St Ives
Cambridgeshire




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


A personal view
by Philip Grosset




What you say about this site (10)

(from June 2008 onwards. Latest messages at top of page)




"Engrossing." (Paul Williams)

"Ive lived in St Ives since 69, born in 62. I was reading the comments on the stives.org site and remember
Fairfield Bury. I'm afraid I don't have anything significant to add, but at some point in my early youth I recall walking around the derelict rooms of Fairfield Bury with my parents. It had been left to rack and ruin and remember thinking at the time it was quite spooky because it had been abandoned for some time - I'm not sure if it was dark and festooned with cobwebs but that is how my young mind remembers it. I recall this derelict building standing idle for some time, but I don't know how long, but at the time it felt like a long time!
I don't know the developer who bought the site, but there was major issue with flooding for quite some time afterwards.Every year, I remember seeing the expensive houses that had been built on the site with their ground floors flooded. It has since been corrected." (Ruth)

"I thought people would be interested in this video of St.Ives and Ramsey in the 1960s." (Matthew Turner)

"Dear Philip, I'm planning a day trip to St Ives this Monday (partly to try out the busway from Cambridge) and I was delighted to find your site. Very informative and entertaining. Thanks." (Malcolm Wylie

"Philip, the site is wonderful. My husband and I have made repeated visits, discovering new aspects on each visit.
I have particularly enjoyed the old photographs of St. Ives, both from a historical and photographic perspective. You've done a great job in collecting these together - congratulations on an excellent web resource. (Helen Traherne of Helen Traherne Photography, St Ives)

"Good, informative site, which has made me want to visit St Ives soon. I live in Cambridge." (Jeremy Edwards)
We are getting many more visitors from Cambridge than we used to. The Norris Museum gets twice the number of visitors it did before the Guided Bus was introduced. (PG)

"Incredibly nostalgic! I was evacuated there in 1943 at age of 11 and lived in Mill House with Mr & Mrs Powell. Mr Powell was the Mnaging director of the mill. Their 4 sons were in the services,be pleased to tell you lots more if you want. I live near Brent Cross,I'd be pleased to meet you in the Dolphin if you'd like to. I'm a 79 year old journalist." (Geoff Bradley)

"Great site thanks for taking the time out..... Grew up in St Ives now living in Lima Peru but will always be a St Ivian inside ...." (Will Handley)

"Full of useful information and lovely photographs. I live in Hull and my son is moving to St Ives shortly (works in Huntingdon) so I have used your site to find out more about St Ives before we come down. Looking forward to visiting." (Julie Hemsworth)

"I was pleased to see that this site is so up to date but maybe some photos of the new houses that have now taken over the golf course and opposite would be interesting. That landscape has changed so much in the last year! Keep up the good work." (Sarah Vanner)

"Brilliant! We're planning on visiting St Ives on the new guided busway which is about to open! (Again). We live in Cambridge. There doesn't seem to be much about St Ives on the web, but your site had not only the essential tourist stuff, but more interesting snippets as well. One small niggle - I think you have the white signpost on the wrong roundabout." (Jo Edkins)
Thanks. I've now amended my map showing the position of the White Post! (PG)

"Discovered this site by pure chance although it has stirred some memories. I was born in Offord Cluny and came to live in St Ives aged 1 or 2 in the late 50's. My parents and I lived with my grandparents (on my mothers side) at Cemetary lodge (All Saints) where my Grandfather looked after the cemetary and my grandmother was verger. She had previously looked after Father Algy and his order of monks attached to the church. Both my Uncles were bell ringers, and one of them was first onto the beaches of DDay. I went to school in the town - North Road infants and juniors and remember the big move to Westfields. I was a server and chorister in the church, during the days of Fathers Lawson and Jennings, and was succesful in the Bible Dicing - gambling in church was big news in those days and was even covered on TV. Won the Water Lily Cup one year - 52 fish in 1 1/2 hours!
St Ives was much smaller in those days but I'm pretty sure me and my friends knew every inch of it. The cattle market when it had animals, the church youth club opposite the Dun Horse, Totus Bookies, the fair (exciting beyond belief) Warners park, the Thicket, Ramsey Road right the way down to the peri track at RAF Wyton where my dad worked, the waterfall and 'chub stream' over at Holmes meadow.
I was a paper boy at Deers and Clements throughout school, and delivered Joe Bugners papers before he was famous. Had a Saturday job in Turners the Chemist and worked the Xmas slot for the post Office. I went on to school at Ramsey Abbey, on to University and physically left St Ives, although it will always be 'home'. My father still lives in st Ives along with an aunt and cousin and I'm back a handful of times each year. I'm sure there's a lot more in my head that could be teased out so if anyone's got any questions then feel free." (Richard Jarvis)

