St Ives

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

A personal view
by Philip Grosset

What you say about this site (7)

(from January 2005 onwards)

"Great fun, and it may have helped me more that you could imagine! I was looking for the name Hamilton Bell - and as a result of visiting you I've just sent the following message to the RootsWeb Huntingdonshire Mailing List:

Have you visited Philip Grosset's super site:
There I found a potential pearl, which may lead me straight through a brick wall - IF anyone can add the critical detail. One of the St Ives "memories" includes:"This is a vicar's wife mind and her mother, Mrs Hamilton-Bell was her mothers name, but I can't remember the vicars name. But they were oh… really gentry they must have been because… She had a son that was a major in the army at Aldershot. And he had about one of the first, I should think, motor cars that ever came out, one of those very, very high ones." Now the major is a mystery man and I'm desperately keen to find out more about him.  He first appeared on our scene as the executor of the will of my distant cousin Grace Henrietta Hamilton MILMAN (née BELL) when she died in the early 1900s, as Colonel Frederick John Hamilton Bell.  There are several BELLs in my tree with Hamilton as a middle name, but he is not one of them, by any stretch of the imagination.  So, hey-ho, off to Google, etc, I went.
First stop FreeBMD - and blow me, there he was, born in Dover, Kent, in 1863. Next WorldConnect: nothing. How about the 1881 Census: well, it looks as though he was at school in Wimbledon on 3rd April 1881. 1891 or 1901 Census: nix.  Not getting very far, so far. OK - Google, with any kind & sort of concatenation of search terms one can think of: It turns out that he served in the Royal Irish/Ulster Rifles, was severely wounded at Stormberg during the Boer War, and was in command of their 2nd Battalion when he retired in 1912 or 1913.  But nothing more. So, back to the Memories, and more Googling.  Eventually I found that a Mrs Wilde and a Mrs Hamilton Bell contributed to the Organ Fund at St Ives in 1904, and then, building on this and the "memory" above, I discovered that the Vicar at the date of the "memory" was probably Oscar Wade WILDE. Back to FreeBMD: There is the marriage, but, aarrrgggghh, during the third Quarter of 1891 in Vol 1a, Page 865, two husbands and only one wife are recorded at FreeBMD, and she wasn't a BELL or HAMILTON BELL. Back to WorldConnect: nix.
So, coming to the point at last, , PLEASE, does anybody on the list know anything more about Mrs Hamilton Bell, possibly mother-in-law of the Vicar of St Ives, in the 1900s, and her family?

Continuing, I have indeed been to St Ives, with my wife and her cousins, for her families, The NORTHROPs and the ODAMS, came from those parts, and we've done quite a bit of research on them. More of this later, maybe, Cheers." (Don Montague)

"Most interesting. My great great grandparents, John James Reeve and Ann Sutton were married in St Ives in 1828." (Brian Davis, Auckland, New Zealand)

"I used it for a Geography project about St.Ives. The background information on the town was useful but more photogrpahs of the past and present could really improve the site." (Tess)

"I think the site is excellent. It covers a wide range of interests in St Ives and is very user-friendly. I would like to ask if you know of a hard copy local mag/pamphlet covering similar aspects of St Ives and local businesses." (Don Hegharty)
The St Ives Library (opposite the Waitrose car park) has extensive collections of local books and other documents, both for reference and for loan. (PG)

"Hi! My name's Przemek. I come from Poland. St.Ives it's a great town. My dream it's working and living in St.Ives. Meabe in March 2005 I begin work in Meyer-Scott Recr., then I make Saint Ives site in Polish... I hope! greetings from Poland." (Kedzierzyn Kozle)

"Very good" (Brett Parker)

"Thank you for your fun and informative web site - so much more passion and love for the place than the "official" web site seems to have. I feel that I will be having a personal tour by you tomorrow when I meet with my friend for a "girls day out". I'm looking forward to lunch and a lovely wander around if the weather is nice. It is wonderful that you have put so much time and effort into producing an enticing selection of information which portrays this pretty place in such a positive way. Well done!!" (Sharne Van der Burgh)

"really nice to see, used to live in st ives as a child and was nice to look at everything again." (Sarah Mears)

"very good i would like to know if you are holding a rock and beer festival around your area this summer or any events through this summer thank you" (t crowley)
I understand that the 25th "Booze on the Ouse" beer festival will be held in St Ives from 15th-17th Sept 2005. For other events, please see the official St Ives town site.

