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Showing posts from October, 2013

Angels come to St Peter’s

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Christine Lee is one of Britain’s outstanding figurative sculptors.She’s also a Friend of Fairlynch and it was her friendship with the Museum’s late President that prompted the exhibition of her most recent work in Budleigh.

Her best known creation is the extraordinary fountain, over five metres high, which stands in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. The work was inaugurated by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip on 8 November 1996. Sculpted in stainless steel and brass it depicts two swans, wings outstretched, rising in flight.
“Grounded yet soaring” is how Christine’s work has been described, and that’s certainly how you’d see her sculpture of two angels entitled ‘Compassion’ currently on view in St Peter’s Church.
Winged like her Stratford swans, this latest piece is very different. At just over two metres it’s an approachable piece for the viewer. There’s a warmth and a humanity about it thanks to the use of beautifully grained black A…

Fairlynch Friend went for the burn

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Image credit: Trudie Burne
You may have wondered why Fairlynch publicity bears the logo of Bradleys Estate Agents.It’s simply that manager Robin Burne very generously agreed back in February 2011, without the slightest hesitation, that his firm would provide the photocopying for our beautiful posters.


So in recognition of his support I felt it was the least I could do to repay his generous gesture by sponsoring him in today’s Great West Run, especially as he was running for Cancer Research UK.
Exeter’s Great West Run is now 28 years old. It offers what it describes as the energy of a city centre road race, combined with pretty country lanes and stunning views across Exeter. But when all’s said and done it was still a hard 13-mile slog that Robin and fellow-runners faced today and I wouldn’t like to try and beat his time of 01:58:26. And he managed to get back to Budleigh in time to help with the Food and Drink Festival.
Congratulations Robin. His Just Giving site is still open, so I ho…

Kimmo Evans ‘Fifty Years of the AONB’

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An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is an area of high scenic quality which has statutory protection in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of its landscape.

There are only just over 30 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, and here in East Devon we are lucky to be living in one of them.
FairlynchMuseum and the Otter Valley Association have teamed up to present a talk by Kimmo Evans, Community Development Officer at East Devon AONB. 
With a degree in Marine Biology, Kimmo Evans has gained most of his experience in the conservation sector - both marine and land-based. He has worked on traditional aspects of protected landscape work such as events planning, conservation tasks and media work. But he has also been involved in more innovative interpretation work linked to mobile phone technology, working with local businesses and community based renewable energy projects. He is now also Board Director on the Heart of Devon Area Tourism Partnership.
The talk wil…

‘Survival!’ to live on in cyberspace

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Above: The 2011 poster advertising Fairlynch exhibition 'Survival!' With the ‘Sea, Salt and Sponges’ exhibition at Fairlynch Museum about to close in early November I am now thinking of how to dispose of all the display material. Obviously many of the artefacts will be returrned to the owners who kindly lent them. But what of all the display boards which told the stories of heroic Budleigh characters like Murray Levick and Henry Carter, the subjects of our exhibitions of the last few years? Does the recycling centre have to be their only destination just because of lack of storage space in the Museum?

Canadian connections: The book Public School Explorers in Newfoundland by Dennis Clarke, published in 1935,  focused on Murray Levick's expeditions
Just as I was asking myself such questions a ‘Greetings from Canada’ email arrives. Appropriate really as many of Murray Levick’s early expeditions with the Public Schools Exploring Society that he founded in 1932 were to Newfoundl…

Costumes bringing us closer

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Above: The Sewall-Scripture House, built in 1832, at 40 King Street in Rockport , Massachusetts. It is one of two museums in Rockport administered by the Sandy Bay Historical Society
Google the little coastal town of Rockport to see where it lies exactly in the state of Massachusetts and you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re looking at a very odd map of England.
There’s admittedly no Rockport here on our side of the Pond but as for the names of towns in the surrounding area of this part of the NW United States they’re all vivid reminders of how that part of Massachusetts was settled by refugees from religious persecution back in England, mainly in the 17th century.
Ipswich, Gloucester, Manchester, Reading, Malden, Wakefield, Woburn, Haverhill, Newbury... the list goes on and on.

So I’m always pleased to receive any friendly or enquiring emails from the USA keen to revive those centuries-old connections.
Rockport native the Rev. Sarah Clark is a Unitarian Universalist minister w…

Sharing Science with Sidmouth

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For one day on Wednesday 16 October Fairlynch will be open to visitors from 10.00 am - 1.00 pm in association with the what looks like a highly interesting Sidmouth Science Festival, now in its second year.

Friends of Fairlynch and others who may like to display or simply admire the above poster may want to know the identity of the people who decorate it.
They’re all Fellows of the Royal Society associated with the town of Sidmouth and commemorated with displays in SidmouthMuseum. Apart from our own Henry John Carter of course.
Starting with the newly designed FairlynchMuseum logo in the bottom left corner and going clockwise we have:
1. A glass sponge known as Venus’ flower basket Euplectella aspergillum side by side with London’s Swiss Re Tower so as to compare the amazing structure of one of Nature’s wonders with a modern architectural marvel.Carter was one of the first writers to describe how the sponge grows; there are examples on display in Fairlynch.
2. Frederick Lindemann FRS, 1…

Just mossin*, really

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Orchis mascula, the early purple orchid


Well, what a summer! A real summer at last, which left most things in the garden gasping for rain, which finally came, only to be followed by another long drought.

The one part of the garden which seemed not to care too much what kind of weather we were having was the lawn. The back lawn anyway. And that’s because it consists of inches of moss.

Conditioned as I was to expect a traditional English greensward when we bought our house in Devon six years ago I’d lost no time in calling out the experts to see how they would tackle the problem. They nodded wisely when I showed them our green expanse - which actually looks quite convincing especially with the stripes left after mowing.
But those footprints that we left in the deep pile of what was supposed to be a lawn was clear evidence, they told me, that there was probably not a single blade of grass in the whole thing. The only solution would be to have it all re-turfed, followed by a regular dosin…

The Uphams of Bicton

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In search of the past:  Pictured  are George Martin and his wife Agnes in Fairlynch Museum's Local History Room
“Who do you think you are?” is a question that’s increasingly nagging many people curious to know about their ancestors.

The answer could well be hiding in museum archives, but a certain amount of skill and experience is usually needed to navigate one’s way through family trees with all those spelling variations and occasional errors.
Since April 2007, when the 12th archive Service Point in Devon opened at Fairlynch the Museum has held microfiche copies of original parish registers and tithe maps and apportionments for Budleigh and the surrounding area.
Visitors from abroad often enquire at Fairlynch about their Budleigh ancestry. On 19 September, American George Martin, from Chicago, made a special journey to the Museum in search of information about his English family origins.
George’s ancestor John Upham was one of a group of about 15 members of the same family from Bi…

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

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So wrote the narrator of L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between.
But FairlynchMuseum is one of many organisations in Budleigh Salterton which are hoping that the differences between customs and traditions will no longer stand as barriers between generations.
Fairlynch Chairman Roger Sherriff is in discussion with Mark McGlade, chief co-ordinator of the Budleigh Salterton Memory Book to see how the Museum can work with groups like St Peter’s C of E Primary School, Age Concern and Budleigh in Business in recording reminiscences of the past. The aim, say the Memory Book team, is to share the memories and fascinating stories of the people who live in and around the town with friends, neighbours, children, grandchildren and future generations to come.
With an ageing population, Budleigh Salterton is blessed with having a wealth of historical memories from a broad section of interesting people with first hand-hand knowledge and life experiences of those who have lived through the Second World W…