St Ives once had its very own shipping company called The Hain Line. From the 1850s, Captain Edward Hain, who was from a long line of local fishermen, built up a small fleet of sailing ships. The company later switched from sail to steam and expanded rapidly. During 1906–c1930, these premises were the Hain Shipping Office and then the Hain Estate Office. The building later became part of Curnow’s Hotel and then a nightclub, in 1978.
Text about The Hain Line.
The text reads: These premises were once the offices of the Hain Steamship Company. The Hain family had lived in this area since at least 1577, but the origin of the Hain Line goes back to 1816 when they acquired a part share in the fishing lugger Dasher. In 1838 they purchased the schooner Camilla and began trading with Mediterranean ports delivering cargoes of cured fish and returning with Greek and Turkish dried fruit.
The acquisition of the schooner Mystery in 1850 meant Edward Hain I and his grandson (also Edward) could trade in West Indian sugar and Brazilian coffee.
Edward Hain IV was born in December 1851. He worked for Bolitho’s bank and then a tea merchant, where he realised that the future lay in steam, not sail. Back in St Ives in 1878, and financed by Bolitho’s bank (the forerunner of Barclays), he placed his first order with the shipyard of John Readhead & Co at South Shields. The ship was named Trewidden in honour of the Bolitho estate outside Penzance. It was the first of 87 ships Readheads built for Hain, all with the prefix ‘Tre’ (a Cornish word for farmstead). The second ship built was the Tregenna. Edward IV was later knighted for his ‘services to shipping’ – he was also MP for St Ives and High Sherriff of Cornwall.
The company’s offices were at first in old Manor House, Green Court (later Tregenna Place). They moved to this little site in 1906. A few years after Sir Edward’s death in 1917 the company’s offices moved to Cardiff. These premises became the Hain Estate Office, until around 1930. It later became part of Curnow’s Hotel and was converted into a nightclub in 1978.
In the year Sir Edward Hain died, the Hain Steamship Company was purchased by P&O. In 1965 it was renamed Hain-Nourse Ltd and took on the management of P&O’s bulk carriers. Hain-Nourse owned ships were re-registered under the P&O name in 1972, and the company was ultimately renamed P&O Ferries Ltd in 1978.
A portrait of Sir Edward Hain IV.
External photograph of the building – main entrance.
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