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Photographs courtesy of St Ives Archive

In partnership with St Ives Archive, filmmaker Barbara Santi, of West Cornwall-based Awen Productions, will be running a year-long heritage project collecting, preserving, and celebrating stories of the fishermen’s lodges in St Ives, and the fishing industry at the turn of the last century.

Awen is a community interest company, and the project is supported by Heritage Fund, Awards for All, Cornwall Heritage Trust, Feast, and Cornwall Community Foundation. As Barbara explains: “The lodges are part of old St Ives — within them is held the vanishing history of the town that has experienced great change spanning over a century. Our project will collect the memories and stories of people who have had, and still have, a connection with the lodges, the sea, and the fishing industry of St Ives.”

Part of the project is also to digitise reel-to-reel oral tape recordings that were given to St Ives Archive by local GP Dr Roger Slack 20 years ago. These unique recordings, many of which were made in the 1960s and 1970s, and are in great need of preservation, capture fascinating memories of the town from people who remember what St Ives was like as far back as the late 19th century. 

The project will create a lasting record, which will be held at St Ives Archive, as well as a documentary film. A variety of events will be held throughout the year, offering opportunities for volunteers interested in getting involved. “We are particularly interested in hearing from people who would like to listen to recordings and transcribe or summarise interviews which give a fascinating insight into the town’s past,” says Barbara.

Janet Axten, heritage manager of St Ives Archive, says: “St Ives Archive is very pleased to be working with Barbara Santi on this important project. As the years pass, it is vital to collect the memories of those who have been involved in the fishing industry.

“By making available and adding to the wealth of written and photographic resources collected over the years by the Archive, a far more complete picture of the people and places connected with all aspects of fishing will be available to future generations.”

Barbara is keen to hear from anyone who has had a connection with the lodges, or whose ancestors were fishermen who used them as a shelter. To keep in touch with the project and receive regular newsletters, contact barbara@awen.org.uk.