Teetotal Street always raises a few smiles. It is a brilliant name for a street - and perfect to have on your mug of reviving tea after a night out in The Sloop!
Our lovely white ceramic mug shows the original "Teetotal Street" street sign, with all its little imperfections! Like most of us in St Ives, things tend to get a little worn and weathered. We like to call it character!
Teetotal Street is a little road on the ladder of streets tucked away behind Back Road East on the way to The Island. It is know locally know as "The Rows". Teetotal Street was built in the 1800s but there is evidence of people living here all the way back to the medieval times.
So Why Is It Called Teetotal Street?
Teetotal Street is named, as you might well have guessed, after the temperance movement who were vigorous campaigners for not drinking alcohol. This was very popular in parts of St Ives in the 1800s.
The town was purported to have drinking problems and there was a huge concentration of drinking establishments in the town's harbour area. I believe at one stage there were more than 20 pubs crammed into the town. That is a lot of pubs for such a small population!
John Wesley came to preach Methodism in St Ives around this time and teetotalism took hold in a big way.
The town even had its own St Ives Teetotal Society, established in 1838. However, there is no record of any Teetotal Society meeting room having been erected around Teetotal Street.
Teetotal Street was built around the same time as all this was going on. The word teetotal was a new and fashionable word - and these were new houses! Maybe the builders, developers and town councillors were staunch teetotallers themselves?