Ships Loft Cottage and the Evolution of St Ives

Amongst our multitude of properties with historical importance sits Ships Loft, a charming little cottage in Downalong, St Ives. Modernised now, this property boasts an impressive history within our quaint seaside town and is linked directly with the evolution of life in St Ives. We do imagine that if walls could talk, Ships Loft’s would have an awful lot of stories to tell…

The Cottage

Just a few minutes’ walk to Porthmeor, the surf beach, Porthgwidden, the beach overlooking St Ives Bay  and the Harbour beach, Ships Loft is ideally situated in Downalong. With one king-size room, one double room and bespoke top-to-toe bunk beds for four little ones, the cottage is perfect for family getaways. With modern décor throughout, LCD televisions in the living room and bedrooms and high quality facilities, Ships Loft does seem to be worlds away from its life as a fisherman’s cottage. This itself shows how times have moved on in St Ives; as the world turns we do the same. Yet, it’s hard not to consider how much life has changed as you walk through the rooms of this beautiful property, imagining the families who resided here many, many years before.

The History

Ships Loft shows perfectly how the culture of fishing drifted into a world of art that St Ives is now renowned for. The handprints of those who have passed through seem almost visible on its walls, from the fishermen who lived in a time so different to ours to artists who paved the way into the modern world.

Of course, the original purpose of the home was for fishermen, so there are a few reminders of life long ago in St Ives. However, it wasn’t long before the community began to change and the house along with it.

In 1948, the short film ‘Another World’ was released, documenting the colourful life that St Ives had to offer. Our very own Ship’s Loft was featured on the programme, solidifying its place in the world of St Ives’ art culture. There’s a lot more on offer in St Ives than the sea and history, and Ship’s Loft is a reminder of how it all ties together.

Art in St Ives

As the fishing industry faded out, there was a time of overlap where art began to gain prominence whilst the fishmongers were still a solid part of our community. Now, fishing is far less a part of St Ives as it was 100 years ago and art has arguably taken its place. The Ships Loft is a perfect venue for those interested in both sides of St Ives.

After WW11, St Ives become the centre of modern art, attracting the likes of Barbara Hepworth to our shores – one of the greatest modernist sculptors of the last century. St Ives School of painting was opened in 1938 and flourished after the war, still thriving today and a prominent establishment in the community. The Leach Pottery, a trust based in St Ives, also works to promote the Cornish art culture and to teachings of Bernard Leach, a man regarded as the leader of British studio pottery who worked right here in our town.

Many artists appreciate the beautiful light and scenery on offer and some simply enjoy the peace of working out here amongst friendly faces and wide, open spaces. Whatever the reasons, art has become of great significance here in St Ives and has been shaped over time as fishing died out.

Ships Loft is the perfect place to stay in St Ives as it has been a part of it for so long. From its arrival as a fisherman’s cottage to its appearance in Another World and even its stylishly refurbished interior, it’s representative of the continual movement of St Ives and a reminder of our extraordinary past.

If you’re interested in booking a stay in the Ships Loft – then here’s a link to it on the Cherished Cottages website: Ships Loft Holiday Cottage.

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