Category Archives: History

Local history, pictures, stories.

All the fun of the Fair!

Fairs have been visiting Bideford for one hundred and fifty years at least and even though today they face huge competition from computer games and local attractions the travelling show people still come. The history of the fair in Bideford … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago – August 1917.

Meetings are held around the district to mark the 3rd Anniversary of the start of the war. Mr W T Charlwood presided over an evening gathering on Bone Hill. The salute was given by the Scout Bugle Band and prayers … Continue reading

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A brief history of the Custom House.

Bideford’s buildings are constantly being reinvented – and anyone walking along to the Post Office will have noticed the old Custom House has become a new coffee shop – with some of the best views over the river from its … Continue reading

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A brief history of the Palladium Club.

The Club began life in 1919 as the stables for the Heavitree Inn. In 1926 it was the Palladium Cinema and the ticket office was situated where Patts’ Fruit and Vegetable shop now is in Mill St. Later it became … Continue reading

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Bideford’s Newfoundland links & the Chope Collection.

Devon has strong historic links with the Canadian Province of Newfoundland dating back to the 16th Century, when boats from local ports sailed to the waters of Newfoundland to fish for cod. Initially men left Devon in April and returned … Continue reading

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HMS ‘Alliance’ visits Lundy.

During the month of April 1967, the submarine HMS ‘Alliance’ was operating in home waters in the South of England and for a day or two anchored off Lundy. One submariner, whose name is unknown, came ashore and probably spent … Continue reading

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Two Bideford-built schooners of the Nineteenth Century.

“Buzz” was contacted in June by Roger Banfield of Scilly seeking information on the schooner “Vivid”, built in Bideford in 1851 (see Shipping Notes 136, July edition). Mr. Banfield undertakes maritime history research for his own interest, and also in … Continue reading

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Lundy’s wartime farming problems.

  In May 1940, Martin Coles Harman, the owner of Lundy, made the surprising decision to lease the island for a period of ten years to a Mr. Herbert A. Van Os. His reasons have never been fully understood, but … Continue reading

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Memories of Bideford Shipyard.

Many thanks to Mr. Freddie Palmer, who provided these photos. We’re sure that they’ll be of interest to many people. “Buzz” is dating the photos of the trawler “Galatea” as 1975, since records show that as date of launch.  Names … Continue reading

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Christmas in Nineteenth-Century Bideford.

by Liz Shakespeare. Today, our local newspapers are full of advertisements for Christmas presents, Christmas events and Christmas meals, but when we look at the newspapers of the nineteenth century, it is apparent that the festival was a less commercial … Continue reading

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Hungarians, not Bidefordians.

I was rather surprised to see the photograph (see above) on the first page of the July ‘Buzz’ labelled ‘An early Bideford Town Band’. The gentlemen shown went by the name of the ‘Hungarian Band’. They were a group of … Continue reading

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‘The Book of Hartland’.

While Bideford Library has marched boldly into the 21st Century with its Wi-Fi and e-book service, we shouldn’t forget the wealth of historical material also kept here. We have a wonderful set of old photographs and also an impressive collection … Continue reading

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Time capsules and the Port Memorial.

Saturday April 11th saw an interesting event on the Quay when the restored Port Memorial and Ornamental Gardens were re- opened by the Mayor following refurbishment. Councillor David Howell had also organised a ceremony with the Sea Scouts to bury … Continue reading

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Training the Army Horse.

(Whilst turning out old cassette tapes recently, I came across a recording in Devonshire dialect, made by my father, Percy Reed (1907 – 2001) of Northam, in 1985. It told the tale of a childhood incident in which he was … Continue reading

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Freemasonry in Bideford.

‘Buzz’ has been very fortunate to receive various donations from Bideford’s Freemasons. They are well known for their charitable work and many local organisations have benefited from their fund-raising. I asked Peter Christie what he could tell us about the … Continue reading

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