Newsletter November 2021

Updates from work in the Heritage Hub, recent events, achievements and new projects!

Bishopsteignton School Reunion

20th November 2021

Our School Reunion Tea last week was extremely well attended and a great success in every way! With former pupils who went to school in Bishopsteignton from the 1940s to the 1970s we were so privileged to hear stories from a range of eras.

Tea and lovely cakes were homemade and served by our amazing Trustees, helping to keep us going from 2pm til 4pm telling stories, sharing memories and picking out old friends from class photos.

One of the goals for this event was to get in touch with some of the people who perhaps have moved away from Bishopsteignton but still retain memories and stories from their time at school in the village.

So a big thank you must go to those who travelled to Bishopsteignton from further afield to gather at the former school-turned-Community Centre, your involvement is so important for telling the story of the village!

Bishopsteignton Primary School class of 1954
Class of 1954.
Bishopsteignton Primary School class of 1956
Class of 1956

Another of our aims for the reunion was to build on our growing ‘remote’ archive collection and add some more material relating to the school. Our archival record is the vital foundation for preserving and telling the story of Bishopsteignton and wow, you made an amazing contribution!

Thank you to all those who brought and left their school photos with us on temporary loan for cataloguing and digitisation, they will be available to search and view online in the next few weeks so keep an eye on the Archive Collection search page!

Bishopsteignton Heritage Chairman gave a short welcome announcement concluding in a toast to the memory of local lady, Sheila Robbins who sadly passed away shortly prior to the reunion. Sheila is remembered by many former pupils as the ‘best dinner lady at the primary school ever’ and by villagers as ‘the welcoming, smiling face of Bishopsteignton.

You can listen to an Oral History interview with Sheila about the Bishopsteignton Players here: Sheila Robbins on the Early Days of the Bishopsteignton Players.

If you yourself are a former pupil of Bishopsteignton School (pre or post 1973!) and have stories, memories, photos or other material you would like to share with the community, please get in touch!

Photograph of Sheila Robbins in costume
Sheila Robbins as principal boy for a local pantomime c.1965.
From the BH remote archive collection.

Lindy Hop Tea Dance

16th October 2021

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for our Lindy Hop Tea Dance at the Community Centre on 16th October. We watched a demonstration and took instruction then all took to the floor to try out our new moves!

The dance was organised in lieu of celebrations for which we could not gather during 2020, the 75th anniversary year of VE Day. Hence the wartime theme! Our instructors for the day, The South West Lindy Hoppers, have said

   “Thanks very much we enjoyed ourselves too and it was great how quickly you picked up all the Lindy Hop and Charleston moves.”

This event was such a great opportunity for us to make a comeback in the community, catch up and just have some fun! We hope those who were able to nip into the Heritage Hub during the dance will be able to visit again soon.

Many thanks also to all the wonderful volunteers who brought and served the lovely refreshments, we couldn’t have had a tea dance without the tea!

The SW Lindy Hoppers have regular classes in Exeter and Totnes so if you would like to join, email them at: [email protected]

Since we all enjoyed ourselves so well, there may be more Lindy Hop events to come in Bishopsteignton so watch this space!

Join the Team!

We are going to relaunch the Heritage Hub in Spring 2022 & we are actively looking for volunteers to help us do it!

There are a variety of activities and opportunities in all parts of the charity so even if you have just a few hours a month free, get in touch!

Hub Updates

Another month of cataloguing and digitisation means our online collections are bigger than ever! There are over 200 individual digitised items in our online catalogue relating to the Players with more being added every week. You can search for them and nearly 2000 other records in our archive here:

Upcoming Events

We don’t have any events coming up at the moment.

Keep an eye on our social media for updates! Follow our Facebook page and Twitter for all the latest.

You can sign up to receive this newsletter and other updates via email on our Contact page.

2021 Census

Postcard of Post Office St

So the National Census is upon us again. It only happens every ten years, and March 21st is the date for this year’s forms to be filled in. It occuured to us at BH that there could be a whole generation of young people out there who will never have encountered this before, so we have published an article;  that helps to explain the purpose and the form of the census. It incorpoates a quiz, and some videos and a fun chance for kids to build their own census. We hope that parents and grandparents will show them the article and get them involved. Take a look and have fun with it this weekend.

New Projects for a New Year

Bishopsteignton Football Team Circa 1921

So here we are in a New Year and a new lockdown! But fear not, boredom will not be a problem! Here at BH we have devised a whole raft of new projects for you to get involved in and keep your mind active. Check out our 2021 projects here;

Or maybe you have some ideas of your own about subjects you would like to investigate. Please do let us know. We are hoping to announce a regular Zoom slot for you all to come together virtually and talk to us about what you would like to research. To kick everything off we are researching the history of Bishopsteignton Football Club. The Club had its centenary in 2020, so we would love to hear from anyone who played for the club or any photos or stories you know of. Let’s make the most of this lockdown and get investigating! Looking forward to seeing you on Zoom.

