The settlement at Hugh Town began to grow in the sixteenth century along the base of the headland originally known as The Hugh, from the Cornish ugh meaning high, on which Elizabeth I had built the Star Castle. This headland is now always referred to as The Garrison.
It gradually expanded along the narrow sandbar joining the Garrison to the main island of St Mary's, and up the hills on the other side, taking over from Old Town as the major settlement on the Islands.
It is now the 'capital' of the islands and the only substantial town. Hugh Town harbour has the only quay capable of taking boats the size of the Scillonian III, and is the hub from which the off-island ferry services run.
It has the islands only supermarket (a Co-op) as well as the hospital, the main school buildings and the Police Station.
As for the future, if sea levels continue to rise, Hugh Town is going to be in trouble; many of the older buildings are only a few feet above sea-level.
Catch it whilst you can, before the Garrison becomes a separate island from the rest of St Mary's linked only by a tidal causeway.
Originally built as windmill in 1834 to replace the earlier an earlier one on Peninnis Head, it was restored in 1911 as a memorial to the King Edward VII's visit to the islands. It stands on a kerbed platform which probably incorporates the remains of a Bronze Agecairn excavated by William Borlase during the 18th century.
The lifeboat no longer lives in St Mary's Lifeboat Station. The Whitheads, a modern Severn Class boat, is moored out in the bay and the lifeboat station is used to house the RIB they use to get out to it.
Perched on the end of the rocky outcrop known as Carn Thomas, the station is generally open to the public, subject to operational considerations.
There are the usual set of boards recording the many rescues carried out by the St Mary's crews, which have resulted in them receiving fifty-six awards for gallantry. There is also a small display of model lifeboats and other bits and pieces.
The Isles of Scilly Museum is the Scilly's only indoor attraction to speak of, and gets very busy when it's raining.
Fortunately there is plenty to see, as the place is crammed from floor to ceiling with displays on every conceivable aspect of Scilly life.
Well worth a visit, but, if truth be told, they could do with a bit more space - or fewer exhibits.
External Links and References
Isles of Scilly Museum
Mentions admission charges under 'Membership' but not opening hours. In 2012 they were April to September 1000-1200 & 1330-1630, plus 1930-2100 May to September only. https://www.iosmuseum.org/