Porthmeor Renovation Project

Prolonged exposure to the harsh marine environment had taken its toll on the building, and by 2005 it was extremely fragile and in urgent need of major repairs. The slate roof in particular was causing great concern and more holes appear with every gale, and it was placed on the English Heritage ‘Building at Risk’ register.

Funding from the Arts Lottery Programme enabled award winning architects, Long & Kentish, to design a scheme to repair and renovate the building sympathetically without significantly altering its unique character. English Heritage described this as “an exemplary demonstration of how a high quality contemporary solution can unlock the potential of a complex historic site”.

pdf1 Click to download the architect’s report which provides a fascinating account of the project.

pdf2 Click to download the Porthmeor Studios building case study for BREEAM


The total costs of this renovation were £4.1 million, but this was a very complex project to fund. Despite the early provisional allocation of £1.215 million from the Arts Lottery Capital programme and much interest from other funders, no other funding was actually forthcoming. Fortunately a successful £900k application to the Sea Change programme provided the necessary momentum to re-ignite interest from the other funders, and the remaining funding was secured in 2010 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, ERDF Convergence, English Heritage, European Fisheries Fund and Cornwall Council. In addition, a local fundraising appeal raised over £70k, an amazing target for such a small community, and over £100k from charitable Trusts and Foundations.

Local contractors Symons Construction were appointed to carry out the renovations, and construction work started in October 2010 and was completed in October 2012. The building now offers upgraded and high quality workspace for artists, fishermen and the St Ives School of Painting.

As the project developed and research started to reveal more about the fascinating heritage of this important building, it has provided the Trust with an exceptional opportunity to develop a programme of talks, events and workshops based on fishing and art. Some of these activities have been trialled over the past few years during the St Ives September Festival, and this has given the Trust some idea of demand for this public programme and will help it with its future plans.



Considerate Constructors Award Scheme 2013 – Silver

Cornwall Buildings Group 2013 – Joint Winner

National Lottery Awards 2013 – Finalist

English Heritage Angel Awards 2013 - Finalist

Civic Trust Community Recognition Award

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): Regional Award and Regional Conservation Award

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS): Regional Project of the Year, Regional Building Conservation Award, and shortlisted for Community Benefit and Regeneration Awards


We gratefully acknowledge our funders: