Killerton House launched its ‘Votes for Women’ exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act and Jill Glazier and myself were fortunate to be invited to an early viewing, (luckily before the snow came down).
This critical period in history caused deep divisions within Killerton House when Eleanor Acland declared as an avid suffragist, whilst her Aunt Gertrude was vehemently against the movement.
The downstairs exhibits bring to life the feelings and divisions that must have been rife. Using personal letters from prominent players, historical documents and photographs and the reconstructed dining table setting this period of conflict is cleverly captured.Upstairs the ‘fashion, femininity and right to vote’ costume collection continues to expand the theme, providing an insight into what was worn and the effect it was perceived to have on the wearers. The wedding dress of Eleanor Acland and gown of Queen Victoria being special highlights. Clever interpretations of the period are further displayed through skilful exhibits from the Exeter students.
“Votes for Women’ gives a thought provoking reminder of the heated conversations and bitter conflict taking place 100 years ago, not only within the Acland household but throughout the country.
Our February meeting saw the return of retired teachers Sue and Ivan Godfrey. Their talk, entitled The Edge of Our World, began with some tantalising slides of beautiful sunsets, long sandy beaches and ancient standing stones. Only when these were followed by shots of peat bogs, glacial lakes and misty hills did it become clear that we were looking at the Outer Hebrides.
Further from Devon than are the Pyrenees, the island chain stretches some 130 miles from Lewis to Barra. Arrival is usually by boat although it is possible to fly to Barra from Glasgow – but only at low tide as the airstrip is on the beach! Geologically, Western Scotland is much older than the rest of Europe which contributes to the unusual scenery: flat glacial plains being dotted with granite hills; sea stacks and fjords decorating the coast. Historically, all transport was by boat which means there are few inland settlements. Even the coastal hamlets are tiny and often retain names derived from Old Norse reflecting a Viking past.
Much of the land is difficult to farm with workable soil being scarce. Indeed, the deepest soil may well be reserved for burials. Nevertheless, the islands produce a remarkable display of wild flowers in Spring, the contrasting acidic soils from the peat bogs and alkaline soils derived from decayed shells supporting a wide variety of plants.
The islands are excellent for birdwatching. Eagles can be seen along with rare corncrakes, cuckoos and the great skua. Wading birds exist in profusion. Despite the sparse vegetation, deer roam the hills and, if you spot a hedgehog, catch it and you will be eligible for a bounty. They are a menace to the eggs of the many ground nesting birds.
The population of the islands is much reduced from its peak and many former settlements have been abandoned. A particular blow came at the end of the first World War when a vessel bringing islanders back from the war was shipwrecked with the loss of over 1000 men. Nowadays, there are limited employment opportunities with fishing and some sheep farming being the staples plus, increasingly, tourism. Sue and Ivan recommend the islands for their deserted beaches and wildlife. They advise you to take plenty of warm and waterproof clothing (even in summer) but their recommendation is go!
The outing to Buckfastleigh has proved so popular that it has already sold out.
Please contact Jill to register for any places on the reserve list.
All Saints’ Church Hall, Sidmouth on Wednesday 18th April 2018 at 2.30pm
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Sidmouth Centre will be held in All Saints’ Church Hall, Sidmouth on Wednesday 18th April 2018 at 2.30 pm. Minutes of the 2017 AGM and the Annual Statement of Accounts will be available at the meeting.
Nominations for Officers or other elections to the Committee must be made by Members in writing, to be in the hands of the Secretary by Tuesday 3rd April 2018.
1. Opening and welcome by the Chairman
2. To confirm the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 7th April 2017
3. Treasurer’s Report and adoption of the statement of accounts for the year
4. Resolution to increase membership subscriptions as recommended in the Treasurer’s Report.
5. Annual Report by the Chairman
6. Notice given in accordance with clause G4 of the Constitution
6.1 The Membership Secretary has served on the Committee for more than five years and is (in accordance with clause G4 of the Constitution) ineligible for immediate re-election at the AGM unless the following motion, which allows a relaxation of the clause, is duly signed by ten Association Members in accordance with Clause G4 of the Constitution by approval of this AGM.
6.2 This meeting relaxes the requirements of clause G4 of the Constitution, so enabling Mr David King to stand for re-election to the Committee until the next AGM.
7. Election of Officers and Committee Members
The following have been nominated for election:-
Officers: Mr Robert Hudson Chairman Mrs Cynthia Ive Secretary
Mr John Prescott Treasurer
Committee members Mrs Vivien Rands Social Secretary
Mr David King Membership Secretary
Mrs Jill Glazier Outings Secretary
Vacant Publicity Secretary
Vacant Theatre Club Secretary
8. To elect a Financial Examiner for the ensuing year.
9. Any other business, previously notified in writing to the Secretary.
Our first event of 2018 was a talk by East Devon born Peter Dare, for 15 years Master Mason at Exeter Cathedral. He explained how the cathedral’s construction took place in the Norman period 1114-1200 and Medieval period 1279 -1390, hence its features represent several different architectural styles.
Peter described how different aspects of the cathedral were fabricated with stone from various quarries. These have been identified from the Cathedral’s Fabric Rolls (building accounts) and, as restoration has been carried out, many of the original quarries have been reopened to provide the right authentic stone for the work
Quarries in Branscombe, Salcombe Regis, Beer and Luscombe have all provided workable fine quality for the dressed stone with volcanic rock being used for the hidden back-filling of walls.
Peter’s own masonry skills were illustrated in photographs of carved ornamental figure heads (known as grotesques) along the north wall. Reflecting the freedom masons were given in the past as to their choice of subjects these include Butch the pipe smoking dog, Peter’s young daughter and many humorous depictions of cathedral officials.
In his conclusion Peter reflected on the need for a fine balance between restoration of the original and replacement with something new. It is reassuring that this work continues with the announcement that, after some years of planning, one of the Cathedral’s badly eroded pinnacles is to be replaced.
The East Devon Rangers are organising a series of hedge-laying days throughout the winter. Anyone can join in, even complete novices like your Vice-Chairman! The next event will be on January 6th. If you would like to get involved then call the Rangers on 01752 346585 for details.