"Very informative. Lovely site." (Sue Bunn)

"Interesting comments that bring back memories. I was 4 when we moved to Alconbury in 1957 and started school at Queen Elizabeth's Academy. I have been trying to recall the name of my ballet teacher," (Melissa Broadway)

"Excellent site. Well done. Searching to see if my mother Daisy May Wiskin was a pupil at Slepe Hall between 1918-1925. Does anyone know of a pupil list of Slepe Hall school round 1918-1925? Trying to find Daisy or Maisy Wiskin." (Ian Newton, son. Tel 01476-573702)

"I just can't believe hearing from folks station at Alconbury, my husband and I were station there from 1976 to 1980,I use to work at Shaw Fashion in St.Ives and later on I worked at the BX on alconbury I was the supervisor in the electronics dept." (Patricia Broffel)

"So many memories and nostalgia for the time I spent at Slepe Hall before moving to Bognor Regis in 1944. I love the town as I always have." (Margaret Saunders)

"A great trip back to my past I lived & went to Slepe Hall School in the late 50 early 60. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. My Dad was Stan Gurry he was a bookmaker I can be reached through my E-mail as below. (Vicky O'Leary. nee Addigton-Gurry; ronandvicky@circom.net)

"i was evacuated to st.ives in 1939 lived at green end farm then peeks yard then green leys. attended free church passage school then north road boys school. on leaving school was telegram boy in stives.in 1950 raf national service returned as postman. left stives for employment bedfordshire. always my intention on retirement to return to end my days in the town where i grew up and had so many friends sadly most no longer with us. now living in stives hoping to meet someone who remembers me." (Les Barker)
I'd welcome some more information about your time in St Ives (Philip Grosset)
"A very interesting site. Firstly I must thank you for displaying my first ever comments having at 78 years of age just purchased a computer and slowly learning to use it. As I had earlier stated in 1939 at the age of 7 I was evacuated fron London to St.Ives together with my brother and sister. Our first billet was not very pleasant and we were very unhappy Our second family were very nice to us although here we were mostly confined to one room where we ate and slept and only allowed to join the family once a week for Sunday lunch. When the anticipated bombing did not occur we,like thousands of other evacuees returned to London.
In May 1940 the London blitz started and London was heavily bombed night after night for several months. It was only when the house next door received a direct hit and our house was badly damaged that in August 1940 my parents decided that we should re-evacuate to St.Ives. On this occasion mother accompanied us.
We found accomodation in Green End Farm off Ramsey Road living in just one large room. The farm was owned by a Mr and Mrs Purser. Although very basic with no gas or electricity only a single paraffin lamp an open fire on which mother somehow managed to cook our meals,an outside bucket toilet,to us away from the relentless bombing we were at least safe. After several months we found a small cottage to rent in Peeks Yard running off Merrylands. Here we remained until 1949 when we were a newly built Council house in Green Leys.
On my rearrival in St.Ives in 1940 I attended school in Free Church Pasage later moving to the local boys school in North Road. I left school at the age of 14 and commenced work as a telegram boy in St.Ives then later as a postman. In 1950 at the age of 18 I was called up for two years National Service in the R.A.F. On my demob in 1952 I returned to work as a postman now in Huntingdon later I worked at St.Ives Permanex in Ramsey Road. I used to attend Saturday night dances in the Corn Exchange and at Chatteris where the band leader was one Lou Hope Great times. It was at the Chatteris Palace where in 1955 I met my wife who came from March. In 1958 I married and moved to Bedfordshire then Northamptonshire.
It had always been my intention to move back to St.Ives and there end my days, now at 78 years of age Im back. It was always my hope that I would be able to locate some of my old school mates and friend i knew in the 40s and 50s. Sadly so far I find that many of my friends both boy and girl friends are no longer with us. If there is anyone out there who remembers Les Barker I would love to hear from them. Thanks again for giving me this opportunity." (Les Barker)

