Photo courtesy St Ives Archive
James Halse who was a lawyer and wealthy businessman, built Halsetown village in the 1830s. It was described as “England’s first garden city”. The village was built to house the miners who worked in the mines of which he was an adventurer, namely nearby Wheal Reeth & Consols although he was an adventurer in several mines including the St Just area. This bought him considerable wealth. He was also an MP for the area and lived in Fern Lea Terrace, St Ives: The property which is now Chellews Solicitors office.
The miners who lived in the cottages at Halsetown were expected to vote for him at election time and if they did not, they could have been without a home and without a job. Up until the 1870s, voting was not a secret ballot so he knew who had voted for him!
When he died, the village passed on to his son and eventually was sold to the ancestors of the trustees of the village as I knew them as I was growing up.
Halsetown Carnival was started in the early 1950s and if I remember correctly by the Halsetown Women’s Institute. The WI at that time held their meetings in the Mens Institute and they needed to raise funds to provide their own building. The Carnival of course had a Queen and attendants and was a very jolly affair which was well supported by the village & surrounding areas including St. Ives with many floats and walkers taking part.
At Carnival time, Halsetown would have a Mock Mayor and corporation and this August body would be made up of the characters from the village who would dress in suitable attire. They would congregate in the Halsetown Inn and when suitably imbibed, would come out on to the steps of the Inn where the Mock Mayor would deliver his humerous speech to the crowd of several hundred people. I remember the Mock Mayor being Mr. Wallace Jury Curnow and the speech was written by Mr. William Pearce. After the Carnival had concluded, a dance was held in the Mens Institute.
Halsetown, as I remember it growing up in the 1940s and 50s was a thriving community with a school, two shops and Post Office. It also had a very busy Steam Laundry where both my parents were employed – my father being the boiler man and my mother the manageress. The Chapel was very active and had a choir, there was a well supported cricket club and Mens and Womens Institutes.
It has been a couple years since the village has come together to have a “bit of a do”. The last time being in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Inspired by the current management at the Halsetown Inn, a committee was formed in February, 2014 and the plan of holding a summer fete beginning again in 2014 was hatched!”
Thank you to Terry Nankervis for the above narrative on our wonderful village.