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Tourist Guide Intro to St Ives Cornwall

St Ives is a small town in the far west of Cornwall, a sunny county in the far southwest of the United Kingdom warmed by the gulf stream. Subtropical climate, fine sandy beaches and surf, and leading artists living and working here have made St Ives into a popular holiday destination, and a culture capital of international status. Visitors can stroll easily from beach to hotel to gallery to concert, or just sit beneath palm trees enjoying the fine light that is unique to this special region.

The town offers the tourist a full range of modern, affordable activities and facilities, including swimming, sport, golf, surf instruction and art classes, coastal tours, boutique shopping and even fishing. Frequent festivals make the town an entertainment hub and an active home of the arts, with up to date dining and accommodation.

St Ives was traditionally a fishing port, and in the 5th century the Irish missionary Saint Eia sailed here across the Irish Sea in her coracle, giving her name to the town and its surviving 15th church of St Ia. Pilchard fishing declined in the nineteenth century when the pilchards stopped coming to be caught, but railways arrived, and with them came tourists, and the possibility of shipping out fresh flowers grown in Cornwall's mild climate.

Famous artists such as Sickert and Whistler began to come, following a nineteenth century fashion for heroic paintings of rustic fishermen, often exemplified by the Penzance area Newlyn School painters. To this day fishing is in fact statistically one of the UK's most dangerous occupations. The artists found fine light here, and in the twentieth century new trends in art made St Ives for a time the avante garde home of a leading subspecies of Abstract Expressionism referred to as the St Ives School. In the postwar leisure era St Ives became a mecca for Beatniks and later Hippies, even attracting a visit from the Beatles and more recently David Bowie.

In 1993 a disused gasworks building above a seafront surfing beach was tastefully converted to create a local branch of the famous Tate Gallery of London and Liverpool. The award-winning new gallery showcases recent and some contemporary art and has been wildly successful, attracting a whole new wave of tourists and culture lovers to the town, and lifting the local economy.

Cornwall is a Celtic region, in common with Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, and the Cantabrian north coast of Spain. The Cornish language is still used on signs and in place names, but rarely spoken, having slowly declined in use after England annexed Cornwall in the 11th century. Older residents retain a distinctive Cornish accent and employ local expressions such as "proper job", or "dreckly" for "directly" which is similar to the Spanish "maƱana" meaning "there is no hurry", or "when I get around to it". You can still hear older Cornish people of both sexes addressing complete strangers in shops as "my luvver", for "my lover", actually a polite and friendly term of address, not an invitation. Some also believe that King Arthur's Court was in Cornwall, possibly at Tintagel, and ask whether the Holy Grail was in fact hidden in an abandoned tin mine in Cornwall. Old unknown mines regularly collapse in Cornwall, forcing house evacuations and affecting mortgages.

West Cornwall features an unusually large number of ancient stones and stone circles, and the pagan religion is very active here in the present day, despite Christian evangelisers often having built on top of established pagan sacred sites. Local foods include the Cornish Pasty, Saffron Bread, Clotted Cream, Heavy Cake, Stargazey Pie, and fresh fish. Local crops include cauliflower, often referred to locally as "broccoli", potatoes, and daffodils. Local industries are farming, fishing, hospitality and tourism, arts and crafts, surfing, and new digital media.

The traditional tin mining, practiced since Roman times, is now largely discontinued due to low global price levels for this commodity. Large abandoned granite Engine Houses with very tall chimneys, which once housed steam pumps that were used to remove water from the mines, are a frequent and lonely sight in Cornwall.

As the area of the UK receiving the largest amount of sun per year, Cornwall is well-suited to solar power development, as well as wave and wind energy. Recent infrastructure investments in Superfast Broadband are promising to give Cornwall by far the fastest internet speeds in the United Kingdom, raising Cornwall's status as the creative Digitial Peninsula.

There is an elected St Ives Town Council but it has little power, as the finances, planning and decision making powers for the area are in the hands of Cornwall Council, located in Truro some forty miles away. The UK is a highly centralised state with little scope for local taxation or initiatives, leaving Cornwall at about 70% of the economic level of the rest of the UK and so previously receiving the special EU Objective One funding for the economic and cultural development of relatively impoverished regions. The EU funded Cornwall's unique Superfast Broadband project, making 70MB+ fibre broadband available to 95%+ of homes

As 58% of those in Cornwall who voted in the 2016 Referendum voted to leave the EU, Cornwall faces a return to the neglect and poverty of the past, making this fastest-connected part of the country a slowly declining retirement graveyard for those with backward-looking imperial illusions