"hi, i am looking for any information about scarrows shop on the waits st ives around 1960 any info would be of great help, regards." (Peter Anderson)
Can anyone help? If so, please get in touch via my guest book. And as always, try Bob Burn-Murdoch, curator of the Norris Museum. (PG)

"I live in Bromham, Bedford, and I spent an hour or two in St Ives a week ago on a cycle ride from Bromham to Cambridge. I wanted to visit St Ives, partly to see the town, but also to cycle along the busway. The cycle track part is flooded in parts, so I cycled for 10 miles along the concrete wheel track of the busway. This was much more comfortable, and it helped to concentrate my mind!" (Andrew Clark)

"I have just sent you a message about our B and B, Forty Winks, but I am not sure if it has gone to you. It would be nice to be mentioned on your site. Our website is fortywinksbandb.co.uk. We offer lovely comfy en suite rooms, are very friendly, great breakfasts and our garden has won gold in St Ives gardens in bloom. We probably need more help than the big hotels as we are hidden away rather. We have been awarded 4 stars and are still the only b and b in St Ives, I think. We would appreciate a mention." (Jennifer Coville)
Delighted to add your b & b to my Estate Agents and Accomodation page as the only b&b actually in St Ives! (PG)

"I found your site exciting as have been trying to tell my grandchildren where I went to school I am now 84 live in Brighton east Victoria Australia but I was at Slepe Hall and left to go nursing in 1944." (Esther Crapper ne Goldberger)

"Hello, I'm looking for an answer to a particular question, which has brought me to this website through Google. I'm interested in the origins of the nursery rhyme "As I was going to St. Ives". The narrator met a man with SEVEN wives - why seven? Was it commonplace to have more than one wife in those times or was the man Muslim? I couldn't find an answer on Google, maybe you can help? Thank you very much in advance. Kind regards, Viktoriya Kireeva (Russian)"
It was just a joke! (PG)
"Thank you! But I'm not totally convinced :))" (Viktoriya Kireeva)

"Thank you so very much for your wonderful website, I so love it! I lived in St. Ives during the 1990's and loved every minute of it. It was so good to view all your photos & read all things St. Ives, it has changed so much since I was there. I have missed it so! I could so take a nice walk in the thicket about now. Good memories :)" (Carmen M. Silguero)

"Thank you very much,you have designed a very good web pg. it's very interesting and informative." (Gillian Gafa)

"The small farm I lived on grew flowers and vegatables. We had 200 hundred chickens, two pigs and two goats that I had to take up the road to a field near Great Farthing Close? every morning. There was a splendid orchard at the back of the house. The Fortescues were just wonderful to me. I would have loved to have retired there. Your website brings back many memories. And, the great freeze of 1940? Best regards. " (Ed Chick, Canada)
You'll remember the scene in the photo, then. In January 1940 people were able to skate on the Great Ouse. (PG)

"I found this site by accident, but it is very interesting. I lived in St.Ives and went to Slepe Hall school from the age of 8 until it closed down when I was 13. I have many happy memories of my time there. Thank you." (Margaret Vallerine, nee Clapham, now living in Milton Keynes.)

