Volunteers’ Week: Meet the St Ives Archive Team

This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), St Ives Archive is celebrating their amazing volunteers without whom we would not be able to do the important heritage work that we do. While every day is Volunteers’ Day to us, we are excited to share our endless appreciation for everything that they do with the wider community.

From our longest-serving volunteer, Elaine, to our youngest volunteer, Grace, please meet some of the team below and read about their local history interests and types of projects they help bring to life at the Archive.


Ethan has been a volunteer for 7 months and really enjoys learning about St Ives artists and art history. He loves looking through the photo archive and seeing how much the town has changed through the years. He says it’s given him a perspective he’d never have had otherwise. Most recently he loved accessioning the work of Clare White, renowned St Ives painter who designed the Arts Club posters in the 1950s and ’60s (White also became the first female President of the St Ives Arts Club in 1954). Ethan says, “It felt as though I really got to know her even though I’d never met her.”


Elaine has been with the St Ives Archive for about 25 years now and wishes she had more time to dedicate to it, like story writing about local people. A few years ago she asked members of the local community about their by-gone-days etc, and it would be so nice to record their thoughts again on things if they didn’t mind. Elaine adds: “I won’t be here myself for that long but could write about things I remember still. When we were in St Ives, Virginia (Elaine’s friend and co-volunteer) and I used to get together older men and record their family stories.” Elaine enjoys researching family history when she’s at the Archive.


A volunteer at the Archive for 5 years, Wendy likes learning about the social history of St Ives. In addition to organising events and creating historical displays, Wendy is currently doing an audit of the Archival boxes. She says, “It is a privilege to handle original resources and to help keep them in a safe condition for the future.”


Chris has been a volunteer for 4 and 1/2 years and is knowledgable about many aspects of St Ives history and heritage. More specifically, Chris enjoys researching local buildings and recently wrote A Short History of Brush End School, which is available for purchase on our online shop.


Joining the Archive in the summer of 2022, Grace volunteers during the school holidays. She loves the ability to see how the town has visually changed over time through: architecture, the different businesses that inhabit the shops and the town’s industries, and what this can tell us about that particular period in St Ives history. Grace also likes researching St Ives’ rich art history and in particular the works which were influenced by the Cornish landscape. She adds: “I enjoyed my first research project on the history of the Leach pottery,  Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. This was something I had always found greatly interesting and was able to develop at the Archive.”


A volunteer for 13 years, Penny has contributed to many Archive projects since joining the team. At the moment, she especially enjoys researching the history of old houses in St Ives and has most recently been learning about Trewyn House. Some of her favourite projects she’s worked on spotlight artists who have called St Ives home like painter Bryan Pearce.


Beth became a volunteer in January 2023 and has quickly realised, like most, that there are too many interesting aspects of St Ives history to mention in one go. She finds it fascinating how the town has developed over time – the people, buildings, artists, etc. – and enjoyed learning about the life of John Passmore Edwards when creating a display for the bicentenary of his birth.


Originally drawn to the Archive’s photos on Instagram, Celeste first started volunteering in October 2021. She loves looking through old photographs of the town and sharing them on the Archive’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Celeste also helped redesign our website last year and this April, she organised and put on the first Secret Photo Show at Harbour View House.

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers for everything that you do! We are infinitely grateful for your time, passion and dedication. Here’s to you!

To find out more about volunteering at the Archive and how to join the team, please email There are many ways you can get involved and contribute to preserving the remarkable heritage of St Ives.

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