By Janet Harris, St Ives Archive

As we all know, St Ives Harbour is tidal, so the fishermen of old had to spend a lot of time waiting for the tide to come in before they could set sail. To avoid them having to spend hours waiting, possibly in the cold or rain, shelters — known as ‘lodges’ — were built along the Wharf and out to Smeaton’s Pier.

Originally there were five fishermen’s lodges. Dominoes and cards were played to while away the hours, but never for money. I understand that swearing was strictly forbidden in the shelters — and I believe there is still a swear box in the Shore Shelter Lodge!

In 1931, One and All Lodge, which was situated in front of the Fishermen’s Co-op (the white building in the centre of the photograph below), was undermined by an abnormally high tide and heavy ground sea. It eventually collapsed and was abandoned.

Bayview Lodge was at the back of the breakwater until approximately 1970, when it was badly damaged by a storm and left to fall into ruin. Shamrock Lodge is a tiny hut on one side of the slipway, in front of the Sloop, and Shore Lodge is above the slipway. The walls of all three lodges are covered with wonderful photographs of the old way of life in St Ives. Happily, permission was given by the current lodge members for all these photographs to be copied. The copies are kept safely here in the Archive, and you are welcome to call in and view them.

Rose Lodge was originally situated at the bottom of Court Cocking. Before the First World War, Wharf Road didn’t exist. The beach came right up to where the shops are now, and the boats were drawn up almost to the top of the beach. In 1917, due to the proposed construction of the roadway along the Wharf, it became necessary for Rose Lodge to be moved next to Shore Lodge. Sir Edward Hain, a great benefactor to the town, provided the money for this, and bequeathed £300 for the future upkeep of all the lodges. In 1996, St Ives Town Council still owned the land on which the lodges were built and charged a ground rent of 5p a year!

No women were allowed in the lodges, but flags were flown when any of their daughters got married. A tradition still adhered to is that death notices of local people are displayed on the outside of Shore Shelter Lodge.

One piece of fascinating information found in the Archive files is that the floors of the shelters were at one time covered with sand rather than carpet or sawdust, and the sand was brought over from Porthmeor Beach, as Porthmeor sand was considered better quality than the harbour sand. Looking at the above photograph of the fish laid out for sale in the harbour, I can quite understand why!

St Ives Archive

St Ives Archive’s Research Centre is based at Wesley Methodist Church, St Ives Road, Carbis Bay, St Ives, TR26 2SF. It is open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 2pm. For more information, phone 01736 796408, e-mail, or visit

The Archive opened in 1996 and is staffed by volunteers. We are always looking for people to join our enthusiastic team — there are opportunities to learn new skills, carry out research, assist visitors, and take part in fundraising events. We offer a valuable service for anyone wishing to obtain historic information about the town, free of charge. The Archive holds over 20,000 photographs and numerous documents covering fascinating subjects such as art, maritime heritage, tourism, and traditional customs, and we also have extensive resources relating to the history of St Ives families.