One hundred years ago – July 1916.

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Hay and Straw Harvest.                           The 1916 crop is to be held for Army purposes. Under Defence of the Realm Regulations all hay, oat and wheat straw on the 1916 crop of England and Wales now standing in the field in bulk or as and when it is harvested will be bought by the Government. At this stage there are no instructions to farmers as to how they may secure their own supplies.

In the Bideford Borough Tribunal the Recruiting Sergeant has complained that Sidney Smith, aged 39, a motor driver in the employment of H. Hopkins, was to be allowed exemption to undertake driving duties for Mr Metherell who is required to go and buy hay and straw for the Government up to October this autumn.

The August Bank Holiday this year will be suspended. The Government, said Prime Minister Mr Asquith, has decided that it is essential in the national interest that there shall be no holidays, general or local and a Proclamation would be made to this effect.

Schoolboys both in Old Town Boys School and in the Grammar School have volunteered to help with the harvest. No extension to the set dates will be allowed despite several pleas from Councillors.

Bideford Town Council was anxious to secure a larger supply of water for the growing urban area. Late last year they had visited a possible site between Upcott and West Ashridge farms where a new reservoir might be built by throwing a dam across the Jennetts stream. In February this year an engineer had visited the site and measured water flows, and calculated that a reservoir of 27 million gallons could be built. It was envisaged the Gammaton Reservoir would continue to supply the summer requirements and the new lake will help with the winter demand.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery : June.

fish ad

This dish, developed in New Orleans in 1899, was named after the richest man in America – John D. Rockefeller – as it has a very rich taste!

Oysters Rockefeller.

Ingredients-for 24 Oysters to share

I garlic clove.

Half a bag of fresh spinach.

I bunch of watercress, stems trimmed and bunch of chopped spring onions.

Unsalted butter.

Half a cup of breadcrumbs.

1 tablespoon Pernod.

Half a tsp Tabasco.

24 fresh Oysters, shucked, reserved in their shells.

Parmesan cheese ,grated.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to a high setting.
  2. Chop garlic in small food processor adding spinach, watercress and spring onions.
  3. Process until mixture is finely chopped.
  4. Place in a bowl then combine butter, breadcrumbs, Pernod, fennel and tabasco sauce in processor. Process until well blended
  5. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process briefly until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. At this point sprinkle rock-salt over a large baking sheet -half an inch deep and arrange oysters in rounded half shells on top. This keeps the shells upright and ensures they retain their juices.
  7. Top each oyster with 1Tbsp. of green vegetable mix. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Bake until cheese browns on top -about 8mins.

Serve hot with a refreshing drink.

Oyster Dressings-

Mother’s Ruin – Gin, lime red chilli.

Retro – Pernod, shallots, white wine vinegar.

The Wurzels – Apple, ginger, cider vinegar.

Turning Japanese – Wasabi, pickled ginger, rice wine vinegar.

Buck the Trend – Sea buckthorn, cider vinegar, Vodka, sugar.

The Frenchay – Shallots, red wine vinegar.

– or just Plain with a squeeze of lemon.

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One hundred years ago – June 1916.

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War-time appeals continue.

The Royal Navy appeal to the Bideford men with sea experience to join up for the Yacht Patrol Division in the Royal Navy. Seamen and firemen can be guaranteed £1-10s per week with 10 shillings food allowance when not victualled. Assistant cooks and stewards will be paid £1-5s per week and 3rd Engineers £2-8-0d. They are also seeking carpenters who will be paid £1-15s per week.

The waste paper collection system set up and described in last month’s edition is now fully operational. The depot at the Fish Market is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9 -1 o’clock. The patriotism encouraged by saving paper is further reinforced at the foot of the advertisement with the exultation “God Save the King”.

Appeals against call up are heard in all the local towns and in Bideford 27 were heard during the second week of June 1916. Albert Henry Prance, 28 of Mill Street, a fish and chip shop proprietor, applied for a second time for an additional period of exemption. His appeal was refused as it was felt that this work could be done by a woman. W C Friendship, a baker of Market Place, applied for exemption on behalf of Alexander Penhorwood, 28 and married. Another of his employees named Darch had been granted exemption on the ground that the bakery would not be able to function without them. Both were exempted until 1st October and Friendship was required to seek replacement staff as soon as possible. Miss Turner of Abbotsham appealed for extra time for Sidney Slee, 29, saying that Slee and a 14 year old boy were all that she had to look after the farm which included 73 bullocks and 87 sheep. This appeal was denied.

