The Civic Society of St Ives was founded over 40 years ago to preserve Hemingford Meadow from a planned by-pass of the town.

The action was successful, the meadow preserved and the by-pass routed along what we now know as Harrison Way. A bit later we became a Registered Charity.

Now, in 2012, we have over 500 members and are very active in preserving and conserving the Historic Market Town of St Ives. That said, we are not “Nimbys” and recognise that essential change must take place. To that end we participate in the Planning Process but also reserve the right (and have the funds to back it) to oppose such decisions that jeopardise the history and culture of the town. However, we prefer co-operation and constructive debate to confrontation.

In the last year we have finished work on refurbishing the town’s War Memorial by having the names of the Fallen refreshed by a leading national mason. The £3,000 needed for this work was raised by public donations in a very short time. We have also completed (in co-operation with the Town Council) the mounting of a series of Historic Plaques and Information Boards which enable visitors to learn something of the town’s history.

Earlier in the year we joined forces with Michael Purchas (businessman and owner of the Golden Lion Hotel) top make a bid for Mary Portas funding. The case was made to link Heritage with Retail – you can see the video on You Tube (go to Portas Pilot Bids). Although highly recommended, we did not win but the ensuing benefits have been most welcome. They include a £10,000 grant from Central Government, free membership of the Association of Town Centre Management and a free website plus maintenance for 5 years. All this should help the Town Team and Town Plan take the town forward with confidence.

We have also kept a close eye on the Jewel in St Ives Crown – the old bridge and chapel of St Leger. The County Council has been superb in reacting to requests for refurbishment and thus preservation of this historic site. The County Council have also exceeded all expectations in the refurbishment of the New Bridge Arches – work has been accelerated and the end results look most attractive. We maintain close links with the County’s Bridges Department and with the District’s Conservation Team.

Finally, we are currently engaged in positive debate on the Town Plan and the St Ives West development proposals. So if you thought the Civic Society was an inward looking talk shop, then ponder anew as we are very active within the community. Try going to our website (www.stivescivic.org.uk) or, better still, why not join us (application form on the website) for only £7 per year (Individual) or £12 per Household. We have monthly Speakers from September to May and organise a couple of outings per year.

2013 promises to be another busy year. We may well branch out into archaeology and also start on Book of Remembrance to commemorate the start of World War 1 in 1914.