One hundred years ago – February 1914.

  • In the Bideford Gazette during February there is a report of the second annual dinner of the Farmers Union which was held in the New Inn Hotel.

  • The town water supply is still causing problems and Bideford Urban District Council are discussing whether to turn off the water between 10 pm and 6 am in an effort to save a depleted supply reservoir.

  • On 17th February Charles Williams announced that he had sold his Cycle and Motor business at 1 Allhalland Street to Mr George Boyle – both the name and premises will still be familiar to many of you.

We are all aware of what is about to happen to Britain in the second half of 1914 but the events that led to World War 1 are far from widely understood. In the forthcoming months we will look at local events, places and people who became casualties of the conflict.

This month’s contribution from the Bideford Archive concludes with a request for some help. We have a considerable amount of 16 mm home movie films and have no idea what they are about and need some way of viewing and cataloguing them. If you are able to help, please contact us on 471714 or come to our offices at Windmill Lane, Northam.


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More about the Bridge Trust.

Having talked about how the Trust came to be set up and its involvement with property in the town I will now discuss the very wide range of things the Trust has funded.

Trustees have always been interested in education, having set up a Commercial School in 1762 and paying the teacher’s salary of £12.50 per year. This taught useful subjects to ready young Bidefordians for a merchant’s life – it continuing until well into the nineteenth century. In 1823 the Church of England set up a ‘National’ School in Old Town on the site now occupied by the Fire Station – with the Trust paying the teacher’s salary of £35 per year.

Some 15 years later local nonconformists established the ‘British’ School in Higher Gunstone (the building is still there) and the Trust, in a wonderful example of non-sectarianism, paid the £35 per annum salary of the school’s teacher. In 1844 an infant school was built at the top of Honestone Street (today’s Angling Club) and the Trust became a generous benefactor to this – as it did when the School of Art on the Quay was built in 1896.

When the new Bideford College first became a solid project I, as chairman of the Trust, was approached by the College head Veronica Matthews wondering whether we would like to ‘buy some computers’ for the new school. Veronica is an ex-tutee of mine (so is Katie Hopkins but the less I say about her the better I think!) and I was glad that the Trust gave £1/2 million (its largest ever grant) to the scheme.

Today any student living within the parish of Bideford is automatically eligible for £400 worth of book grants if they enter higher education. We also offer bursaries of £500 per annum and even ‘hardship grants’ to all students in the area. We also fund youngsters going on school trips where teachers wish us to help students from poorer backgrounds.

The Trust also gives backing to a lot of the local sports clubs including rowing, football and rugby – and in the 1720s we even set up a ‘Bowling Green’ somewhere near the top of High Street – which for me always conjures up a picture of errant bowls rolling down the hill to the river!

One group has always been high up on our list of those we help – the poor. In the eighteenth century we gave £12 annually to help the poor of Bideford, as well as one-off payments such as giving £20 in 1766 to buy food and sell it at subsidised prices to the poor ‘at this time of dearness of Corn’. In 1831 there was very high unemployment in the town and the Trust put aside two acres of land in Northdown Lane (as it then was) for use as allotments – the first established in Bideford. Again in 1797 William Richards ‘a poor Aged Man’ was given 3 guineas (£3.15) ‘to buy him a Horse to carry Coals in lieu of his Horse which lately broke his Thigh.’ Today we still deal with cases passed on to us by Social Services and various other charities.

The Trust regularly helps with medical issues having put funds towards hospital minibuses, the ‘Chestnut Appeal’, electric wheelchairs and specialist medical equipment for our local hospital. Back in 1787 (and on two other occasions) we even paid for the town’s poor to be inoculated against smallpox – and paid for one poor individual to be treated for his mental illness at ‘Bedlam’ hospital on London.

Other funding has been directed to fire fighting – in the 1770s we bought the town’s first fire engine – really a large pump, and also its second in 1803 when the town council refused to spend the money. More recently we paid for the new toilets in Victoria Park, the Queen’s Jubilee fountains on the Quay and helped fund the Jubilee Square scheme.

Finally we have had a long tradition of paying for apprenticeship indentures and the tools needed by these young people. Today such traditional apprenticeships have gone and so we now fund ‘Business Start-Ups’ where people on low incomes or who are unemployed and who wish to start in business are given a two part grant of £5000 to help them on their way. This scheme has been running for 16 years now and although not every one has been successful many people are now running their own business and employing others.

You may have been surprised at what the Trust does – certainly, without its benign presence in the town, Bideford and its surrounding area would be by far the poorer. If you wish to know more about the Trust and its history there is a small booklet entitled ‘The Long Bridge of Bideford through the centuries’ available from Walter Henry’s in High Street or the Burton Art Gallery and museum.

Peter Christie


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Shipping news No.107 (November 2013/ January 2014).

In port -Yelland.

Aressa - (Ex Baltiyskiy 105) ; built 1978 ; flag St. Petersburg ; owners Russian ; from Warrenpoint to Lubeck ; crew Russian ; arrived 28.11.13, sailed 30.11.13 ; loaded 2,250 tons timber.

Pride - (ex Wani Pride, 2005 : Accumersiel , 2002) ; built 2002 ; flag Gibraltar ; owners German ; from Glensanda to Briton Ferry ; crew Russian & Ukrainian ; arrived 29.12.2013, sailed 7.1.2014 ; discharged 3,000 tons chippings. (This vessel was originally due before Christmas;she loaded at Glensanda on the 19th then went to anchorage at Loch Linnie due to the bad weather,sailed down the Irish coast as far as Drogheda where again she had to shelter due to adverse weather conditions. Berthed on the 29th awaiting rising tides,completed discharge on evening of 30th, but due to weather could not sail until 7/1/14).