"I realy like the historical introduction and pictures. Probably I am going to include St Ives in my trip around GB following summer. Thank You very much." (Alicja Pilarczyk, Poland)

"I was most impressed with your site, i live in fenstanton myself and was trying to explain to friends in states what my local town was like .. your site i found most helpful,and very informative lol thx .." (Tony Clapperton)

"I love your site." (Ricardo Monteiro)

"I am hoping you can help the St Ives Carnival Committee! There is a rumour in town at the moment that there will be no carnival in 2005 - in fact, building on the success of recent years, the carnival is expected to be bigger than ever. All the main acts have been booked and organising the weekend is well advanced. We are very keen to get more residents involved in organising things as well as turning out on the day!" (Richard Allen)

"Very useful. We were just about to leave to go out for the day and we wanted to check out places to visit in the area. We're on our way to St Ives." (Roger Knight)

"My wife and myself have just returned to Tyneside after attending a wedding ,we stayed at the Dolphin Hotel and on the Sunday had a quick look round St.Ives we were impressed by both and intend to return in the near future to have a good look round and most important to relax.The hotels link brought me to this site and once again I am impressed. Look forward to my return visit." (Michael Robson)

"The site is great. I have lived in St.Ives all my life(15 years now). My mum and dad met at Scotneys, and I would like to find out more information about this company and other old local businesses e.g Clements. This would be very helpful." (Sam Lovell)
There's a chapter about Tom M Scotney Ltd in Old Industries of St Ives Revisited by Ken Ballard, published by The Friends of the Norris Museum, available from the Norris Museum or on loan from the public library. (PG)

"Great site. Brings back good memories" (Andre van Heerden)

"Excellent! I am a daughter of an emigre from St Ives to New Zealand. Have visited a couple of times, and am on a quest to find some info about the early 1900's and their lives then. (My late Dad came to NZ in 1920 as a lad). I understand she was a piano player for old silent movies, perhaps during the 1st World War. I think we found the place (ex 'Liberty Hall' or some such?) but I'm at a loss to track down anything else. Is there any documentation on these aspects? She was a 3rd generation St Ives' girl - Anderson - daughter of Georgiana (ne Chapman) and John Anderson. (OOps! this is not a genealogy site I realise). I visited the local museum but found the minder very taciturn and uncommunicative. Not helpful! Can anyone fill in the gaps in my quest please? (Shirley Knuckey (nee Secker), New Plymouth, New Zealand)
I'll be pleased to forward any replies. (PG)

"Excellent! You are convincend me. I'll visit St.Ives in June. Many compliments." (Luciana Perasso, Italy)

"I was looking for pictures to use for some coursework and came up with this site! I really enjoyed the Oddities page - I live in St Ives but had never noticed them before! Really great site, keep it up!" (Katy)

"I think it is the best site i have visited so far about St Ives... I am from New Zealand and used to live in St Ives and its wonderful to see what is happening and old pictures of places i used to visit ... thank you" (Natalie Moreton)

"A wonderful site, with great pictures! Where can I get more information on Holt Island? I'm wondering if it is available for private hire?" (B. Edwards)
The Holt Island Nature Reserve is administered by the Hunts District Council's Countryside Services Dept, and I think it most unlikely that it would be available for private hire, but you can get more information from the Ranger at 01480-451568 or 07752-188421. The photo shows a distant view of The Waits, as seen
from Holt Island. (PG)

"Rather interesting presentation of St. Ives. I am a retired engineer living in Philadelphia USA. My doughter lives in England. She and her husband are thinking of moving to St. Ives or one of the smaller villages near St. Ives. If that happens then I will periodicaly visit St. Ives and possible eventually I will end up moving near my daughet as I get older and infirm. I have liked what I have seen and read in your site. Regards Mo." (Mohsen Malek)

"Greetings. We're located between St Ives and Huntingdon, and a lot of patients and clients come to us from St Ives and nearby. We'd like to achieve a presence on local websites. With good wishes" (David Robinson.
The Wellbeing Centre)

"Enjoyed the site very much,as I used to live at RAF Wyton, and work in Fenstanton,so every day I would cycle through St Ives on my way to work But would stop for a few ales in the Greyhound hotel, with Billy and Jack. I left England for Australia in 1979, so seeing the old place brought back a few memories I used to work with a Tony Vendetti, and his brother cut hair almost next to a pub that I can`t remember the name of.. and was wondering if he was still there.. Once again thanks for a great site.. very enjoyable.. Regards.. Peter.." (Peter Foster)

