. As the port grew, the town was built on raised reclaimed land often without footings until the present day. The Inner Quays and Strand were built in 1538, at which time the port was the Inner Basin, now defined by the gate with a Quay where the Red Brick Building now stands, a pier on the southern side, and peripheral shipyards.