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; https://www.bishopsteigntonheritage.co.uk/events/2021-census/ 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.
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; https://www.bishopsteigntonheritage.co.uk/category/research/current-and-planned-research-projects/
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 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; https://www.bishopsteigntonheritage.co.uk/events/the-ve-75-knitted-spitfire/
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.
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: www.uniquedevontours.com/tales-of-a-devon-tour-guide. 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
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….
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.
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; https://museumcrush.org/the-devon-village-that-made-itself-into-a-museum/
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?
May has been busy on the Dig for Victory plot which is situated on the community plot at Michaels Field. The Ministry of Agriculture during the war years and just after issued a series of monthly guides to provide all the information needed to those who wanted to grow their own vegetables. In 1945 the reissued series of guides were renamed ‘Allotment and Garden Guide’. We have been trying to follow these monthly guidelines as part of our Dig for Victory project. In my last update potatoes had been planted together with preparing the soil.
With the lovely May weather there has been plenty to do on the plot and I have continued to follow the wartime’s growing guide main points which has resulted in the following:
Potatoes have been growing nicely and now are earthed up.
Onions are springing into action.
Beetroot seeds have been planted and awaiting their appearance, along with runner beans.
Planting areas have been prepared for planting winter vegetables, like kale and cabbage
Watering has been on going to ensure healthy plants.
Mulching and other devices to retain water in dry times has been ongoing.
We look forward to letting you know what happened on the allotments during the 1940s in our June update.
Against all the odds of Lockdown, BH managed to organise and stimulate a very memorable VE Day in Bishopsteignton. The original idea of involving as many as possible of the village activity groups to create their own projects for the celebrations was carried through online instead of physically. Many of our researchers and the leaders of the groups had gone into a degree of slumber due to the Lockdown, but we managed to rouse them to produce a whole raft of material including a knitted Spitfire, produced by the knitting group, which has been on display on the high pavement in Fore St., and made it onto the BBC Spotlight programme.
We also involved the WI, the Lunch Club, Singing for Fun, Digging for Victory, articles about nursing in WWII and the Battle of Britain.
We decided to produce a series of Countdown articles on the website to lead up to VE Day itself, highlighting the fun and party aspects of the occasion as well as the more serious stories. They included Music, Food, Dancing, Dressing Up, Heroes, Evacuees and Women at War. This last category proved extremely enlightening when one of our researchers sent us a photograph of her 98-year-old mother, who lives in the village, in WAAF uniform in WWII, along with the story of her work during wartime. The Heritage Lottery Fund office had sent out an email enquiring what various organisations were intending to do, if anything, on VE Day, and I replied with our plans. They then looked at the Women at War article and asked if they could use it for their national publicity, which they duly did. So our very own Mary Overill became their poster girl for VE Day as well as ours. This also stimulated various members of the community to come forward with photographs and stories of friends and family connected to the village, who were also part of the war effort, which is exactly what we are trying to achieve.
As well as the articles we encouraged the village to dress up and party in their gardens. To provide a soundtrack to the afternoon and so that the speeches could be heard around the village, Jason McMurray organised a total of 24 PA systems to be set up in the gardens of their owners with coverage for pretty much the entire village. The soundtrack consisted of 2 hours of music of the period, official speeches from the day and the Toast to the Nation’s Heroes, as well as other specific speeches designated by the Veterans’ Charities. All finished with a soundtrack of ‘We’ll meet Again’ and ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ for people to sing along to. The effect was phenomenal and everyone came out to promenade and enjoy the day. A gallery of photographs and videos is now displayed on the website.