Thursday, 9 October 2014

Museum Friend’s Trust to support young musicians

Above: An anonymous portrait of the child Mozart, possibly by Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, painted in 1763 on commission from Leopold Mozart when the boy was six years old

The chances of discovering a young musician prodigy like Mozart are pretty slim, but you never know...


Friend of Fairlynch Museum Roger Bowen, pictured here, is well known in Budleigh Salterton as a former town councillor, and as a founder, among other ventures, of the Budleigh Music Festival. 
Having retired as Festival Chairman he is now devoting his energies to helping young people in Devon discover music through the charitable trust which he chairs.

Set up in 2012, the Budleigh Music Education Trust is intended to benefit a range of young musicians rather than seeking out musical prodigies.  “We are not dedicated to the pursuit of excellence though we will gladly assist those with a special gift,” says Roger. “We will look at most levels of ability including those with disability. There is a huge range of talent out there and we believe this should be encouraged at whatever level possible.”

Providing musical instruments on loan, building up contacts with the county’s music teachers, and raising funds to sponsor an individual young person are all ways in which the Trust is hoping to provide what it describes as “that  priceless asset - a lifetime of music appreciation and performance.”

For more information about the Budleigh Music Education Trust, click here

Mapping old Budleigh Salterton

The Otter Valley Association’s recent launch of its scheme to list Local Heritage assets seems likely to heighten our awareness of how the area has changed - in many cases not for the better! Old maps of Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding villages provide a good way of appreciating such changes, thinks Fairlynch Museum Trustee Trevor Waddington.

Trevor, who is involved with the Local Heritage scheme, recommends the three Harry Lane maps of Budleigh published by the OVA. Dated 1842, 1890 and 1933, they are roughly A3 size and are available as a set for £20 via the OVA website at

“Interestingly, the 1842 map shown above depicts Primrose Cottage - now Fairlynch Museum - with what appears to be a glass-roofed veranda running the full width of the building,” notes Trevor.

Another item of interest on the 1842 map shows the original ‘Temple’ built by a retired London bookseller, James Lackington, and named after his London store in Finsbury Square. Known as 'The Temple of the Muses', it was one of the capital's tourist attractions.

James Lackington's Temple of the Muses in Finsbury Square, London
Image credit: Princeton University

Lackington, a devout Methodist, who moved from London to Budleigh Salterton, was so struck with what he called the "spiritual Destitution of the place" that in 1812 he built the Methodist 'Temple'. Demolished in 1905 it was replaced by the current Temple Methodist Church on Fore street.

James Lackington died in Budleigh 200 years ago next year. Some people would say that  like many of the town’s relatively little known but interesting and distinguished former residents he deserves to be honoured with a blue plaque.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Thirty years of lacemaking — Congratulations to Sue Morgan!


Fairlynch Museum volunteer Sue Morgan started making lace in 1984.  The Museum is most grateful for the lacemaking demonstrations that she has given on Friday afternoons during August and during half-term.  We asked her some questions.

What skills does one need? 
They say patience, but really the main thing is enjoyment. See how you get on. One visitor who came to watch said she would never be able to do it but when she started on a pillow here at the Museum she found that she could. Sometimes it just clicks. Concentration is important of course.

Are you a member of a lacemaker’s association?
Yes. The Lace Guild and also the International Bobbin and Needlace Organisation (OIDFA) which covers the world. There are still some countries where lace is produced on a commercial basis - Romania and Malta - to name a couple. But here in the UK, and in the USA, lacemaking is done for pleasure, as a hobby.

How have visitors responded to your lacemaking session when they see you at work?
They’re very interested and curious. Taken aback at first, and surprised that the craft is still alive. Devon is particularly active with many lacemaking centres and groups.

How did lacemakers feel about that wedding dress?
There was a surge of interest in lacemaking with both Kate Middleton’s wedding and Diana’s. Lace is so dominated by fashion. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a high point — lace was seen as a form of art. At the end of the 19th century there were 230 lacemakers in East Budleigh alone.