R.Blackmore and Sons, auctioneers, have been instructed to sell the following vehicles:

A 4-wheel dog cart.

Two-wheel Battlesden car. (Our research has found that this was a light 4 seater trap which is pulled by a pony)

A La Buire 5 seater Touring car 18 HP and leather upholstery

A Siddeley Wolseley 5 seat 12 HP tourer.

All these vehicles have been in private ownership and have been well looked after.”

R. D. Blackmore are advertising for auction at their Bideford Quay premises a considerable part of the estate of the late H.G.Heaven, Vicar of Lundy. Included are cut glass Bohemian vases, large Oriental jars, Dresden, Spode and Wedgwood china and many silver items weighing in total 750 ounces. The extensive sale catalogue concludes with a roasting jack!

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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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 the difficulties of reaching the island during the war, provisioning the island, and the shortage of staff may all have contributed to this decision. It is known that Mr. Felix William Gade, agent and administrator of Lundy from 1925 to 1971, was totally against this leasing arrangement. In his memoirs entitled “My Life on Lundy”, published in 1978, and in chapter 10, Mr. Gade tells us exactly what he thought of Mr. Van Os and his abilities as a farmer.

Van Os had a small farming business in Middlesex and persuaded Martin Coles Harman that he could run the farm on Lundy to a profit. He brought a couple of men with him, who turned out to have had no farming experience whatsoever, and a lady to run the hotel and shop. Mr. Gade and his wife Rene moved into Millcombe House, the home of the owners, with the remit of simply keeping a watchful eye on the farm activities.

In fact Gade still had to perform many of the farm tasks, such as sheep shearing, ploughing and repairing and maintaining of machinery, as Van Os and his men were quite incapable of performing these tasks. The sheep were uncared for and most lambs died, the crops were not harvested in time and rotted in the fields and the deer were shot in large numbers, including the last of the fallow deer. The shippons were not cleared of dung and the cows not milked on time. One of the only two work horses on the island was allowed to die of a chill. The whole farming structure of the island was virtually wrecked and left in ruins when Van Os finally departed.

Probably at Gade’s suggestion, Martin Coles Harman came down, alone, to Lundy for Christmas 1941 and after discussions with Van Os which were likely to have been very heated (although Gade in his memoirs does not specifically say so), in February 1942 Van Os and his employees departed Lundy.

The Gades soldiered on for the rest of the war, restoring and running the farm, keeping the island supplied and dealing with the few visitors that were able to get there. There was a small Royal Navy Contingent of men billeted at the Old Light and the Light House keepers to provide occasional volunteer work, plus one or two other workers that remained. The island had no ship of its own during the war and all ships and visitors to the island, including even the owners, had to obtain permits from Admiral H. G. Franklin, the commandant of the Appledore and estuary area, who handed them out grudgingly.

Documents with the signature of Herbert Van Os from the period he was on Lundy are very rare but a single item, a postcard, is in the collection of the writer of these notes. It is dated Nov. 1941, and indicates that at least some farming activity was carried on during that unfortunate time. Typically, no postage stamps were placed on the card, which bears postage due stamps for 4d.

L1

Addressed to Messrs G. T. Andrews & Sons Ltd., Town Mills, Barnstaple, the text ran as follows:- “We have today shipped to you the undermentioned:-

46 lbs Locks.

7 lbs Fleece.

The above will be laying at Royal Navy Stores, The Quay, Appedore. Hope that you can collect when in district. Have you sent off poultry grain and have I coupons for a sack of middlings? (Signed) Herbert Van Os.”

L2

This short text actually says quite a lot. It shows that sheep were being shorn, even though probably by Mr. Gade, and that the wool was being transferred and sold on the mainland. Interestingly the fleeces were being deposited in the Royal Naval Stores at Appledore, under the beady eye of Admiral Franklin no doubt. It is also worthy of note that in war time, farmers still needed ‘coupons’ to purchase some of their supplies, in the same way as ration books were issued to the ordinary citizens. And what are ‘Middlings’ ? *

This story of Herbert Van Os and Lundy during wartime is covered in much greater detail by Mr. Gade in his memoirs, as indeed he covers almost every moment of the last 53 years of his life that he spent on Lundy.