"Very informative and interesting. I have a pub on the Broadway in St. Ives - Floods Tavern - and have tried in vain to find out the history of the building and its approximate date. All I know is that it is Grade II listed and is possibly 18th or 17th century. Can you please provide me with any more information? Many thanks." (Sheila Harvey)
paul wood
There is a brief mention of Floods in the booklet "The Pubs of St Ives" by Bob Burn-Murdoch, curator of the Norris Museum. He says it's an 18th century building that was used as a bank in about 1850. It might be worth stepping along to the Norris Museum to have a word with him. (PG)
"Many thanks for your very prompt reply. Yes we have a copy of that book and my daughter did once go along to the Norris Museum and ask about any information they had earlier to that, since she had a few 'experiences' at Floods. Many people have said they had thought it was built possibly late 17th century but we are unable to get any further information.  So this means  it was  there previous to being a bank which is why we think it is dated earlier. Anyway we will keep plugging away for more info. Again thank you." (Sheila Harvey)

"very good thank you very much." (paul wood)

"My father was stationed at Molesworth, and after it closed, at Alconbury, from 1956-1958. We lived in Kettering and Hemingford Grey, and I attended Hemingford Grey School first and second form. I know we visited St. Ives often to shop, use the library and go to the park. While I remember parts of Hemingford Grey and Kettering quite clearly, I don't remember St. Ives as well, so your excellent site was a treat to tour. Thank you for all the wonderful photos. I'd love to come for a visit again soon." (Pamela Osburn)

"Great photos - some of the comments were a little personal I shall put a link to it from the Resource Centre catalogue, St Ivo school." (Hilary Forber)
Yes, this site is intended as my personal view of St Ives! (PG)

"I am moving to St Ives soon so I will keep looking at your site for more information. Thanks" (dawn morgan)

"This is a great site. I have geography coursework at the moment on St.Ives, and this website has been extremely helpful. Thanks! A well recommended site full of very interesting information! I'm glad there are things like this about our town, we may be small, but there's so much more to us, historically, tourism and event wise and your website proves that!" (Mary)

"Does anyone remember the Croseley (margaret) family that lived in St ives in the early 50's???" (Robert Fleming)

"Lovely - very informative - and witty! We will be visiting St. Ives starting tomorrow - for a few days." (valerie ainsworth}

"My father was stationed at Alconbury Air Force base from 1967 to 1970.
When first arrived in England from Guam my family rented out a home in St.Ives for several years until we moved into military housing on the base.
My three sisters and I were in our teens at the time and have the fondest memories of St. Ives. We usually pop over to London/Oxford area every two-three years and keep saying next time we go! WE HAVE TO GO TO ST.IVES.
I saw your website and was very excited. So I am now booking my trip to England and will be staying in St. Ives for several days. Thank you!!! I loved the photos of the bridge, thicket, church and all. I still remember the most wonderful fish and chips shop by the bridge. I have passed your website page on to my sisters and friends." (Sharon Paulino)

"Nice to visit 'home'. Also good to see some of the up to date photos. Would be excellent to have a bit of current gossip. I gather there are trials and tribulations about the future of the Corn Exchange, which is falling to pieces.
I was born in Houghton, moved to St Ives in 1964 to live in our brand new house at 25 Fairfields! (Had great fun playing in the surrounding fields and catching newts, before it was all built on and became the rest of the Aimsbury Estate). First school was at the old Victorian school in Pig Lane with Miss Scott (fondly remembered), then on to Westfield (Mr Taylor was Head) and subsequently St Ivo Comprehensive where Mr Clapham was Head.
Now living in Wellington, New Zealand. Working at Wellington Hospital (aka Capital & Coast District Health Board). Fantastic city with great rugby and the occassional visit by a Royal Family member to watch how rugby should be played! (sorry British & Irish Lions!). Wouldn't live anywhere else now, but lovley to see how my home town is fairing. Thanks for your passion for the old place." (Sue Hartley)

"GREAT !!! Love the Oddities. Collect signs myself.....Would you like a sign ( photo of..) from the former station ? ST. IVES / THE BLACK FOREST VIA HARWICH" (Nick Holmes)
Yes please! (PG)

"Excellent insight to a Town which makes a visit so much more interesting. Can you include places to Park please. We have been before, but are meeting friends for August Bank Holiday anything happening like Fireworks or fete's? Thanks" (Paula)
The largest car parks are outside Waitrose (on the left as you drive into town from the south and east) and at the Dolphin Hotel (on the other side of the river - but you can't drive across the bridge). I'm afraid I've no info about local fetes - but wouldn't expect any fireworks! (PG)