Above: Lacemaker Sue Morgan demonstrates the finer points of her craft to Fairlynch Museum visitor Elizabeth Bloxham

Lower Otter Valley Local Heritage Assets Listing Project

From the Otter Valley Association has come an important announcement about a venture in which Fairlynch Museum has a role:

The OVA is embarking on an exciting new project, looking at our rich and diverse local heritage, and is seeking partners and volunteers to help with this work. 

The project was launched during Heritage Open Days (11 to 14 September 2014). Watch out for further details about  local events that we will be holding, and visit the Heritage Open Days website if you are interested in local heritage events.

We are working in partnership with Devon’s Historic Environment Team, East Devon District Council, the Fairlynch Museum and the Town and Parish Councils to identify and list heritage assets in the Lower Otter Valley.  This area covers Budleigh Salterton, and the parishes of East Budleigh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh and Newton Poppleford.

The reason for listing heritage assets is because they are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions because of their heritage interest. English Heritage is keen for local communities to identify assets that are important to the local distinctiveness of an area.   The Draft New East Devon Local Plan states that the Council will work with local communities to produce design statements and heritage asset assessments as part of the ongoing preparation for the built heritage and heritage conservation strategy. 

Heritage assets are not just historic or interesting buildings, but can be cultural landscapes associated with history, or relate to social history, such as traditions, practices, and artistic or literary associations.  They can include patterns of settlement, parks, gardens, village greens, and landmarks of community value, such as war memorials and interesting items of street furniture.

For instance, do you value the building in the photograph?  Should this be on the local heritage asset list?  We are sure that you have an opinion about this structure and we want you to nominate structures or features that you think are important locally.

The project aims to identify and assess structures and elements that are not designated nationally (listed buildings), such as the wealth of agricultural buildings, and the Arts and Crafts houses, together with well loved places.  The work may involve some research, as we would like to gather as much information about the asset as possible, or it could just involve a description,  photograph and location.  The assets will be assessed before going on the ‘local list’, which will then be used as a material consideration in planning decisions by the District Council.  Local listing does not place any extra planning burden on the owner of the asset.

The criteria for assessing the significance of local heritage assets is based on English Heritage’s advice in the Good Practice Guide for Local Heritage Asset Listing and is set out below:

It is based on English Heritage’s guidance on the criteria for the designation of statutorily listed buildings, but the focus is on their local rather than national importance.   The criteria relate to the local interest and significance.  Interest being the architecture, historic, artistic, rarity or age; and significance being the value of the asset aesthetically, to the community, or historic or social association or evidential.  If the heritage asset is identified as having at least one element of interest, then the determining factor would be to consider its significance in relation to its value to the community.

The OVA is looking for volunteers to help with this project, and training will be given. So if you value your heritage, enjoy carrying out a bit of research, or taking photographs, or just walking around the local area, we would love you to help us.  We will also be seeking to involve the community as much as possible, and invite them to nominate local heritage assets that are important to them.

We have placed details of the project on the various local websites, and are liaising with the parish councils so that we can get as many volunteers and nominations as possible.

Further details about this exciting project have been put on the OVA website at 

If you would like to find out more about the project and how you could get involved, please contact Nicola Daniels (01395 445960), Trevor Waddington (01395 443978) or Dee Woods (01395 568158).

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Meg Peacocke — ‘Budleigh Salterton in the War Years: a Child’s View’


Meg Peacocke, a poet with wartime memories of Budleigh

Fairlynch Museum and the Otter Valley Association are combining to present a talk on 13 October which will give a special insight into life in Budleigh Salterton during the Second World War.  

A sister of the composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Meg Peacocke is a distinguished poet who was brought up in Budleigh Salterton in the 1940s.