Roger Allen.

****
*

‘Middlings’.

29th April.

Dear Editor,

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the May edition of Bideford Buzz, particularly the articles on ‘War Time Savings’ and ‘Wartime Farming Problems’ on Lundy.

In the latter, Roger Allen queries, “What are Middlings?”

I remembered that they were a form of second quality wheat, but checked for a fuller definition in a post-war book of mine, entitled “The Principles and Practice of Feeding Farm Animals” (1st published – 1940). I attach the entry for Roger’s enlightenment (see below).

Many thanks for your efforts in producing your fine community newsletter.

Yours sincerely,

John Hobbs. (Buckland Brewer)

Middlings

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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery; May.

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Here is a recipe for Saffron Mayo -suitable for an accompaniment for grilled fish and any fish salad.

Saffron Mayo.

Ingredients.

150g Mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon Saffron Powder/Ground Saffron

Squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice

150ml Natural Yoghurt.

Method.

1. If you can source Saffron Powder, this recipe is easy!

2. To produce the ground saffron – dry fry the strands very briefly for 5 secs in a hot pan until crisp, then grind in a pestle and mortar. This can then be stored for future use.

3. Combine all the ingredients and chill.

4. Makes 300ml of primrose and gold coloured light mayonnaise.

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One hundred years ago – May 1916.

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War-time savings continue.

Street lighting.

The Mayor, Mr. F.R. Chope, hopes that in view of the Daylight Saving Bill having been passed by parliament no public lamps should be lit in the town during June, July and August.

Paper saving.

The Bideford UDC have decided to grant the Bideford Chamber of Trade rent free use of a loft at the market for the collection and disposal of waste paper which will be sent away and repulped. This will alleviate the shortage and deficiency created by restricted importation of wood pulp. The action would also considerably lessen the need for horses and manual labour. The store is over the Borough Fish Market and a paper baler will be purchased at a cost of £19:0:0d. Waste paper will be collected 3 times each week and can also be brought in.

Sapper W.H. Westlake, Royal Engineers, of Chanters Road Bideford has received the Silver medal of the Russian Order of St. George, fourth class, in recognition of gallant services at the second Battle of Ypres. Sapper Westlake was formerly in charge of Bideford Telephone Exchange and was a prominent member of the swimming club.

Lance Corporal Fred T. Cole, in acknowledging the receipt of a pair of knitted socks from Bideford, mentioned that they were spoilt when he took them into action in the pocket of his British Warm coat on March 8th. Only one bullet went through them but as the socks were folded it made so many holes that they were useless.

This advertisement appeared on the front page of the paper:

Farleighs Stores Bideford. Telephone 79.

A special offer of sardines for sale –

1000 small tins of Choice Quality @ 2½d.

1000 large tins of Good Quality @ 6½d.

500 large tins of Very Choice Quality @10½d.

500 medium tins of Finest French @ 8½d.

1000 tins of Skipper & Topmast Brand Brisling* in Oil and Tomato @6½d.

*(Brisling were formerly called sardines)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – April.

 

Mussels in Beer Broth with Cheesy Rarebits.

Ingredients.

For the Mussel broth –

2 Spring onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves-chopped

1 kg(2lb) fresh mussels, cleaned and beards removed

1 tbsp. cream

Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the Rarebits-

50g(2oz) butter

1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced

25g(1oz) flour

1x330ml bottle beer- Clearwater Brewery beers are good!

125g(4oz) Cheddar grated

1or 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

8 slices of Toast – sourdough, granary or white.

Method

1. For the rarebits – melt the butter in a pan. Add the leeks and cook until softened. Stir in the flour, cook for 2mins.then stir in 125ml(4floz) beer, the cheese and 1 tbsp. mustard. Season with a little black pepper. Let stand to combine.

