On this Day 7th January 1835

St Ives hails Halse again

James Halse was MP for St Ives between 1826 and 1838, a period which saw six general elections  and the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832. He lost the seat briefly at the August 1830 election but regained it the next year in July 1831. He was elected for the 4th time on January 7th 1835.

Halse is probably best remembered for building the mining village of Halsetown for his workforce from St Ives Consols mine. Halsetown was, for Cornwall, an unusual venture which resembled the colliery villages of the north England in so far as it provided tied cottages to employees. It's a village planned in the light of Robert Owen's New Lanark and as such forward looking. Halse made a fortune from mining in a time when competition was pretty cut-throat, bankruptcies common and regulation non-existent. It's not surprising therefore that his establishment of Halsetown has been seen by some as a cynical ploy to establish a secure electoral base in the face of the 1832 electoral reform legislation. The franchise was widened and the male householders of Halsetown now had a vote but it would be perilous to use it against against their landlord and employer. By 1841 there were 86 households in Halsetown providing James Halse with a secure political base while his mining investments in Wheel Reeth and St Ives Consols, together with other mines such as Boscaswell Downs in St Just, provided a secure financial base. 


Industrial Village to Peaceful Hamlet: Halsetown Homes 1832-1950 by Jenny Dearlove in Homes and Households in West Cornwall 1550-1950, Penwith Local History Group, 2010

James Halse: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/halse-james-1769-1838

Specifically local details of the St Ives elections and other local affairs can be found in the diary of John Tregarthen Short of St Ives. The diary is a fantastic source of information of St Ives from the 1820s to 1870 and can be downloaded from https://archive.org/details/prisonersofwarin00shoriala






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Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

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