Textiles heritage of an ancient fishing village
It is a forgotten chapter in the life of a seaside tourism hotspot famous for its fishing and as being the home to a colony of the twentieth century's most daring artists.
But for decades, St Ives on the tip of West Cornwall, also had a vibrant textile industry which created decades worth of employment for scores of women.
From one factory, a converted pilchard cellar near Porthmeor beach – a site now occupied by pricey, plush apartments – the women created beautiful garments for big name stores.
When war came, the textile workers sewed camouflage nets for the front line and made soldiers' uniforms.
NEW FROM SYMPLY - a wet dog food in a tray freshly steamed with real meat and veg you can see minimum of 68% meat content up to 72% in the adult trays.
Terms: Come and try tray at introductory price of £1
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
Later this month, the St Ives Archive will attempt to recreate those days by bringing together the women who worked in the industry.
Janet Axten, archive manager, said they had played a vital but often forgotten role in St Ives' economy.
"It is very much a hidden history," she said.
"This was an industry that was overwhelmingly staffed by women and girls.
"The men who were there were mainly in management, but most of the workers were women.
"Before these textile factories arrived in St Ives, the only work these women would have had was to do with the fishing industry, so it was an important change.
"They made a huge contribution to the local economy for many years."
St Ives was famously home to prestigious printing company Crysede Textiles, which made breathtakingly beautiful silks, but went bust in 1938.
However, a family connection resulted in the arrival in St Ives of Flawns, a clothing manufacturer established before the turn of the nineteenth century.
The company's London clothing factory was pummelled by German bombers during the Blitz in 1940 and as a result boss Charles Flawn decided the business needed to moved to the safety of the countryside.
He cast his eye outside London and decided his factory would be less likely to be disrupted if it moved to St Ives where his brother had enjoyed a business link with Crysede.
By 1959 there were 86 local workers employed in the factory, as well as 12 outside workers before it closed in 1963.
Flawns, which was later part of the John Lewis partnership, was not the only textile working out of the Downalong area of closely packed fishermen's cottages in St Ives. Companies such as Hamptons, Berketex and Fryers also thrived for decades.
By the 1970s, tourism was starting to dominate the economy and all traces of the industry were removed from the centre of St Ives, to newly built industrial premises on the outskirts.
Meanwhile, the previously tightly packed cellars were demolished to make way for luxury apartments.
The contribution of those textile workers will be celebrated on Friday, October 25, at the Western Hotel, Royal Square, St Ives, between 11am and 3pm.
It is hoped that former employees of the textile factories in St Ives will come and see an array of photos and join in a special trip down memory lane.
One of the key events will be an opportunity for everyone to assist in the making of a camouflage net of memories.
Mrs Axten said they too played a part in the history of St Ives.
"These nets were originally made at home, during the war, by young women and children, based on the nets that were made by their fishermen relatives.
"Camouflage nets had strips of material inserted into them, or scrimmed, so that they could be draped over objects that needed to be hidden from the air."
The events of the day will be filmed and join the ongoing collection at St Ives Archive.