2. In a lidded pan melt the remaining butter. Add the shallots and fry for 5 mins. or until golden. Add the garlic and the remaining beer, leave to bubble for 2-3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, spread the rarebit mixture on the bread. Toast under a hot grill until melted and golden.

4. Tip in the mussels, then cover the pan with the lid and steam for 4-5 minutes, until opened (discard any that remain closed). Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, leaving the liquor in the pan. Whisk the cream parsley with the remaining mustard into the mussel liquor. Season. Pour over the mussels.

Serve with the rarebits. Good to share with family and friends.

 

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One hundred years ago – April 1916.

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Mr A.W. Cock has auctioned three freehold properties in the town. These were 7 Elm Grove, 13 Vinegar Hill and a dwelling house and stables at 1 Bull Hill, the latter premises formerly known as ‘The Cornish Arms’.

Bideford Borough Council holds tribunals every week, sitting in the Town Hall, to hear and determine applications for exemption from military service. Herniman Prust Woodyard, 32 years old and a proprietor of a grocery and provisions merchant’s business, was granted exemption as long as he remains in his present occupation. He has been left single-handed, as both his assistants have joined up and his 5 brothers are already serving in the Army.

Albert Henry Prance, a Fish and chip shop proprietor, claimed that his wife could not carry on the business which would have to be closed if he went to war. It was obvious that such a business was a great advantage to the people living in the neighbourhood. He was granted a one month exemption.

Any ladies who are interested in Motor Cycling should inspect the latest model, the “Royal Ruby” 2-stroke motorcycle, perfect in every detail, now on show at Messrs .George Boyle, 1, Allhalland Street.

At a meeting of Bideford Urban District Council it was decided that the names of those who had volunteered for the war should be displayed on boards fixed on to the Market walls.

The Taw & Torridge Fishery Conservators heard a status report from the Superintendent Water Bailiff. Large numbers of salmon have passed through the town and on to the upper waters of both rivers. Salmon fishing was very good and a good number of fish have been taken. The weather has been too cold for trout fishing.

Henry Hopkins of Bideford was summoned for using headlights on his motorcycle at 10.10pm on 29th March. He pleaded guilty through ignorance. Superintendent Hulland said that under current wartime regulations, no headlights were to be carried within six miles of the sea or estuary. Mr Hopkins was fined 2/6d.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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Home Fire Safety check.

DS2016-1807 Blatchcombe Parish Magazine PosterDS2016-1807 Blatchcombe Parish Magazine Editorialwww.dsfire.gov.uk

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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery : March.

Tray- bake Skate Wing.

Skate has a wonderful sweet tasting flesh with a subtle flavour. The bones are flat and glutinous and the flesh should be scraped from the bones from the thick skate1side down to the thin edge. Some people eat all the flat cartilage bones! A good dish to share with friends for Easter or a simple Good Friday lunch.

Skate is on the ‘red’ MSC (Marine Conservation Society) sustainable fish list. However, there are several types of skate, and on the whole the Skate wings bought from local sources will be the sustainable type.

 

Ingredients -serves 2 (add extra small /medium skate wings for extra servings.)

2 medium size skate wings.

Splash of olive oil.

Salt and pepper.

19 baby plum tomatoes.

2 tablespoons mini capers or chopped capers.

2 tablespoon chopped parsley.

2 tablespoon chopped oregano.

1 whole bulb of garlic.

Method

1. Cut the tomatoes in half and sprinkle over the fish, adding the capers and herbs.

2. Brush the bulb of garlic with the side of the knife, leaving the skin on.

3. Add the fish, with a good splash of white wine and a little more olive oil.

4. Bake in the oven at 180 /gas mark 6, or in the centre of a solid fuel cooker, for 20 mins.

5. The flesh will come away from the central cartilage when the fish is cooked.

6. Serve with crusty bread.

The Appledore Fish Summer School 2016 programme will be promoting local skate and have sessions on rays, skate and sharks – cookery demonstrations, tasting, and talks. We are still looking for ideas and volunteers -so please contact me if you are interested – Felicity Sylvester on brilliantfishsw@gmail.co.uk

-Thanks, Felicity.

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One hundred years ago – March 1916.