A World War Two recruitment poster
Image © IWM

Local artist Joyce Dennys had suggested that the family move from the London area to Budleigh to escape the danger of Nazi bombing raids, and Meg’s father, the children’s author Rodney Bennett, served as a warden at the ARP hut on The Green.   

Meg Peacocke’s poem ‘Walking to Church 1940’ is one of several compositions which give a flavour of wartime life, describing how the Bennett family made its way to Sunday services at All Saints Church in East Budleigh.  

A former teacher and Cumbrian hill farmer, a mother of four and a trained counsellor, Meg Peacocke read English at Oxford after leaving Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Her first volume of poetry was not published until she was in her fifties. Since then, her poems have received exceptionally favourable reviews. She won the Cholmondeley Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2005 and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship. In May this year she appeared at the Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival in Norfolk, alongside fellow-poets who included Dame Gillian Beer and Sir Andrew Motion. 

Meg Peacocke's talk will take place on Monday 13 October at 7.30 pm in the Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton.  Admission costs £2.00 for OVA members/Friends of Fairlynch and £2.50 for non-members/Friends.

 Walking to Church 1940

Walking to church, we stamp our shapes
on flat grey air, steel sea behind
rolled out in the same dimension

The lanes gritty with patience, elms
ranged in memory’s pop-up book
like barlines in the squareset hymns

we are shortly to sing. The squeezed
organ notes will bump like dinghies
waiting for the congregation

to shift themselves gingerly in,
but my father will steer the bass,
dominant, tonic, the known ropes.

It is warwork, like arranging
billets for evacuees, each
labelled and slotted into place.

Meanwhile the bells are swinging full
fathom through the changes, clashing
and colicky at times but sure

of a destination. So we
step briskly out between the pinched
February banks, the sun’s stare

pale above us; as though the frayed
geometry of fields and towns
that passing Spitfire sees will hold

just as long as we man the pews
in time to let the crotchets march
in their fervently sober ranks,
while rage and loss stay locked in psalms. 

Reproduced courtesy of the author
© Meg Peacocke

Friday, 26 September 2014

Fairlynch... visited by millions! or even billions!!

Give your day a smile! Visit

We obviously couldn’t manage to fit them into our tiny little museum, so the headline is only a dream. But it’s a dream that can be easily realised thanks to the Internet.

That’s what the obvious conclusion was at the end of a day’s workshop in Exeter at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s offices with Claire Sully and John Brunsdon from Bristol-based Tickbox Marketing

The firm has been commissioned by the South West Museum Development  Partnership to “deliver digital engagement consultancy and training” to museums across the region.

That just means explaining to museum workers - volunteers included - how things like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a load of other things that we read about today can be used to show the world what riches we have in even the most modest of our museums.

The audience is already there.  Figures released by the International Telecommunication Union in May 2014 indicate that by the end of the year there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world.

Many thanks to Claire and John, and to Susan Eddisford, Community Museums Officer at Exeter City Council, for helping to put the event together.  Fairlynch Museum Treasurer Nick Speare, Membership Secretary Alan Huddart and I had a thoroughly thought-provoking day, with plenty of ideas bounced around and dreams evoked.

We’d love to share some of those ideas with you if you live in the Budleigh area and would like to help make some of those dreams come true. Or even if you live on the other side of the world and remember Fairlynch with affection.

Just drop me a line at

Have a look at  if you’d like to learn more.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Kids’ wheelie good view of Tour from Fairlynch lawn

 It was standing room only for children from Budleigh Salterton’s St Peter’s School when they came to Fairlynch on Thursday 11 September.   

The Museum receives regular visits from schools, but on this occasion key stages took a back seat in favour of Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain. 

At 11.00 am riders left The Strand in Exmouth, making their way to the race start at Clyst Hayes, just outside Budleigh. At 11.15 am off they went with 177.3 kilometres to go before the finish on Exeter High Street.  

The first of many police motorcycles to arrive


Here they come!

There they go!

Austrian cyclist Matthias Brändle won the stage with a time of 04:32:03.