A secret beach


The picture is an aerial view of St. Ives with the beaches indicated. Porthminster Beach is to the east and has a very good beach restaurant/café. The name means “endowed church cove”. Porthmeor (“great cove”) is a favourite for surfers. Porthgwidden (“white/fair cove”) also has an excellent beach café. Clodgy(“lazar house”) Point Beach is a bit of a hike from the centre of town. Harbour Beach and Lambeth Walk Beach are self-explanatory, but…

Bamalûz (that’s how the name is spelled on the Ordnance Survey map) Beach is a mystery. Apparently, it is called “the secret beach” locally and is only accessible at low tide. Try as I might, I can’t find an explanation of the name. The lûz bit looks as if it is the Cornish word for “grey”, which in Kernewek Kemmyn spelling is loes. What the rest of the word is, I have no idea.

3 thoughts on “A secret beach

  1. John, I keep coming back to look at this one. In the late 1980s we were standing at the end of the shorter harbour jetty late one evening, along with half a dozen elderly local fishermen, in a full gale, watching a yacht make numerous futile attempts to enter the harbour. The men had plenty of advice, that the skipper never heard. The yacht finally gave up and disappeared out to sea again. I can see now that a 90 degree turn was necessary to enter the harbour itself.

    I didn’t see that Lambeth Walk beach had a self-explanatory name. So away to Wikipedia for a new learning experience. It was indeed said to be named after the popular song and dance, but not when and why. Nor did I know the song was as recent as 1938. Or that the Ministry of Information did a propaganda film, doctoring nazi parades to make Hitler and the SS do the Lambeth Walk. Finally, You-tube had a 1938 recordimg of Gracie Fields singing the L W, with talk in her native Rochdale accent, and singing in an occasionally rhotic cockney.

  2. Thanks, Sidney. By self-explanatory I suppose I meant that the literal meaning of Lambeth Walk was evident compared to that of Porthgwidden etc.
    I now have two totally unsubstantiated hypotheses about Bamalûz. One is that the “bama” bit is a pared down version of “bal maen” — which would mean the name means “grey rock mine”. The other is that the first element is a corruption of, or mistake for, the word “banna” meaning “heights”. Both hypotheses were prompted by suggestions from my friend JDL.

  3. Thank you for your reply as I looked for the meaning of Bamaluz for years and joining love St Ives thought I would ask the question, I have a very inquiring mind , possibly a bit anal sometimes but always looking to learn from people with greater knowledge
    Thanks again Alan,
    Am back in St Ives 14thoct my 50th year this year love St Ives its people and history regards, Alan.

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