More places to see


St Ives
Cambridgeshire




Click Oliver Cromwell (who once lived here) to go to contents list.


A personal view
by Philip Grosset




The Norris Museum (at the west end of the Broadway) offers a really interesting local history collection: everything from fossils and stone age flints to the ice skates used in the Fens in hard winters, and old photos of the town, including pictures of the river in flood and covered in ice.
It reopened in July 2017 after being closed for two years for a major refurbishment and enlargement, and is
well worth a visit.
Norris Museum garden
In the attractive garden are two stone coffins found near Water Newton that date from Roman times (3rd or 4th century AD), and a 12th century gargoyle (see the photo on the right), almost all that remains of the St Ives Priory. The museum owes much of its success to a really excellent long- time curator, Bob Burn-Murdoch, who retired in 2012.
The Waits is the name of the street on the left in the photo that runs parallel to the river. This area, just to the west of the Broadway, makes an excellent place for boats to moor, children to fish, and people to sit.
Between the road and river at the Waits are often magnificent displays of flowers. No wonder the town frequently wins gold medals at the Anglia in Bloom competition.
On right:
Spring floods used to come up higher than this! The photo was taken before the latest flood prevention scheme.
Also on the Waits is the Methodist Church. If you get there on a Thursday morning between 10 and 12, they offer you a very friendly welcome and coffee or tea and cakes just for a donation.
The Town Hall, next to the Golden Lion on Market Hill, used to be the home of the wealthy Warner family who made their money as leather merchants in connection with the cattle market. It was Alderman William Warner who left an outlying field (now Warner's Park) to the town when he died in December 1905.
The Council Chamber on the first floor used to be the Warners' private dining room. The windows overlook Market Hill. The public library has a fascinating memoir of what life here was like here during the 1st World War ("As If It Were Yesterday" by Edith Pratt, who worked here as a live-in maid and thought how lucky she was).
The present Stanley house was built in 1850 on the site of an earlier house. According to a fascinating message left in the attic in 1850 but only found in 1992 when the room was being renovated, the house that had to be pulled down was "three Storey high - but it was a verey dry Jobb as they men had not much Ale gave them by Mr Warner"!

Free Church
The Free Church (the United Reformed Church), just a few doors away from the Town Hall, benefits from major alterations in 1978-80 that transformed the interior of a very traditional church built in 1864 to two-level multi-purpose areas which are open for a wide variety of purposes every day of the year. It includes an attractive Fair Trade shop (good for cards and unusual presents) and coffee shop. The building is also used by many outside organisations. Some 2000 people a week now pass through its doors. Church services are held every Sunday at 10.45am. Visitors are always welcome. This photo was taken on a Monday market day when the Free Church opens up a large downstairs area forinexpensive light refreshments or complete meals.

Free Church
Most of the upper floor is taken up by the Centrum, the main worship area, which is also often used for lectures and exhibitions.
Ephraim White
The oldest part of the Free Church is this memorial to Ephraim White in the porch chapel. It came originally from the Meeting House built in 1691. Ephraim's father was a rich draper with a shop on Bridge Street, and the Meeting House was built at the end of his garden in what is now Free Church Passage. All this came long after the time of Oliver Cromwell, who was obliged to attend the parish church, although, with other Puritans, he could also hold meetings (known as "lectures" so as to keep within the law) in his own house.
Old Meeting House
This is the site of the old Meeting House in Free Church Passage, just over the passage from the church. Originally built in 1691, it was rebuilt in 1811 and became known as the Independent Chapel. When the Free Church (the change of name was made partly to indicate the inclusion of many local Baptists at this time) was opened in 1864, it was converted for use as a Sunday School and was subsequently used as a church hall. It was converted into shops in 1981.
If you look very carefully at the bricks halfway down its front, you'll find some (at about eye level and above) with initials on them, indicating the deacons or benefactors at the time of the conversion in 1864.

For more about The Free Church, also see Potto Brown.



Initials
Don't miss the interesting OLD PHOTOGRAPHS.

Or go straight to MARKET DAY.


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ANSWER TO RIDDLE
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OLD PHOTOGRAPHS
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OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
ST IVES IN THE SUMMER
ODDITIES OF ST IVES
UNUSUAL PHOTOS
EATING PLACES
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FLOODS
SNOW:JAN 2003
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