History of St Ives Cornwall

St Ives is one of the most popular and recognized holiday towns in Cornwall. Situated on the South West tip of England the Penwith harbour town began life as a small fishing community.

Dating back to the first days of Christianity in Britain, St Ives is named after the legendary tale of a young missionary women called St la, who according to legend, floated over from Ireland on a leaf.

The importance of the town grew with the development of the Harbour during the medieval period. The town's fishermen make a living catching local mackerel, herring and pilchards. The fishing industry led to the growth of the town being based around the scenic harbour.

This produced an enchanting maze of small narrow cobbled streets, now known as the 'Downalong', that interlink around the harbour.

St Ives has a long history as a fishing town, and became a borough in 1588. It was once called Saynt Iyes, the pronunciation altering over the years to the current Saint Ives.

St Ives also became a key port for transporting mineral ore. The town itself produced tin, from the streams in and around St Ives. With possibly the most famous mine in the town being Trenwith Mine. The mine produced 13,080 tons of copper ore between 1825 and 1856. The ore was later found to include pitchblende - uranium ore. Uranium was used for making green glass, and from 1909-1913 Wheal Trenwith was worked by the British Radium Corporation.

Not only is St Ives famous for it's beautiful town and beaches it as also been home to some of the great artists and sculptors from around the world. Some of the more famous artists to live in St Ives have been Barbara Hepworth, Henry Irving, Bernard Leach, Henry Moore, Turner and Whistler.

This makes St Ives world famous as an art centre with many studios and galleries all over town. With the flagship gallery being Tate St. Ives, opening it's doors in 1993 and part of the Tate Gallery in London.

As fishing declined within the town in the early to mid 20th century, tourism became the main industry in St Ives. The town has now gone on to become one of the most popular holiday resorts in Europe. The main reasons for this are the stunning beaches and surroundings that St Ives provides.