Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

Bird Chough Facebook circle blue large

St Ives Old Cornwall Society



President: Margaret M Stevens


Vice-President: Frank Stevens


Chairman: Brian Stevens  


Secretary: Valerie Thomas   01736 794845


Treasurer: Raymond Perkins


Recorder: Frank Stevens



Click to contact this Society








Our annual subscription is £8.50, and we charge £2 for visitors.


The Society meets at 7.00 p.m. in St Ives Infant School, Trenwith Burrows on the third Monday in the month, except

for December when we meet on the second Monday.


There is plenty of free parking at the school.











The society’s May meeting which included the AGM, was opened by new president Margaret who welcomed all. After Trelawney was sung, she continued by beginning the AGM with her report of events of the past year. Chairman Brian gave a report concerning other matters such as the Midsummer Bonfire, which was well attended in spite of new restrictions, as was Crying the Neck, and thanks were expressed to all who assisted in their success: unfortunately the number of members supporting the May Day celebrations was disappointing. Later Brian will again lead walks around the area.  The society’s banner has now been restored and can be viewed at the museum. In the absence of recorder Frank, Margaret read his report, which showed how he has again been busy with his camera, depicting many of the changes that have taken place in the town, and those still on-going . More new houses were planned on Towednack Road, and concerns have been  been  expressed over local shop closures, the ever present threat of mine shafts, and the dangerous state of the Malakoff bus station where buses have to work directly on the highway. Frank also filmed Brian’s summer walk-abouts, which were well enjoyed. New secretary Val reported that Bonfire night was scheduled to go ahead as planned as was Crying the Neck, date dependent upon the harvest at Zennor. Val also mentioned the Federation Summer Festival on Saturday June 30th at Callington, urging as many members as possible to attend. As former secretary Ann has resigned, it was agreed that thanks should be forwarded to her as well as a bouquet.  Raymond Perkins, the new treasurer, then offered his report confirming that the finances were in good order, with membership increased. Diane, who looks after the popular raffle, thanked those members who had contributed to the prizes. On a show of hands the committee was elected en bloc.


Presenter for the evening was secretary Val Thomas, with comprehensive slides from 1805 onwards of old Penzance , with particular reference to the Barbican area close to where the Jubilee swimming pool can be  found today, previously home to lime kilns and steam sawmills. In the main road leading to the area, known as Lady Street, [afterwards known as Chapel Street] St.Mary’s chapel was shown with a spire. Battens Wharf nearby was a hive of activity with exports of fish and tin and imports of wood and bricks, much needed in the mines. Nearby were Coulson’s granary and steam saw mill; the only access was through Lady Street. On Midsummer Day, then a public holiday, a Quay Fair was held with stalls and caravans, peep shows, a menagerie, conjuring and boxing. There were boat trips, and strawberries for sale, while public houses were open all night. At an opposite site to the east was the Abbey Basin, named for the Abbey that once stood there. Here horses from the circus were swum in 1908 but not without difficulty as the basin contained deep mud: nearby a new lifeboat house was built. Matthew’s Dry dock built in 1815, later replaced by Holman’s was an auxiliary Naval base in the 1st World War. Trinity House was opened in 1874, while the Ross Swing Bridge built in 1881 provided links to the harbour and North gardens; it was replaced in 1981.


The Dock Inn in Church Street no longer exists, but the Dolphin Inn &Tavern, originally attached to the end of the Harbour office, was demolished for road widening and rebuilt near Trinity House close by. Here Courts were held in the dining room [Judge Jeffries was reputed to have been present] while the cellar acted as a jail.  Here too Sir John Hawkins used the inn as a recruitment base for the Amada. The Dolphin was reported to house three ghosts; a sea captain, a woman in Victorian dress and a fair-haired young man, who drifted into bedrooms!  Unfortunately there were no slides of these !  Val was thanked for her talk that contained a large number of old slides of Penzance showing how it became a major town.


After the raffle was drawn refreshments were served. The society’s next session will begin on Monday September 17th ,  when all will be welcome.


















Founded: 1920


Colours: Purple

St Ives new From Frank Stevens St Ives OCS