St Leonard’s Chapel at the entrance to Smeatons Pier is traditionally known as the fishermen’s chapel.
This small stone Chapel is of a similar construction to St Nicholas Chapel which is situated on the Island.
We do not have an exact date for the construction of the Chapel, but records of repairs have been found and these date from 1577.
The Chapel was more than likely used for quiet contemplation and prayers before embarking out to sea, as well as being a good source of shelter in inclement weather. In 1971, the Chapel was renovated and opened as a museum and a memorial to the fishermen of St Ives.
In 2015, renowned studio potter, Jack Doherty – famous for his vessels made of soda-fired porcelain, exhibited some of his works at various historic sites (with strong connections to the fishing community) in St Ives. St Leonard’s Chapel was one such site. Jack’s exhibition entitled ‘Waypoint’ , featuring his porcelain vessels, took the viewer on a physical and emotional journey through the history of the local fishing community. His distinctive and beautiful pots were also featured at St Nicholas Chapel, the New Craftsman Gallery and Rose Lodge on the Wharf.
Please take a look at this link featuring the ‘Waypoint’ exhibition.