Showing posts from August, 2014

Many thanks, Colin

Thanks are due to Colin Wells, of Dawlish, who recently donated this six-page 1966 auction brochure to the Museum. He came across it in a box of local maps which he’d purchased, and thought that it would interest us as part of the history of the building. 

Our late President Priscilla Hull recalled how the house was bought “at a reasonable price” following a public appeal which was launched in 1967. “This realised about £3,500, so four interested people bought ‘Fairlynch’ between them, and leased it back to the Trustees of the Committee of Management.”  

Also shown here is a Great War photo of Brigadier Phillip Wheeler Bliss and his wife Monica on their wedding day, published in the Weekly Dispatch.  The couple lived at Fairlynch from 1949 to 1964. Brigadier Bliss had a distinguished military career, about which I will write in due course on my Great War blog.   

Maine exhibition at Topsham

Devon's Topsham celebrates its US link in the Entwhistle Room
Yes, as far as Friends of Fairlynch Mike and Margaret Wilson are concerned, ‘Celebrating Topsham Maine’ is probably the big exhibition at Topsham Museum. The Entwhistle Room is small, but Margaret, who has done the research, has managed to convey a massive amount of interesting information about the Devon port’s sister-town. All displayed on attractively designed panels.
I first met Mike and Margaret when we were involved with former Fairlynch Chairman Roger Kingwill a few years ago in designing the Budleigh museum’s ‘Survival!’ exhibition to mark the centenary of Scott’s last Antarctic trip. 

I knew nothing about Dr Murray Levick, the expedition's doctor and zoologist who had come to live near Budleigh, and not much more about Antarctica and Scott's ship, the Terra Nova. But I learnt a lot from Roger, Mike and Margaret about planning a museum exhibition. ‘Celebrating Topsham Maine’ is characterised by the same au…

Budleigh in Books: Part 3

Click  here  to read my earlier post Budleigh in Books: Part 2 and  here  to read Budleigh in Books: Part 1

The English novelist Clare Morrall, born in Exeter in 1952, has lived mainly in Birmingham but has a strong attachment to East Devon.Her mother lived in Lympstone, and she has been a frequent visitor to the area over the years.
The Man Who Disappeared, published in 2010, is her fourth novel. It raises the issue of how well one can ever really know another person, using the device of an apparently happy marriage which suddenly falls apart when a secret is revealed. 
In the novel, Felix and Kate Kendall buy a house in Budleigh Salterton. He then disappears and is sought by police for money-laundering. The novel explores the impact of these events on his family.
It was, Clare Morrall was reported as saying, a real pleasure setting her latest book in the surroundings where she grew up. “I have always thought I would like to set something there because it is such a nice area and I lov…

Ex-museum professionals join Fairlynch team: 2.Martyn Brown

“Fairlynch is one of the finest buildings in Budleigh, being distinguished by its thatched roof and cupola. It has the great benefit, for a museum, of being visible from the main street,” says Martyn Brown. “It’s ideal for its purpose.” 
Well, he should know, his whole career having been spent in the heritage sector.

A recent arrival in Budleigh, Martyn is no stranger to the West Country. Educated at Sherborne School, he read Geography at Cambridge and has a Degree in Fine Art from the University of Plymouth. Nine years followed in Glastonbury, where he was responsible for creating the Somerset Rural Life Museum as its first curator. He then spent three years as CEO of the Jersey Heritage Trust and Director of Museums on the island. For 23 years he was a senior manager with Oxfordshire County Council, responsible for management and leadership of museums and heritage services.

Martyn has always enjoyed hands-on museum experience. “I have curated numerous exhibitions – some of these I have…

Ex-museum professionals join Fairlynch team: 1.Jenny Pride

Like many small provincial museums, Fairlynch operates successfully on a shoestring with help from volunteers. In recent years it’s introduced a number of positive measures, including free admission and all-weekend afternoon opening, while keeping its status as an accredited museum.
Jenny Pride brings a wealth of transatlantic experience to Fairlynch, having been educated at a High School in Pennsylvania, USA, as well as at Badminton School in Bristol.A seven-year stint in Canada involved work for two museums in British Columbia. 
Jenny started her career in museums at London’s V&A following a History of Art Degree from Manchester University.
“I’ve had a variety of jobs in the heritage and arts sector”, she says. “Everything from marketing the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to managing a 17th century historic house and 90-acre estate in Wales.A highlight was hosting the Royal National Eisteddfod when we welcomed 140,000 visitors.” For seven years she was Marketing Manager for the Londo…

Budleigh in Books: Part 2

[Click to read Budleigh in Books Part 1 ]

One of Grainger’s many books, The Solutions of Radford Shone was published by Ward Lock in 1908   Image credit:

I reckon that Budleigh makes a good setting for crime thrillers. Plenty of Colonel Mustards - well, not so many nowadays, perhaps. Arsenic, maybe, and certainly masses of old lace in Fairlynch Museum. Lots of possibilities of suspicious drownings, riding accidents and falls from the cliffs. 

Francis Edward Grainger thought so anyway. The son of a clergyman, he had an army career before finding his vocation as an author and journalist. He lived at various addresses in Budleigh Salterton, including ‘Almora’ at 33 Station Road, at Sherbrook Lodge and on Marine Parade. 

He died in Budleigh in 1927 at the age of 70 after writing more than 60 detective stories and romances using the pen name Headon Hill. They had titles like Clues From…