Saint Ives Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by EasyMalc
  • The Harbour Galleries
    The Harbour Galleries
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  • St. Ia's Well
    St. Ia's Well
    by EasyMalc

Best Rated Local Customs in Saint Ives

  • londonbabe's Profile Photo

    Watch the lifeboat

    by londonbabe Written Jun 5, 2005

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    If you're anywhere near St Ives when the lifeboat is called out, you'll know! There are two cannon blasts which sound around the town. Shortly after, the lifeboat itself is towed into the water as everyone crowds to the pier to watch. Depending on where the tide is, it can take quite some time to launch. You have an even better view of activity on the boat when it returns, as the little tractor comes out to pull it up to the slipway, the lifeboatmen all jump off to help manoeuvre it onto its trailer, and it gets hosed down and cleaned of salt water.
    I didn't see them rescue anybody, but it was pretty interesting even without any special drama!

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    St. Ia

    by EasyMalc Written Mar 7, 2015

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    I’m not sure how these tales come about but sometime during the 5th century St. Ia is supposed to have landed below Pendinas (What we refer to as The Island today). She apparently came from Ireland to Cornwall as a Christian missionary and all this is very plausible, until you find out that she came over on a leaf!
    There doesn’t seem much doubt though that she did arrive here and the original village name of Porthia was changed to St. Ives in her memory.
    The story goes that she founded an oratory on a plot of land where the parish church stands today and which has been dedicated to her.
    Another connection to St. Ia can be found on the road above Porthmeor beach near to the cemetery. The holy well of ‘Venton Ia’ doesn’t have an ancient appearance but there’s little doubt that it’s been here for a very long time and according to an inscription it was the main water supply for Downalong up until 1843.
    Cornwall has many place names associated with Irish saints and St. Erth, just up the road from St. Ives, is named after St. Ia’s brother, St. Erc.

    St. Ia's Well
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    Do not feed the seagulls!

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 3, 2010

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    The signs everywhere are there for a reason. The best way to anger locals is to feed the seagulls everywhere. You will soon leave St Ives and think it was just a bit of fun to get a great photo of you with an almost "tame" seagull eating out of your hand, but the locals then have to live with their children getting attacked and so on once you have gone. I know I have already written about this under "warnings" but I feel I need to add this here to just to stress that no one will make friends with you if you deliberately feed seagulls. I personally like the birds and appreciate that they have just picked up this habit from human behaviour, but I still wouldn't contribute to feeding them since they are clearly already perfectly capable of seeing to their own dinners.

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    St Ives Harbour

    by johngayton Written Sep 30, 2012

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    From Medieval times until the early 20th century St Ives was a busy fishing port with the main (so to speak) catch being pilchards. In its heyday this ws the busiest port in North Cornwall, exporting millions of fish to Continental Europe.

    The harbour wall was built in 1767-70 by the well-known civil engineer John Smeaton (best known locally for his Eddystone Lighthouse which has been relocated to Plymouth Hoe where it is known as "Smeaton's Tower"). The harbour has been extended since then and despite a lull in the fishing industry in the mid-20th century it has recovered in recent years. The harbour has 60 registered moorings and from late Spring until early Autumn is once again a busy fishing port with the catch now being mackerel.

    As well as the working moorings there are 66 leisure moorings, 22 for self-drive boats and 6 for visiting yachts.

    Smeaton's Harbour Wall Fishing Boats In Winter
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    Only In St Ives!

    by johngayton Written Oct 14, 2012

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    No British seaside town is complete without its amusement arcade(s) and here in St Ives we have Harbour Amusements with its usual shoot-em-up video games and fruit machines. It is a little bit more upmarket in that it also has a pool and billiards club attached but the thing that makes it unique is that it is a Grade II Listed Building.

    Where the amusement arcade is was formerly Daniel's Boathouse, dating back to 1587, whilst the pool and billiards building is a 19th century double-fronted shop with flat pilasters and cornice as well as a slurried slate roof (according to the listing).