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The death has occurred in his 90th year of the Reverend Hudson G. Heaven, whose family own Lundy Island. He had been parish priest on Lundy for 57 years. The cortege bearing his coffin embarked from Bideford on Captain Dark’s skiff “The Gannet” for interment in the family vault on the island. He has been succeeded on the island by his son, Mr Walter Heaven.

At this time of the year the ‘Gazette’ is full of seed merchant adverts, one local supplier being Messrs. Yeo & Son. Every kind of seed imaginable is on offer. On receipt of a Postal Order for 1/6d, the gardener will receive 10 packets of assorted vegetable seeds and 4 of flower seeds. As a bonus, they will also receive a packet of “Quite Content Peas”, whose pods reach an extraordinary 7” in length, and one of “Red Giant Beans” which can grow pods 15-16” long.

At Tanton’s Hotel, Mr. A.W. Cock auctioned a shop and premises in Bideford High Street, immediately adjoining the Post Office, together with 3 cottages in the rear giving a back entrance from Lower Gunstone. Bidding started at £1000, but the property was withdrawn at £1500.

In financial news, 4 original shares of £10 each for the Bideford Gas Company were purchased by Mr. J. Squire, at £24 each. He also purchased 30 £5 shares in the Bideford Public Rooms Company Ltd at £2.12.6d each.

At the Bideford Town Council meeting the Lighting Committee reported that they had arranged to turn off a further 34 street lamps. In all 96 lamps have now been turned off, which comprises about half of the public lamps in the town. Most of the grumbling had ceased and it was thought they might be able to put out a few more lamps.

Mr. H.R. Bazeley questioned why a great deal of waste paper was found in the scavengers’ carts. He felt it would be a benefit to the town if old paper could be repulped. At present much of it is burned on the river bank.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

***

Also from the archives (1932, not from a Century ago) – thanks Peter Christie for this:-

Bd 1932 Library copy

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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 supplied by Freddie Palmer & Kenny Davis. 

Any further photos for publication would be welcomed, as would memories of the Shipyard’s history.

 

122a

Above,  L-R : Phil Pester, Harold Braund, Bill ‘Bimbo’ Hocking, Fred Palmer, Matty Blackmore.

 

3

Above,    L-R on deck : Alan Tuplin, ?, Phil Pester.

on slipway : ?, Colin Pennington, ?.

 

4

5

Above,   Alan Walker.

66a

L-R : Des Roberts, Raymond Garrard, Matty Blackmore.

****

Buzz” shipping correspondent Norman Hardaker has supplied a schedule of vessels launched at Bideford Shipbuilders between 1966 & 1975 (listed as Name, category, & displacement).

1966.

Isle of Gigha / Sound of Gigha – ferry, 60.35 tons.

1967.

Fregata – fishing, 44.8 tons.

Sagitario – fishing, 44.8 tons.

Ibis – fishing, 44.8 tons.

1968.

Nocella – fishing, 22.17 tons.

Hasa Hasa – fishing, 40 tons.

Joanna C – fishing, 25 tons.

1969.

Don Bosco – fishing, 24.9 tons.

Polo – barge, 41.22 tons.

1970.

Our Tracey – fishing, 25.11 tons.

Barbarella – fishing, 25.11 tons.

WB.01 – WB.05 (5 vessels) – work boats, 25 tons.

1971.

Gull – pilot, 22 tons.

Miss Anna – tug, 83.21 tons.

1972.

Miss Debbie – tug, 83.21 tons.

Guardwell – customs, 30 tons.

Tri Star – passenger, 42.8 tons.

Polo II – hopper barge, 58.29 tons.

1973.

Peter David – passenger, 17.11 tons.

Golden Mariana – passenger, 40 tons.

1974.

Grima – ferry, 147.76 tons.

RNLB City of Bristol – lifeboat, 90 tons.

Langdale – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Majestic – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Solent Scene – passenger, 50 tons.

1975.

Vision – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Galatea – trawler, 102.5 tons.

 

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For photos and information on some of the vessels on the above list that are still in use, link here. (By kind permission of ShipPhotos).

**************

 

Happy Hours at the Bideford Ship Yard.

If I ever had the joy of ‘happy hour’ in my long working life, it has to be the two and a half years at Bideford Ship Yard, between coming home from the Dark Continent in 1972 until August 1974 when again returning to the African Veld.

