St Ives pilchard fishermen statue to be built

A memorial statue to St Ives’ pilchard fishermen has been given approval to be constructed in St Ives Bay. This reflects a general acknowledgement and re-recognition of St Ives’ dynamic history and culture. 

The statue will be called “tucking the net” and will be an homage to the fishing industry. 

Where did the idea come from? 

Local residents have proposed the idea to the Cornwall Harbours Board, who approved the project and hired Tom Leaper to do the work. 

The idea was to celebrate more of the town’s history and to encourage locals and tourists alike to take in the rich history and heritage of St Ives. 

The statue will be erected at the Castle on Smeaton’s Pier on St Ives harbour. 

Why St Ives? 

Elevated views of the popular seaside resort of St. Ives, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, Europe

St Ives is one of the most popular towns to visit in Cornwall (see a full list of them here).

From 1840 to 1900, St Ives had nearly 300 fishing boats and was the country’s fourth-largest port. In fact, in 1905, fishers once caught 13 million pilchards in one day!

As the fishing trade has changed over the years, small towns like St Ives have had less involvement in the industry. Nowadays, the fishing trade in South West England is focused on larger hubs like Newlyn and Brixham. 

Nowadays, tourism is the main industry of Cornwall and St Ives is one of the most visited towns in the region. So, it’s ever-more important to showcase its rich fishing heritage. 

How will it be built? 

The sculptor will use images of fishermen from the pilchard fishing heyday to construct the statue. 

It will cost £70,000 to be built, and the plan is to sell some other statues to save up some of this money. Some people in town, including Harbours Board Chairman Loic Rich, have pledged to donate an amount to the statue. 

Hopefully, this is the start of more recognition of the historic fishing industry in St Ives and elsewhere in the region, along with how it helped to shape Cornwall and Devon.

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