"good site I am actually looking for an american serviceman stationed at Alconbury in the early 70s. A great friend of my Fathers and would like to trace him. His name was Robert Bushway, I think he was a Sgt or M/Sgt in the driving school. If anyone can help in the slightest please drop me an e-mail." (Stephen Dartnell,

"the sight was very interesting my daughter and her husband are thinking of moving to the area due to her husbands job" (angela lovell)

"looking for birthplace(Wimpole Park Hosp). Very nice...I will be back to look for more info and you know of another link that might help???..I was very happy to have found you..Thank You.." (Diana Lynn|

"Very interesting, better than official sites" (Richard Chown)

"This site is fantastic! I have lived in St Ives for 6 years and love it and have found out a lot from your website! I notice you have mentioned twice about St Ivo School not having a website, they do now, it is There is also another 2 schools close by in Ramsey who work together called Ailwyn School ( and Ramsey Abbey School( We also now have a few good places to eat in the town centre. The Golden Lion Hotel has recently been refurbished and offers good value for money and a no-smoking area and the Taproom has just opened which is totally no-smoking and has a wide range of food but a little more expensive but is worth it!" (Emma)

"An exellent site. I went to Slepe Hall School between 1945 and 1951 and I was delighted to find someone else who had been there. My first headmistress was Miss Newton who retired after my first year at school. She was replaced by Miss Buckfield. I would love to hear from anyone who was at Slepe Hall school." (Eva Read}

"I found your site when looking for information about England. Very nice and informative. I made a link from my website, so everyone can enjoy it. When placing this link is a problem, please let me know and i will remove it from my site.You can find my webiste at: Greetings from Holland" (Jan Kersten)

"I'm from Spain, and me and my Mother in law would like very much visit this area. We never have been in England. Because your web we are sure we will go someday to Cambridgeshire and of course St. Ives." (Sandra)

"Site excellent and brings back many memories. I lived in St Ives 1969-1970, in the last house on the right before the station. In those days you could get a train into Cambridge. I then moved into Cambridge, but I cannot remember whether this was before or after the station closed. Many years earlier I was born in Huntingdonshire, but grew up elsewhere." (Andrew Belsey)

"love the site. It really takes me back to being 7 years old when I first lived in St. Ives. Nice to see it hasn't changed all that much since I moved away. I spent the happiest years of my life in this small town, I think it's the best kept secret in the world, but that's just me. Thanks for giving me a window into my past, and I will be returning one day." (Michael)

"Very well done! - an excellent informative site" (Marilyn Kenny)

"Good memories. I was married in the free church in 1978. My stay in St. Ives was brief, but very pleasant. We lived in Hemingford Grey for 3 years. We now live in Melbourne, Australia." (Michael Webb)

"I am amazed, but I have not read it all. In the 1930`s living at Ramsey St Marys at the age of 8 I used to cycle to St Ives on my `fairy cycle`to stay with my grandparents in a council house on the Ramsey Road backing on to the playing field where we played with lads from the adjacent garage.They had a 3 wheeler bodyless chassis, Trojan I think,which towed us around on a Shell steel notice board as a surf board. Next door was the caretaker to Slepe Hall school and there was a splended mulberry tree loaded with berries. One teacher,a Miss Peacock was the daughter of my headmaster in RSM primary school. I passed the 11 plus at 9 years and went to Ramsey Grammar. I learned to swim at the timber outside swimming pool in St Ives. I went to your Methodist Chapel Sunday school. My grandfather was a blacksmith, first, I think, near the bridge. He was made redundant about 1933 and then had to`sign-on`every morning at the Labour Exchange and do whatever job he was lucky to be given. Mostly it was coal carting and he came home filthy to the meagre washing facilities.Then they gave him a suitable job, laying the gas main in the Needingworth,Swavesey,Over direction. He had to cross the river in a punt. I believe at this time the back fell out of the Chivers fruit factory. in 1938 the rearmament created a job at Scotneys forging the ironwork for `safety ladders` and Carrymore lorries which had just been invented. I am trying to find out as much as possible about the working years of my grandfather and I wonder if there are any employment records of him at Scotneys." (Robert William Peters)

"very informative" (christine coatsworth)

"really good and usefull site. We are considering moving to St Ives next year to live closer to our son. We have visited St Ives on a few occasions and our time has been used efficiently during such trips due the info gleaned from your site. many thanks" (Neil Banks)

"Interesting, lots of photos, I particularly liked the aerial ones. Good information for a visitor and newcomers to the area." (Pamela Edey)

"Wonderful, keep up the good work." (Andrew Grosset)

Go on to WHAT YOU SAY (8)