    Anyway here it is, on Wharf Road, if that's your thing, but me I just went to the pub(s).

    Harbour Amusements Frontage
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    A Little Piece Of Local History

    by johngayton Written Oct 14, 2012

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    Pictured is the Grade II listed archway which used to lead to the home of the "Portreeve" (a sort of harbour master) George Hicks. George was Portreeve from 1611 until 1624 but doesn't seem to have done anything particularly remarkable except having lived here, unlike one of his predecessors, John Payne (who didn't live at Hick's Court BTW).

    John Payne is famous for having been a bit of a local character who was visited by the Provost Marshal, Anthony Kingston, in 1549 and invited for lunch at an inn (which may, or may not have been The Sloop). Over lunch the Provost Marshal ordered him to have a scaffold built ASAP but without giving him the reason. After lunch Mr Kingston insisted on inspecting the new gallows and when they arrived poor John was dragged into a noose and hanged for being a "Busy Rebel".

    So the moral of the story is - don't be a character unless you're willing to pay the penalty - be anonymous and you'll live forever as an archway listed by English Heritage.

    Don't we just love Google ;-)

    The Archway
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    The Community Of Artists

    by johngayton Written Oct 15, 2012

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    From my only visit, so far, I can easily understand why St Ives has developed as an artists community. The relative lack of development (Tate Gallery aside LOL), the fresh Celtic Sea to wash the cobwebs away, the amazing light, which I'll extrapolate to even when it's cold and dank, and just that sense of being which the town has.

    So here's a little collage - as much to use my orphan pics as to add an extra tip to this page LOL

    Some Of The Galleries, Studios And The Clubhouse
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    Artists and Art Galleries

    by EasyMalc Updated Mar 7, 2015

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    I may be able to draw a pint but that’s about all I can draw I’m afraid, but artists who work in St. Ives have always said that it’s the quality of light that draws them here, and I can see what they mean. There may be other reasons as well, but there’s definitely a clarity of light down here that captures the seascapes so well. There’s no pollution to spoil the brilliant blue skies and turquoise sea. They fail to mention the quality of life as well mind you. What could be better than dabbling with a paint brush in between visits to The Sloop to keep you feeling somewhat sprightlier than working in a factory or sitting in an office all day? I don’t think they make a vast fortune mind you, but then again I don’t think they worry about the money side of it too much. My philosophy about life is somewhat similar - but unfortunately I’m no good at painting the bathroom door let alone a nice atmospheric seascape.
    It was back in the 1880s that painting in the open air became fashionable and in Cornwall the towns of Falmouth, Newlyn and St. Ives set up their own individual artist colonies. The one in St. Ives began in 1890 and soon passed the 100 member mark. Some of the more renowned artists, such as Ben Nicholson were encouraged by Alfred Wallis, a retired seaman who didn’t start painting until he was in his seventies. A man of very little personal wealth he used all sorts of bits and pieces to paint on. Although he died a pauper in 1942 his legend lives on and his old home still stands in Back Road West which has a plaque on the wall outside.
    There’s a sort of ‘A’ list of painters that have made their mark on St. Ives, but I wouldn’t really know how influential any of them might have been, but art doesn’t just apply to painters. Barbara Hepworth the sculptor and Bernard Leach the potter have both made their mark on the town and been given the Freedom of St. Ives.
    I have no idea how many art galleries there are here, but there’s more than enough to keep most people happy.
    Apart from The Tate there are several more established galleries such as the Penwith Gallery and Porthmeor Studios.
    There have been some really good Cornish artists over the years but I’m still a sucker for the paintings that you’ll see in the more tourist oriented outlets which sell pictures of old sailing ships tied up in an old quaint Cornish harbour with the moon shining down on barrels of rum.
    Call me a pleb if you like, but I’m not alone because they sell bucket loads of ‘em. It’s all to do with the light of course!

    The Home of Alfred Wallis The Harbour Galleries
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Saint Ives Local Customs

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