The great news this month is that we are holding a virtual Xmas social, hosted from the HUB, on Tuesday December 15th at 7pm, on the Zoom platform. We will be telling you about all the exciting new projects we are about to launch for 2021 and how you can get involved. Details of these will soon be on the Research page of the website.

If you would like an invitation please email us at [email protected] and we shall send you the link the day before the meeting. We are very excited about the new layout and equipment at the HUB and look forward to as many of our friends and volunteers as possible getting stuck in to rebooting our research for the website. We hope you will join us for a toast to a very productive New Year.

The Spitfire Flies Home

Flying high

The great news this month is that the Bishopsteignton Village VE-75 Knitted Spitfire has finally found its forever home, flying high from the ceiling of the HUB at the Community Centre. Along with that we are pleased to publish an article about its creation and background. Read it here;

Also keep a lookout for details of our Virtual Xmas Social where you will be able to see for yourself (on Zoom) what it and the rest of the HUB now looks like.

The Molly Coombe Memorial Lecture 2020

Alex receiving "Top UK Tour Guide" at the Wanderlust World Guide Awards. Presenting the award are Wanderlust Magazine founder Lyn Hughes and Author Bill Bryson.

Due to our present situation Bishopsteignton Heritage has taken innovative steps to bring you this year’s Molly Coombe Memorial lecture. We cannot meet in person but we can meet you virtually. Alex Graeme of Unique Devon Tours is preparing a fascinating talk for us entitled ‘Tales of a Devon Tour Guide’ which will be held on October 21st at 7pm, via the Zoom platform. Participation is free of charge.

Alex is a highly experienced, multi award winning tour guide with many entertaining tales to tell so it promises to be an exciting evening for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. We have certain limitations on numbers so we urge you to sign up to participate. If you are not familiar or comfortable with the Zoom format, we can help you with that too, just email us at [email protected]

You can sign up for the talk here: One ticket, free of charge, is all you need for one household. Your invitation to the talk will be emailed to you on the day.

We also want to use this event to launch our own zoom presence which will be a great way to meet and talk with our Researchers on a regular basis while we still cannot meet in person. We hope you will join us on the evening for a great event

The Start of our Farming Season

Ken Dawe outside Ashill Farmhouse

This month’s offering from Bishopsteignton Heritage is the first section of an audio interview , undertaken earlier this year, with Ken Dawe of Ashill Farm and The Old Walls Vineyard. In this section Ken talks about his childhood in Bishopsteignton and his family history. His grandfather Clifford Wallis, headmaster of the primary school, his own time at the school and the early years of WWII. With the transcription and photographs it is a great piece of village history recorded for posterity. Later in the month two more sections of the interview will be published, covering early farming methods and the cider and wine businesses that the Dawe family built. Later, unique video film of early photographs taken by the family will be published. Watch this space….

Ken Dawe Interview 1: Early life and Family

The Latest from BH

The Graves family on November 22nd 1917 Standing: Rosaleen, Charles, Alfred, John. Sitting: Robert, Amy, Clarissa.

The latest article to be published his week is one on Dr Rosaleen Cooper, nee Graves.

Dr Cooper was the village GP for many years, but was also a published poet, sister of the war poet Robert Graves, and sister of the artist Clarissa Graves. She came to our attention when Teignmouth Museum offered us a painting that Clarissa did, a view from her sister’s house in Bishopsteignton. She also published a book of games from an Edwardian Childhood in her late years, which was illustrated by her friend and neighbour Brenda Gilpin, whose work we have several examples of in the archive. Do let us know if your have any memories of Dr Cooper, or stories you would like to share.

Dr. Rosaleen Cooper nee Graves

We still would like your contributions also to our ‘Coming out of Lockdown’ collection so that we can document how the village has coped with the situation and the ramifications going forward.

And lastly, we hope you saw our notification of the Museum Crush; Culture 24 article that was published last week, all about Bishopsteignton Heritage and how it has developed since Molly Coombe left us her legacy all those years ago. Find it here;



Shops and Businesses

Milestone Cafe

Here at BH we would like to hear from anyone who would like to contribute to an article about how you or your family or business has dealt with lockdown, and how you are intending to continue as we start to come out of lockdown and things open up again. We want to document current history as it happens in the village. Tell us how you managed with home schooling, and how you feel about your children returning to school. How you managed to get shopping or help with other problems if you have been self isolating. How you have managed to organise your business, used online face-to-face communication or just how you have kept yourself busy and sane during this very strange time. Now that parents and grandparents can start to revisit their families, how have you dealt with social distancing and other prohibitive measures? Please let us know, by email if you can or if not by post to; Bishopsteignton Heritage Hub, Community Centre, Shute Hill, Bishopsteignton, Teignmouth TQ14 9QL. We look forward to hearing your stories.

We are also hoping to collect photographs of the shops and businesses in Bishopsteignton throughout the years. If you have any photographs in your collection that include shops, pubs or other businesses, even in the background of another event, please do get in touch. If you can scan them you can email them to us at [email protected]

If not please let us know and we will arrange to collect them at some point. Then we can scan them and return them to you. Like this picture of the Milestone Cafe, no longer there, but where was it?