Previously called Slepe, its name was changed to St Ives after the body of a Persian Bishop, Saint Ivo, was found buried in the town. For the past 1000 years it has been home to some of the biggest markets in the country. Modern markets have, however, been dwindling.
Built on the banks of the wide, fast-flowing River Great Ouse between Huntingdon and Ely, St Ives has a famous chapel on its bridge. In recent years, St Ives has been the victim of severe yearly flooding during winter. However, property development on the main flood plain continues, risking more severe floods in the future.
St Ives has one main secondary school (St. Ivo), 3 primary schools (Thorndown, Wheatfields and Westfield, which was recently named outstanding by Ofsted), 1 fire station, 1 police station and 1 bus station shared between a population of around 15,000 in 1991. There used to be a train between St Ives and Cambridge, but this closed during the 20th century.
St Ives is most famous for the riddle: