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St Ives

St Ives was the largest fishing port in Penwith by 1337 and gained a weekly market during the 15th century. It was made a borough in c1500. In the 19th and particularly the 20th centuries the town developed as a seaside resort.

Tucked in behind the promontory called The Island on the west side of the sweeping arc of St Ives Bay, St Ives town is at the north-eastern corner of the West Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall. The north facing coast (the Porthmeor side) is windswept and denuded of significant tree cover with the east facing coast (Porthminster) and the Stennack valley being more sheltered, wooded and green. The neighbouring coastline is dramatic with sheer granite and greenstone cliffs, secluded coves and long stretches of golden, sandy beaches and dunes. Sea and sky views stretch for miles, together with stunning views of the rest of the coastline of the bay.
 
Views inland are restricted by the rising ground behind the town. Skyline features include Tregenna Castle and its parkland and the distant but distinctive Knill’s monument to the south and the granite uplands of Rosewall Hill to the west.
 
The Stennack River rises near Rosewall and has cut a deep valley which emerges into the bay just north of the little point of Pedn Olva.
While a strip of resort-based suburbia stretches southwards along the coast to Carbis Bay, running west and inland from St Ives is one of the world’s oldest enclosed farming landscapes. Patterns of small irregular shaped fields bounded by granite walls (whose grounders were eased into place two or three thousand years ago) fill the coastal plateau and the valleys of St Ives, Towednack and Zennor parishes, and run on towards Land’s End. Prehistoric monuments dot the landscape. This ancient landscape is an important element of St Ives, providing, alongside the great granite cliffs and heathy tor-topped hills, a beautiful and inspiring context for the town. The air here is famously clean and clear, allowing the colours of land, sea, and townscape to shine out clearly.

The spectacular scenery and natural setting contribute to the land to the west and south being defined as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and as an Area of Great Landscape Value. To the west is part of the Heritage Coast and the hinterland contains many Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Cornwall Wildlife Trust Sites and Areas of Great Scientific Value.

Downloads:
The downloads offered below represent the different elements of the CSUS St Ives Report including the core text, seven illustrative figures and six character area summaries. The majority of the downloads are large files (to maintain some quality of image resolution) and therefore may take time to download.

  Title Description

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CSUS St Ives Report REPORT text detailing the results of the historic character study for the town of St Ives. Kate Newell, Historic Environment Service..

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5079kb

Figure 1 - Location & Topography Map Map showing the location of St Ives and its immediate topography.

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913kb
Figure 2 - Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition 1:2500 Map (c.1907) Map showing the town of St Ives in c.1907.

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882kb
Figure 3 - Historic Development Map Map showing the historic development and expansion of St Ives.

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659kb
Figure 4 - Historic Settlement Topography Map Map showing the historic topography of St Ives with key areas of historic activity.

Format type: PDF

688kb
Figures 5a, 5b- Surviving Historic Components Maps Two maps showing the surviving historic buildings of St Ives.

5aFormat type: PDF

5bFormat type: PDF 471/421kb
Figure 6 - Urban Archaeological Potential Map Map showing the areas and sites of archaeological potential in St Ives.

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652kb

Figure 7 - Character Areas Map Map showing the seven character areas identified by the survey of St Ives.

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232kb

Character Area 1- Medieval commercial core – The church, Market Place and Fore Street Historically this is the town’s primary urban area, with church, market place and main commercial street. Its urban pre-eminence weakened with the 19th century rise of the rest of the commercial town (Character Area 2) and the late 20th century tourism magnet of the harbour. There is a distinct difference in character between the northern and southern ends of Fore Street with the southern end sharing more of the character of the 19th century civic urban rebuilding of High Street and Tregenna Place and Hill (Character Area 2) and the northern end retaining more of the earlier built fabric and smaller scale of the 17th century town.

Format type: PDF

471 kb
Character Area 2 - 19th century town centre The predominant character of this area derives from its development as the civic, institutional and commercial centre of the town during the late 19th century. Architecture here reflects this redevelopment with many formally designed urban buildings and polite architecture sited here. However, the area also retains some sense of the smaller-scaled and originally residential vernacular buildings of the late 18th and early 19th century period.

Format type: PDF

496kb

Character Area 3 - The Harbour Widely perceived as the heart of the town, the harbour is a critically important part of St Ives. Still continuing as a place of work, the active fishing fleet and other craft add much to the authentic character of the area. The robust granite pier, its two lighthouses and the popular family beach form an important part of the town. The surrounding buildings have been changed dramatically, and often not sensitively, reflecting the changing role of the harbour now St Ives’ busiest tourist focal point.

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515kb

Character Area 4 - Down’long This densely packed ‘fishing village’ area of the town has a unique and powerful sense of place. The specialised architecture of domestic fish cellars, the remains of the industrial fish cellars, good surviving street surfacing and granite gutters retain character and identity. The semi-natural headland of the Island and the expanse of Porthmeor Beach with the Tate St Ives overlooking it mark the area out as special.

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469kb

Character Area 5 - The terraces Residential use now dominates the character of this area, although historically it was a highly industrial area of mining and tin streaming. The strongly linear and architecturally uniform mid 19th - early 20th century residential terraces dominate. Set on the rising ground behind the historic core of the town, the terraces stack up the Stennack Valley sides. Importantly several earlier streets and groups of cottage rows of 18th and 19th century date survive

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 469kb

Character Area 6 - Coastal suburb and railway resort This area represents an affluent suburb of the town and an important part of its development as a ‘railway resort’. The large detached houses, villas, town-house terraces and grand hotels are amongst the most imposing architectural statements in the town designed on a grand scale and set within large spacious gardens. The quality of materials, architectural design and generous scale and spacing emphasises the sense of quality and prestige of this area. Its splendid views, overlooking the stunning Porthminster Beach and town below, also include bay-wide panoramas. This area is the subject of views out of town where the tiers of development are highly visible stacked up the coastal slope. The mature planting and trees of the well stocked large private grounds and gardens make a positive feature in wider town views.

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415kb

Appendix 2 Fish cellars and pressing methods. Research and diagrams by John Ferguson 2000.

Format type: PDF

327kb
   

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