"I was a pupil at Slepe Hall School and during my education there I had to be relocated to a new school, due to the reason it was closing. You enquired if anybody knew why the school closed and the reason was that the last Headmistress there had a drink problem, which unfortunately led to the closure of the school." (Jean Sinclair)

"great site: i'm looking for ideas for this years carnival. our float will have children from the different churches in the town, we use it to promote our fun week in the summer holidays. do you have any fun ideas that reflect st ives history. i like the idea of a pocket calculator factory. many thanks " (Lindsey Stanton)

"Very easy to understand the links, great photos, researching friends family history, George Smith, police constable, labourer and waterman. Trying to find out about waterman and barges they used, eg Houselighter reg at St Ives. Any suggestions welcomed." (Ann Dyer)

"Great site. I grew up in Graveley, have lived in Colorado for 41 years.  On a recent visit "home" my family took me to a wonderful restaurant in St. Ives, just over the bridge. Then we walked around the town, it was so nice and relaxing and brought back many memories of going to market day on a bank holiday, or going to the dances at the Corn Exchange. Nice things have been accomplished with St. Ives. Thank you for a pleasant evening." (Sandra Crook, Colorado)

"Think your site is great, my Parents live in St Ives,so I found it very interesting, as Mum's Brother in Law lived at the Golden Lion with his mother when he was three, she was the cook there, anyway we have always admired the Victorian photo there and would really love a copy/s to give to his children as a momento,(not that he is on it!) but I don't know where I found this photo, drawn blanks as to where we can obtain it from, looking on your site and there was the photo, so I'm now hoping that you may be able to help me get the photo for them Kind Regards" (Vivienne Fletcher)
Sorry, I can't remember the source of the photo. But try asking Bob Burn-Murdoch, the curator of the Norris Museum (tel 01480-497314). (PG)

"Great site it is so good to see someone who cares so much about St Ives. Is it ok if I put a link thru from stivesbiz.org.uk? One question what would you call a resident of St Ives - a St Ivian????" (Richard Waters)
All links welcomed! St Ivian sounds right to me. (PG)

"I think the page about Slepe Hall School is great - several things had changed by the time I was a student there from 1955-1960.  I wonder if Ms. Yeandle is still alive and well and able to attend what is likely to be the schools last Old Girls' Day in May of 2010.  Girls from my form, who graduated in 1960, have been been organizing them at Slepe Hall since at least 1997 every two years. These girls want/need to give it up and there do not appear to be any others (younger?) willing to take it on.  Contact Judy Poulter (née Stiles) at judypoulter@talktalk.net who has been editing The Buckfield Times for the last few years.
I emigrated to Canada in 1965 now living in Penetanguishene, Ontario.  I married, have 3 children and 6 grandchildren, and recently retired from my Admin Asst position at the local psychiatric hospital. Thanks for the site." (Wendy Maurice, née Tidd)

"I love your site,as a young American in the 70's. I was stationed at RAF Alconbury and loved every minute of it." (Gary Klein, USA)

"This is great - we visiting next weekend and were looking for some tourist information - you have designed this site for people just like us coming for a couple of days and want to know what to look out for I will certainly be looking above the shops as well as into them - thanks for all your hard work." (Lynn Stone)

"Follow through very good. Interesting and informative. My interest comes from family connected to St Ives. Sadly my search for my great-grandparents dwellings has gone under the Car Park." (Sandra Bullock)

"I searched St. Ives because my Great-Great-Grand-Father was born there.  His name was Thomas Askew.  He married an Anna Cozzens in 1828.   He came to America and settled in Scriba, Oswego County, New York.   I was born in Oswego, New York in 1940.  I currently live in San Antonio, Texas." (Robert Askew)

"Great. I live in St Ives and am doing a college project on how transport has affected the physical shape of town from 1822 (causeway built)." (Colin Hudson)

"This is probably the home town of my ancestors." (James F. Ives, USA)

