Wednesday, 9 October 2013

‘Survival!’ to live on in cyberspace

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 Newfoundland.

The email was from Jacqueline Bélisle who works for the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa and who turns out to be a passionate admirer of the hero of Fairlynch’s ‘Survival!’ exhibition. “I am writing to say how happy I was to read about Antarctic explorer George Murray Levick on your Budleigh & Brewster United blog,” she began. “I’m also delighted to find the Fairlynch Museum page on Facebook. I’m sorry to have missed the “Survival” exhibit as I am two years late, but your informative blogs on Levick’s life and what looked like rare pictures are very much appreciated.”

Jacqueline’s interest stems from her fascination with Scott’s Northern Party.

“I have read Ms. Hooper and Ms. Lambert’s books, not to mention Lt. Campbell, Raymond Priestley, Dr. Levick and Harry Dickason’s diaries,” she says. “Out of all six men from the Northern Party, I found Murray Levick to be a genuinely captivating character. Although there is information circulating on the Web, it is somewhat limited, so your blog was a real gem in that it was so thorough. Thank you for all your efforts.”

 Well, Jacqueline’s email has inspired me to try and archive all Fairlynch’s exhibitions going back to the Museum’s foundation in 1967. I’ve made a start but there’s clearly an imbalance, with relatively little material from the early days compared with the modern age of information overload thanks to the internet.

But the last two exhibitions are well covered and can even be commented on and added to by anyone prepared to venture into cyberspace.  You can even contribute as visitors, in the same way that people have written about Fairlynch on Tripadvisor at

I’d welcome contributions from any Friends of Fairlynch or indeed of Budleigh Salterton who would like to look at my efforts simply by clicking here and who would like to tell me how much more material needs to be added.


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