At the Bideford Yard in those far off days we didn’t get as much on the hour compared to the big yard a mile down river, but we had plenty of daily laughs and a pleasure to go to work.

Looking at the front cover of the February edition showing photos of the former yard sent in by Fred Palmer (well done that man) – and yes, I do recognise most in the photo – Harold Braund, Bimbo Hocking, Fred Palmer, Mattie Blackmoor, can be seen standing on the nearby platform; in the second photo I can recognise Alan Tuplin, and further in the middle of three Bogey Clover, Colin Elliot and Steve Wicks.

There was one old hand in the ‘afternoon’ of his working life (Fred will remember him), a shipwright in his younger days serving King and country, who saw action at the River Plate aboard HMS Exeter . He had a number of repetitive catch phrases – ‘it can’t go on like this’, ‘the money’s run out,’ ‘where is it all going to end.? ‘ Then there was another shipwright of the same age who would more often than not break into song and sing his praises to the Lord for all the yard to hear :- ‘ it is not night while they are near.’

There was one piece of satire written on the toilet house wall – ‘ thank goodness for the raft, just to say we have launched something.’

One shipwright went by the name of ‘give us a fag’ ; as for me I was known at times as the ‘snorter king.’

Happy days,happy memories.

Kenny Davis – Blacksmith. Retired.

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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – February.

fish ad

Cod Caramba.

So winter is here, the cold weather has finally started, and this colourful Mexican standard fish recipe is simple to prepare and is a lovely warming family supper dish.

Cod is now available and is often on special offer as it has bigger quota and is no longer on a sustainable fish-to-be-avoided list. Pollack ,Ling or Coley will be just as good and still cheaper!

Ingredients

450g/1lb cod fillets or Pollack, coley or any inexpensive white fish fillets.

225g/8oz smoked cod or any smoked white fish-pollack, haddock or whiting.

300g fish or vegetable stock.

50g/2oz butter.

1 onion sliced.

2 garlic cloves-crushed.

1 green +1red pepper-diced.

2 courgettes -diced.

115g/40z sweetcorn-canned or frozen.

2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

Juice of 1 lime.

Tabasco sauce.

Salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper.

For topping-

75g tortilla chips and 50g/2oz grated cheddar cheese

Coriander sprigs and lime wedges to serve.

Method

1, Lay the fish in a shallow pan and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 8-10mins only and then turn off the heat and leave to cool. Then drain and remove skin and separate the flesh into large flakes. Keep hot.

2, Fry the onion and garlic in the butter, cook gently until soft and add peppers and cook for 2mins. Stir in the courgettes and cook for 3 mins more.

3.Stir in the corn and tomatoes, add lime juice and tabasco to taste. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Cook for 2mins to heat through the corn and tomatoes, then stir in the fish and transfer to a heatproof dish-suitable to heat under the grill.

4, Preheat the grill. Make the topping by crushing the tortilla chips then mixing with grated cheese. Add cayenne pepper to taste and sprinkle over the fish mixture.

5. Place under the grill until the topping is crisp and brown. Garnish with coriander sprigs and lime wedges.

Pollack wrapped in Parma Ham.

If you have lots of Serrano Ham from that extra special deal this is a fantastic quick and easy dish, or you can make small wraps on cocktail sticks to eat with drinks – lovely. See recipe on www.brilliantfishonline.co.uk/recipes.

During 2016, I will also be reviewing fish dishes in a local restaurant, pub, fish and chips shop or street food outlet, and I will share a good recipe from these visits.

As I do not want to dine alone please could you send name and contact details in to the editor if you would like to join me – the name will be drawn from a hat. (We will have to pay for the meals ourselves). Thank you.

Felicity Sylvester.

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One hundred years ago – February 1916.

At a meeting of the War Agricultural Committee to discuss the shortage of labour, Mr W. T. Braddick, the Honourable Clerk, said “he was confident that despite the prejudice of many farmers, they would have to utilise women’s labour to make up for the shortage.”

Last week the Bideford War Supply Depot sent a bale of 100 pairs of socks, 250 pairs of mittens and 150 mufflers to the Military Forwarding Offices at Le Havre. This week the Depot will be forwarding a bale of felt slippers to St David’s Military Hospital in Malta.

