A planning application has been submitted to place an 8ft bronze statue in St Ives to honour the hundreds of fishing folk who have lived and worked in the town.

The Mariners’ Memorial, designed by renowned local sculptor Tom Leaper, will overlook St Ives Bay if approved.

In 1844 a total of 400 pilchard fishing boats operated from the port of St Ives employing 735 fishermen, with a further 100 engaged in other types of fishing. In order to accommodate this huge fishing fleet, a series of earlier improvements to the harbour were made including the construction of Smeaton’s Pier in 1770.

It is now hoped the memorial will be placed on the terrace known as The Castle at the end of Smeaton’s Pier, becoming a landmark destination in the town.

The St Ives Mariners’ Memorial Group was formed last year with the objective of constructing a memorial to celebrate the town’s maritime heritage.

After months of preparation, consultation and the analysis of different potential sites around the town, final designs have now been submitted to Cornwall Council’s planning department.

Mr Leaper, a member of the Penwith Society of Artists, initially produced a clay model of the memorial to help the group visualise the sculpture and has now made a series of miniatures, which are being sold to raise funds for the final full-sized memorial.

A maquette of the limited edition bronzes which are being sold by the statue\'s designer Tom Leaper (Pic: Tom Leaper) ( )

The memorial group said: “Our mission is to celebrate the heritage of the St Ives fishing community and those who lived and worked in St Ives and district, and still do, by erecting a bronze statue to honour them.

The planned statue will be of two pilchard fishermen ‘tucking the net’ to bring a catch in on board from a seine net.

“The memorial will inform and educate and reinvigorate a sense of community for local people, children and youths about their heritage.

Planned activities will include educational tours, projects in education for history, written and artistic interpretations, music, song and dance. This will help to bring together those who may feel disenfranchised in the community of St Ives.”

They added: “The memorial will hopefully increase the footfall of visitors and locals on heritage trails through St Ives and district. It will celebrate the history, art and culture of the maritime and fishing community, the industry and the men and women who lived it; craftsmen and women from carpenters, seamstresses to sail makers.”

The Cornwall Harbours’ Board, which owns the land, approved the project at its last meeting.

For more details see application PA24/02363 on Cornwall Council’s planning portal: planning.cornwall.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=SARCKUFGFZF00&activeTab=summary

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