Festival Of Britain Plaques St Ives Cornwall

The 6 Festival Of Britain Plaques In St Ives

About The Festival Of Britain

The Festival Of Britain was a goverment organised national exhibition held in the Summer of 1951.

It was set up to try to boost the populations morale, after so many dreadful years of post-war austerity.

The exhibition was all about promoting Britains' contribution to science, technology, industrial design, architecture and the arts.

St Ives famous artists were of course involved.

Barbara Hepworth created "Contrapunctal Forms" which are a pair of semi-abstract figures in blue limestone and were exhibited at London's South Bank.

St Ives town council commissioned 6 commemorative plaques to be displayed on structures around town of historic interest.

The Creator Of The Plaques

The creator of the plaques was never made public, but the fact that David Leach of the Leach Pottery was on the Festival Of Britain committee, it was an open secret that they came from there.

In recent times it has come to light that the plaques were indeed made from unused kiln shelves from the Leach Pottery!

The 6 Festival Of Britain Plaques in St Ives are:

1. The Baulking House Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall Baulking House

Walk from Porthminster Beach towards Carbis Bay along Hain Walk. There you will see a little white building with a plaque on the side.

The Festival Of Britain Plaque reads:

"The Baulking House, A Huer's Lookout from which watch was kept for shoals of pilchards in the bay and the movements of the seine boats were directed"

A huer was a person who stood on a prominent lookout on the cliffs, looking for the telltale shine of a pilchard shoal. They would cry out loud enough for the boats to hear in the bay, and help direct the fishermen to the fish.

Read more about The Baulking House here >>

2. The Wesleyan Chapel Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall Wesleyan Chapel

Walk up The Stennack till you get to the St Ives theatre and turn down the side street and right again. Here you will find the next Festival of Britain plaque.

The Festival Of Britain Plaque reads:

" Opposite this chapel stood the house of John Nance at which John Wesley stayed during his earliest visits to St Ives. 1743 "

John Wesley visited St Ives in 1743 and converted many people in the town to Methodism. The Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1785 and was added to in 1825. It is now the home of the brilliant youth theatre group Kidz R Us.

3. The Hicks Court Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall Hick's Court

Walk down The Digey and peer down the tiny Hick's Court. You will see a granite arch leading into the courtyard of houses with a plaque next to it.

The Festival Of Britain Plaque reads:

"This arch marks the entry to Hick's Court where stood the house of George Hicks, Portreeve, 1611 and 1624."

The arch is thought to have once marked the entranceway to an old Manor House belonging to the Hicks family. Stories say the arch was built so low in order to impede customs officers chasing smugglers on horseback. The arch is grade II listed and now impedes the arrival of many a holiday maker!

4. The Oldest House Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall Oldest House

Walk into the harbour and turn up the road just past The Sloop Inn. This is Fish Street (known amongst the old timers as Dick's Hill).

Number 5 Fish Street is know as the oldest house in St Ives and it is believed to be dated back to circa 1312, built at a similar time to the original The Sloop Inn.

The Festival Of Britain Plaque reads:

"This plaque marks what is reputed to be the oldest house in St Ives"

Read more about The Oldest House here >>

5. St Leonard's Chapel Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall St Leonard's Chapel

Sitting right at the start of Smeaton's Pier (by the men's loos and harbour masters office) is a tiny building called St Leonard's Chapel.

The Festival Of Britain Plaque reads:

"St Leonard's Chapel. The traditional chapel of the fishermen of St Ives."

The has been there since medieval times although its date of original build is not known. There are records in the archives for repairs made as far back as 1577.

It is where the fishermen used to pray before setting out to sea. Apparently, in “the olden days” a proportion of the fishermans’ catch had to be paid to the chapel friar on their safe return.

Read more about St Leonard's Chapel here >>

6. Well Of St Eia Plaque

Festival Of Britain Plaque St Ives Cornwall Well Of St Eia

The original plaque which was placed here no longer exists, but an engraved stone marks its place.

"Venton Ia. The Holy Well of St Ia. Until 1843 the main water supply for Downalong"

This little well was indeed one of the main water supplies for a large part of St Ives until as late as 1843. It is now used for the blessing in the St Ives Feast Day and Silver Ball celebrations.

Read more about the Well Of St Eia here >>

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