"I have just discovered your wonderful and accurately descriptive site. I am a St Ives resident of some 44 years and continue to find new historical memories of our town. I am trying to find some history of a large house which is next to my property in Bury Way/Bury Close. Seems to have been built in the early part of the last century and was once owned by the Huckle family. Maybe they were farmers or corn merchants? It is still an elegant, red brick mansion, now turned into individual apartments. Would be great if someone knew more about its past. Thank you again for this excellent website." (Vernon Turner)
Many thanks for your message. I expect you know Bob Burn-Murdoch of the Norris Museum. He might be able to help you find out more about about the house. (PG)

"Fantastic site. Brings back memories of St.Ivo School 1975 to 82, camping /fishing on sea scouts island. Drinking at Oli (Cromwell) pub.  Football/Running at the Top Track (now Outdoor Sports complex)." (Steve Pywell)

"Excellent. I'm a St ivian living in Peru and excellent photos and topics" (will handley)

"I think this site was very informative.I used to live here from 1966-1969.  My dad was stationed at Alconbury.  I was a teen and I had the best time of my life in St. Ives. If anyone knows of Ronnie Wheeler, I would love to hear from him." (Christine Bertieri Zehring)

"Great site. Moved to St Ives from Birmingham in 1961. I was the only Aston Villa supporter in St Ives at that time. Many happy memories including North Road School, St Ivo and all nighters at The Rec Centre. Lived in Elm Drive but now live near Kettering." (John Barnett)

"Wonderful site esp. for me as I was born(1925) and grew up in St.Ives/ Hem Grey. Lived just over the New Bridges in London Rd. until I got a scholarship to Huntingdon Grammar at 11yrs, and we moved to Hem Grey. Crawled everyday, over the railway crossing (busy then with Mr Viles the crossing keeper) to first the Infants School in Pig Lane and then The Boys Council School in North St. I say `crawled` because we used to play marbles in the gutter nearly all the way home. Not much traffic then! I remember being taken out into the playground at the Infants to see a huge airship going over - the Graf Zeppelin I think.
S
o many memories; October fair - the music and coloured lights, so rare in those days and even then naphthalene flares on some of the stalls. Health and Safety eat your heart out! Two massive steam engines throbbing away between the `noahs ark` and the `dodgems` in the Broadway - these can be seen at the Thursford Museum in North Norfolk, a place well worth a visit, regular visits by a circus in the old Dolphin field and one by the famous Alan Cobham Flying Circus, lots of sheep in the pens at the end of Market Hill, ice skating most winters on Hemingford meadow - wooden bodied skates that literally screwed in to the heel of your shoe with a strap over the front, sold by Whalleys ironmongers in Bridge St.
An earlier correspondent mentioned the stables at the rear of the Bridge Hotel. One of these was used by the cubs/scouts as their HQ with  `young` Dr.`Billy` Groves as Scoutmaster - always `young` as his father was also a GP in the town. Owing, I think, to an alleged misdemeanor we lost our HQ and for a long time used to meet by a campfire in a field down Meadow Lane, even in midwinter. Mention of Pursers garage - I think it was Pursers, before Ramsey Rd, had their premises in Bridge St with two petrol pumps actually on the pavement (left side looking to bridge). I delivered papers for Mr.Dady at his newsagents shop nearly opposite. Could go on- and on,but must stop!I left St Ives in 1947 but my mother lived in Hem Grey till she died in 1988. I now live in Diss Norfolk and still miss the river - spent all my childhood in or on it!'' (Ken Favell)

"its great. I miss St Ives and this site lets me go back home now and again. I have been in the usa for 24 years now and have not been back home for 15 years but that will change next month, can not wait." (Donna Cuevas, NM usa)   

"fantastic!!!  i used to live in St Ives and surrounding villages and now live in Lincoln and have gone back to college.  I am doing a local history project on Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots, this has given me some invaluable information." (Dionne Mitchell)

"I visited St.Ives in 11/07. My first trip abroad from Barnesville GA USA. I love the place and the museum and Floods. I wish I was there now. Hey to our friends Steve &Tracy Small." (Charles Wheeler, 297,Freeman Rd. Barnesville GA 30204)   

