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Farming in East Devon Exhibition

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Joined: 17 Sep 2005

Posts: 706
Location: Lyme Rd, Uplyme

PostPosted: 21/05/09, 07:42    Post subject: Farming in East Devon Exhibition Reply with quote

Farming in East Devon

Lyme Regis Museum exhibition :: Farming in East Devon
Thomas Witty House, Silver Street, Axminster.
30th May – 28th June 2009. Daily 11-4, except Mondays (closed).
Admission Free (Donations welcome!)

The Project:

This exhibition is part of an on-going research project, at Lyme Regis Museum, into the history of farming of the local area. Its aim is to document the farming heritage before vital records and buildings are lost forever.
Beginning in 2007, the project has expanded, from its early researches in the Lim Valley, to now cover 14 parishes in East Devon. In 2009 the Lim Valley Projected was Highly Commended in the Dorset Archaeological Awards.
The project involves thousands of volunteer hours.
· Visiting farms, recording farm & family histories, copying hundreds of photos & documents and photographing the current farming scene.
· Searching the records at Lyme Regis Museum.
· Regular visits to Devon Records Office to study trade directories, tithe maps and apportionment schedules.
· Study of Census records.
· Study at the National Records Office at Kew.
· Reading old documents which have been loaned to the museum for deciphering and summ arising.
· Exhibitions.
It soon became apparent that the Axminster cattle market and town played an important role in the life of the farming community of East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset. Therefore it was decided to centre the research not only on the parish of Uplyme, but also Axminster, Axmouth, Musbury, Combpyne/Rousdon, Membury, Shute, Dalwood, Kilmington, Stockland, Chardstock, Allsaints and Hawkchurch
So far some of the parishes have yielded more than others, and it is hoped this exhibition will encourage more of the farming community to share their farming memories. Amongst the material offered for research is a large collection of farm sale catalogues dating back to the 1800’s.
Background to Exhibition
Lyme Regis Museum normally holds a winter exhibition for local residents. Farming in the Lim Valley was chosen for the 2007/2008 season. The defined area would include the parishes of Uplyme and Lyme Regis. The museum had little information on the history of farming in the parish of Uplyme, which was to be the major player in the proposed exhibition. Secondly, as a veterinary surgeon, it was hoped that Graham would gain better access to the local farming community.
Early on in the researches it was clear that the original plan had to be revised because of the size of the envisaged project. The winter exhibition was reduced to an appraisal of the farms in Lyme Regis. It was decided that it would be appropriate to hold the complete exhibition in Uply me in May 2008 – a first for the museum to go outside its walls.
It was also evident that the exhibition was no longer the end product of the researches. The developing size of the project required that it continued after the exhibition.
The exhibition can be thought of as a broad brush approach – much finer detail will be needed.
Much of the material has been acquired by going into the farming community, past and present. Graham has also arranged meetings between present owners of farmsteads and the previous occupants from past generations – an experience that seems to be enjoyed by all.
60 farms and small holdings have been discovered to date in the parish of Uplyme alone, many of which will be described in detail in the exhibition. 3000 photos, documents and maps have been copied, a selection from which will occupy over 100 exhibition boards.
At over 3000 acres, the parish of Uplyme is one of the largest in Devon. It has a thriving village shop, a pub offering food and a petrol station.
The exhibition panels on the Uplyme farms show what can be done with the co-operation of past and present farmers and the village community.
A fascinating glimpse of agricultural life and the history of the farms over the last 150+ years in photographs, maps, documents and words, capturing these memories before they are lost for ever.
Plus, a photographic20record of the changing seasonal activities at Shapwick Grange farm in 2007.
There will be something for everybody, even those with no farming or country background. Many of the old photos are worth a visit in themselves.
The exhibition is large – allow plenty of time to enjoy the visit.
On Monday June 8th at 7pm, as part of the exhibition there will be an archive film show from Southwest Television Film Archive., entitled ‘Down on the Farm’. This will be shown at the Guildhall, Axminster.

The Researchers
Graham Davies and Ken Gollop have spent hundreds of hours researching this project and setting up this exhibition. Ken Gollop, ex fisherman, has been a trustee and volunteer at the museum for many years. Graham Davies is a retired veterinary surgeon and has been a volunteer researcher at the museum for the last 4 years.
Graham has spent much of the last 2 years visiting & revisiting farms and small holdings in the local area. He has recorded farm and family histories, made copies of photos & documents, and photographed the current farming scene. In addition, many hours have been spent in the museum and local record offices. Ken’s local knowledge has been invaluable for Graham’s researches and his experience and expertise in putting together museum exhibitions has been pivotal in presenting the material in its best light.

Posted on behalf of Ken.gollop@btopenworld.com
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