William Hatch, a rabbit trapper, was summoned for setting 120 spring traps without the permission of the landowner, Mr Norman. Mr Hatch was fined 15 shillings.

Lionel E Davis, of Mill Street, has joined His Majesty’s Forces and has disposed of his dental practice to Mr W G Friendship.

Walter J Slee, auctioneer, reports that at the cattle market monthly auction, 100 choice bullocks were sold at good prices; 120 fat sheep were also snapped up. There was a good attendance of dealers.

Privately run Bideford Hospital, at its 66th Annual General Meeting, has elected retired Brigadier General Fanshaw as its new Chairman, to replace Mr F A Searle. Medical reports stated that 272 inpatients had been treated during the last year, 143 outpatients and 197 minor casualties. 288 operations had been carried out. Support for the hospital has continued despite the war and it is seen as an essential service for the Bideford community.

Owing to the recent spell of damp and mild weather, all vegetation is remarkably forward in North Devon. Trees are budding freely and in some cases blossom is appearing on pear trees.

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The Archive started work as a registered charity in 1985 and over 30 years has amassed a fascinating collection of photographs and documents that tell the exciting story of our local past. Some parts of the story are told in great detail; for example, copies of The Gazette newspaper dated from 1856 to the present day give us word by word accounts of shipping disasters, murder investigations, accident inquests, festivals and civic celebrations. We have detailed accounts of badger, fox and otter hunts where the names of the dogs highlight the pace of the game.

Likewise, we have hundreds of photographs and memorabilia donated by families who wish us to be the custodian of their family history. Sadly a number of the photographs are only partly useful to us because the all-important detail, such as date, location and persons present, are missing. Perhaps this is a lesson to us all. To preserve our family histories for future generations we should ensure that relevant information is attached.

In addition we have many other local collections and sources of information:-

  • 280 Ordnance Survey maps of North Devon area dating back to 1884

  • Birth Marriage & Death announcements 1856-1978

  • Prior to 1837 Birth Marriage & Death information was only recorded by the clergy and we have copies of the Bishops Transcripts for the North Devon area.

  • A complete Census set from 1841 for all of Devon on microfiche with the four local areas transcribed.

  • Churchyard plans and memorial inscriptions for St Mary’s Appledore; St Margaret’s Northam; East the Water Bideford & Old Town Cemetery Bideford.

  • Alphabetic lists of WW1 & WW2 casualties, War memorials & Rolls of honour.

  • Over 250 recorded conversations with local prominent people. Some unique insights are revealed!

  • Bideford Buzz back issues, Hartland Times and other village magazines.

  • Original planning applications and drawings for the rural districts of Holsworthy and Torrington as well as Bideford and Torridge back to early 1900s.

The Archive is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between 9.30 and 1.00 at the Council Offices in Windmill Lane, Northam, (Tel: 01237 471714) and a warm welcome is extended to anyone who wishes to visit us. It is run by volunteers who may be able to help with family history research or local information. Come and see us sometime!!

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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 affair.

Few shops advertised Christmas goods in the newspapers, but there were some exceptions:

screenshot_07(These advertisements are from the Bideford Gazette in 1869 and 1863).

We often hear complaints today that Christmas goods start appearing in the shops in September or October, but in 1886, it was only on the 23rd December that the following observation appeared in the North Devon Journal

Bideford Christmas at the shops. The shop windows are now in full festive attire – especially, of course, those of the grocers, drapers and stationers – and are receiving their full share of attention.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, many people had only one day’s holiday at Christmas. Boxing Day did not become a Bank Holiday until 1871 but it would appear that a holiday, for some people, was kept before that date by mutual consent.

A report in the Bideford Weekly Gazette on 22nd December 1857 stated:

Christmas Holiday The public are respectfully informed that the principal Merchants and Tradesmen of this Town, having kindly consented to suspend business on Saturday, 26th instant, being the day after Christmas-day, A general holiday will be kept on that day. The public are requested to facilitate the object by making their purchases on Thursday 24th December.