"Brilliant, i actually came across your site whilst trying to find out the former name of what is now called "the lounge" i believe as i have some fond and rather drunken memories of frequenting during the early nineties, I live in ipswich now but my heart will always be in St.Ives." (jackie stewart)

"My father was in the US Air Force and we were stationed at Alconbury in the 80's (1982-1985).  Since I was only a little girl at the time, my memories are a bit hazy. I do remember going to an English school and having English friends as well as friends that were fellow Air Force Brats. My parents are Oscar and Shirley Vigil and I have a younger brother Anthony "Tony" Vigil and I believe we lived at 11 California Road. That's really all I remember except for some inexplicable reason, I remember my teachers names....Mrs. Bellamy??? Miss McClockland (Married name was Walker) and I remember the Headmistress name was Miss Barrett?" Anyone remember me or my family, email me at tracymarie_vigil@yahoo.com." (Tracy Vigil)

"You might be interested in that the new Stagecoach service 55 is shown as taking 37 mins to Cambridge. The inherited service scheduled time was 33. Whippet going thru Fenstanton and Bar Hill schedule for 36. It seems that Stagecoach are preparing for a longer time for the "high speed" guided bus costing £120m plus." (Colin Saunderson)

"I liked this site. Just enough to whet appetite for a visit. I live in Hitchin" (Peter Dane)

"Excellent, been to dinner at Riverside Restaurant The Quay, area lovely which got my interest going. we will be coming back shortly for a sunday lunch and a lovely stroll." (Ron Jack)

"Nice pictures. Something of railway interest would be nice!!" (Paul Webb)

This is all that remains of the railway: the old Railway Hotel, now used as offices, at the end of Station Road just past Waitrose. The station was just beyond it. The last train was in October 1970. (PG)

"This site is great! You have a real treasure-trove of information and photographs here, which must have taken ages to compile. Fantastic work! Is all of the information you have on your website? I'm trying to find out more about my house, Fairfield Bury, on the edge of the Hill Rise estate. If you know anything more about the house, or about the Lindsells, Newtons or Huckles, that would be great! I can provide you with lots of info on them if you would like it? The Lindsells particularly were a very well respected family, and Robert, who first lived in my house in 1898, was a co-founder of Wells & Co, the brewers. Thanks again for a really interesting site!" (Sarah Phelps)
See message at top of page
. Can anyone else help? If so, I'd be pleased to forward emails. (PG)

"We have lived in St Ives for 15 years and we have gradually grown to love this quirky town.Your site was extremely informative. However , you have made an error in the description of 1 of the shops that you mention in your reviews. The WHSmiths store that is now prominent in the town centre took over from Choices and not Blockbusters as you mention in your piece. Choices was significant because it's founder lives in the nearby village of Hemingford Grey. The original chairman was very passionate about his local Choices store and when the chain of stores fell victim to the climate of internet downloading he was saddened. Therefore he would be very disappointed to see it referred to as a Blockbusters store." (Robert Hawksworth)
Many thanks for the correction. As an ex-Choices customer, I don't know what I was thinking of, especially as Choices had been a noted supporter of local events! (PG)

"excellent." (sue rice)

"I enjoyed this very much. I was a pupil at Slepe Hall from 1951-1955. At that time the school was rather grim, there was food rationing still and little in the way of heat. I would like to know why the school closed ten years after I left." (Jill McNichol-Harrell)

"I may be moving to st Ives and wanted to see it from a local perspective, you truly love it and it seem a georgous place to live." (Kellie Watts)

"Please can you help to promote the following event: Relay for Life is a unique event which honours Cancer Survivors, remembers those lives taken away by cancer and educates the community into cancer prevention. We have a Relay taking place in St Ives on August 2nd & 3rd 2008 at St Ivo Outdoor Centre. For more information please visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/relay or telephone 01223 404195. Thanks" (Victoria Gilham)



Go on to WHAT YOU SAY (11)




    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
    MAP
    AERIAL PHOTOS
    ESTATE AGENTS
    GUEST BOOK
    CONTENTS LIST
    SEARCH ENGINE