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).
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.
Norris Museum garden
Outside 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 above), almost all that remains of the St Ives Priory. Well worth a visit - and it's free! You can also buy local guide books and a good St Ives Town Walk leaflet here.


The Waits. This green area, just to the west of the Broadway, makes an excellent place for boats to moor, children to fish, and people to sit. On Sunday afternoons in the summer concerts are held here. The Norris Museum is in the left background.
The Waits
Spring floods sometimes came up higher than this! The photo was taken before the latest flood prevention scheme.
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"!

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). 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 the May Day Bank Holiday market which explains why the street is so busy.
Free Church
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.
This is the large ground floor tea and coffee bar open for Monday markets. It offers what must be the cheapest tea and coffee in the town. A smaller coffee bar called Tookeys (named after a local 17th century Puritan clergyman) is open the rest of the week. It is all manned (or, more often, womanned) entirely by volunteers.
Coffee bar
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.
Initials
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.



Don't miss the interesting OLD PHOTOGRAPHS.

Or go straight to MARKET DAY.



OPENING PAGE
BRIEF HISTORY
ANSWER TO RIDDLE
PLACES TO SEE
OLD PHOTOGRAPHS
MARKET DAY
SHOPS
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
ST IVES IN THE SUMMER
SUMMER CARNIVALS
ODDITIES OF ST IVES
UNUSUAL PHOTOS
EATING PLACES
FURTHER AFIELD
NEWS FROM ST IVES
CHRISTMAS MARKET
FLOODS
SNOW:JAN 2003
LOCAL WEBSITES
WHAT YOU SAY
MEMORIES OF ST IVES
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AERIAL PHOTOS
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