By 1885, some traders were taking a third day – this is from 1885, when Christmas Day fell on a Thursday. CHRISTMAS DAY passed very quietly at Bideford, as did also Boxing Day. Saturday was also exceedingly quiet. Most of the ironmongers, nearly all the shoemakers, and several other shopkeepers, kept up the holiday by closing their establishments on that day also.

It was expected that the poor should be remembered at Christmas and it was common practice for Christmas parties to be provided for those who might otherwise go without.

North Devon Journal 1st January 1863 –

The aged poor. Not the least interesting gathering of the poor at this festive season took place through the kindness of T.L. Pridham Esq. at his residence on Christmas day, when 65 of the oldest inhabitants of the town sat down to a sumptuous repast of old English fare of roast beef and plum pudding. The dinner was held in the hall which was tastefully decorated for the occasion. On the centre of the dining table was an elegant silver flower basket under a glass shade which was the gift of 500 of the poor inhabitants of Bideford.

This was Thomas Lawrence Pridham, a GP who lived in the house then known as Hyefield, in Pitt Lane. It seems rather strange that the ‘poor inhabitants’ should give him an apparently expensive present!

Those unfortunate enough to spend Christmas in the Workhouse were not forgotten and most years got a mention in the newspaper. In December 1864 it was reported:

The Bideford Guardians ordered roast beef and plum pudding for the poor in the Union Workhouse on Christmas Day, with other luxuries and a libation of good ale.

The market was the centre of activity for Christmas shopping and every year both the North Devon Journal and the Bideford Gazette carried an account of the Christmas market. This example is from the Bideford Gazette in 1859 –

The exhibition of Christmas fare displayed in our market on Tuesday last was very fine, and seldom have we seen a larger attendance of purchasers and sight-seers than was gathered there during a portion of the day. The average rates maintained throughout were: beef, 7d to 8d; mutton, 6d to 7½d; pork, 6½dto 7½d; turkeys 9d; geese 9d per lb; ducks, 3s each. Some of the stalls in the meat market were tastefully fitted up, conspicuous amongst which we observed were those of Mr R. Holman and Mr T. Holman (Bideford), Mr Fulford (Northam) and Mr Withecombe (Buckland Brewer)

The reporting of Christmas activities in Bideford was, of course, dependent on the interests and observations of the journalist. In 1851 Edward Capern, later known as the Bideford postman-poet, became the Bideford correspondent for the North Devon Journal, and his contributions were more detailed and descriptive than others – and sometimes included lines from his own poems. The following is from 27th December 1855, just after the opening of the railway from Barnstaple to Bideford.

The Season The time-honoured festival of Christmas is again present with us, a fact that appears to have so thoroughly occupied the public of this ancient town during the past week, that there is nothing but what relates to it left to record. The railway has given additional activity to the duties of the season; perhaps at no former period has there been so many Christmas visitors, persons who have found their way home by that cheap and rapid path. It is pleasing to see that the same liberality that has prevailed in former years is still the order of the day; the charity of the rich is introducing a gleam of sunshine into the dwellings of the poor. The great Birth-day was introduced by the merry music of the church bells, while the ‘waits’ made the night air vocal with their ‘carols’ in the streets. The grocers’ windows are decorated as befits the generous time – the new fruits never looked more tempting, nor found more customers. One object famous in Christmas decoration, which has reached us this year, and never was until now seen in the market, is the mistletoe – a visitor we owe to the rail.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the sending of Christmas presents and cards became more popular, as the following report illustrates. I have heard that it was not unusual for pheasants and chickens to be posted unwrapped with a label tied around their necks!

North Devon Journal 31st December 1896

The Christmas season produced a greater strain upon the officials of the Bideford Post Office than has ever been experienced before. The parcel post has been used to an unequalled extent, large quantities of poultry, Devonshire cream, and game, besides miscellaneous goods of all kinds having been despatched and delivered. The delivered parcels numbered 3,084 and weighed eight tons. There were despatched 2880 parcels weighing 7 tons 4 cwt. Christmas cards have been posted and delivered in much greater numbers than previously. The sale of postage stamps has exceeded the record of the 1894 season by nearly 100 per cent. The approximate number of letters passing through the office during the Christmas period was 143,000. I wonder how these statistics compare with today?

Liz Shakespeare is the author of four books set in the Bideford area.

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