In port – Bideford.

No loadings.

Oldenburg has been to Sharpness 12.11.13 for drydocking, returns to service March/April (apart from a few cargo runs during the winter. Returned to Bideford 3.12.13)

It is with regret that we received news before Christmas of the death of the owner of the Kathleen and May, Steve Clarke OBE ; everybody connected with Buzz send their condolences to his family.

In port – Appledore.

Arco Dart at Appledore 16.11.13, 17.11.13, 1.12.13, 2.12.13.

The Irish patrol vessel, LE Samuel Beckett being built at Appledore is still due to go on trials at the end of January.

According to the Journal website the cruise ship Prisendam is due off Ilfracombe 26 July for a visit (subject to weather conditions ) ; she has been here before.

Bristol Channel Observations

14.11.13 at 13.47 cargo vessel Algarve, 36,120 tons d.w, owners Camargue Schippahrtsgesell Germany, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 08.25.

15.11.13 at 08.35 cargo vessel YongXing, 22,307 tons d.w, owners Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co China/Poland, outward bound from Newport, having sailed at 03.49

16.11.13 at 15.15 cargo vessel Yangtze Ambition, 32,088 tons d.w., owners Tianjin CMB Sea Passion Shpg Shanghai China, inward bound for Avonmouth. (Seen again outward bound 23.11.13 at 15.00, having sailed at 09.23).

17.11.13 at 09.51 vehicle carrier Mignon, 28,127 tons d.w, owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway & Sweden, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.34 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,819 tons d.w owners Nippon Yusen Kiasha of Japan  inward bound for Portbury.

22.11.13 at 11.55 container vessel DS Agility, 13,856 tons d.w, owners DS Activity UND DS Agility Germany, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 09.01. At 12.45 tanker Tarantella, 46,764 tons d.w, owners Whitefin Shipping Co Ltd Houston USA, inward bound for Portbury.

23.11.13 at 15.54 hrs bulk carrier Burgia, 79,403 tons d.w, owners Burgia Schiffahrts Germany outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 10.09.

24.11.13 at 09.20 vehicle carrier Euro Spirit ,15,483 tons d.w., owners Nissan Motorcar Carriers Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 12.52 vehicle carrier Grande Italia, 12,594 tons d.w owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 07.27 .

27.11.13 at 09.06 vehicle carrier Grande Mediteranno, 18,427 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy inward bound for Portbury. At 11.10 vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Group of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

6.12.13 at 14.09 vehicle carrier Grande Spagne, 12,594 tons d.w., owners GrimaldiLine of Italy inward bound for Portbury.

17.12.13 at 14.00 vehicle carrier Global Spirit, 16,493 tons d.w., owners NissanMotor Car Carriers Japan inward bound for Portbury.

Various ships anchored at Clovelly on the 23/24.12.13 Scot Ranger (outward bound from Swansea) sailed on the 24th ; the other vessel was the Stadum, which sailed off to Newport.

26.12.13 at 13.02 the bulk carrier Cape Stefanic, 172,566 tons d.w, outward bound from Port Talbot. At 14.15 cargo vessel Birch 1, 24,306 tons d.w., owners Birch Shipping Ltd Hong Kong, inward bound for Avonmouth. (Also seen again outward bound on 31.12.13 at 14.30, having sailed from Avonmouth at 07.37).

Again between the 29.12.13 /1.1.14 various ships anchored off Clovelly as follows : the Vanguard (outward from Sharpness), the Burgtor (outward from Ireland), and the Selene Prahm (outward from Cardiff) – all sheltering from the adverse weather.

2.1.14 at 10.55 vehicle carrier Glovis Cougar, 22,532 tons d.w., owners GL Cougar Shipping Inc Marshall Islands, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 08.38

10.1.14 at 09.11 vehicle carrier Grande Ellade, 18,440 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 10.30 bulk carrier AP.Jadran, 79,336 tons d.w., owners Atlan Ice Panamax Corp Dubrovnik Croatia, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.27 . At 13.48 bulk carrier Panamax Sterling, 78,932 tons d.w., owners PX Sterling Marine SA Greece, inward bound for Portbury.

13.1.14 at 08.40 cargo vessel Chipolbrok Galaxy, 30,330 tons d.w., owners Chinese Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co China and Poland, inward bound for Newport.

14.1.14 at 10.48 bulk carrier Boronia K, 33,677 tons d.w, owners Tri Bulkships S.A Japan, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 05.32



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‘Families for Children’ information mornings.

Families for Children is a voluntary Adoption agency and charity based in Buckfast.   We place vulnerable children from all over the UK who have suffered extreme trauma through neglect and abuse within their birth families specifically with adoptive families in Devon. We don’t only find the families but we then support them for life if they need us.

We are now running regular information mornings to encourage those who have an interest in adopting to come and meet with us and other Adoptive families very informally once a month. We are finding it increasingly difficult to find families in North Devon.

Katey McDonald

Families for Children

Southgate Court



TQ11 0EE

01364 645480

Families for Children Adoption Information Mornings.

Have you ever considered Adoption?    Want to find out more about how you could give a vulnerable child a loving and secure family?    We hold information mornings one Saturday of every month where you can talk with our specialist adoption social workers and experienced adoptive parents about all aspects of adoption.

Our next open morning is May 10th from 10am to 12 noon.

You can book a slot by calling 01364 645480, email, or turn up on the day. Visit for further details and directions.

Information Mornings for 2014 -

May 10th
June 7th
July 5th
Aug 2nd
Sept 6th
Oct 4th
Nov 8th
Dec 6th


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“The Yuletide Logs”.

There’s an old Chinese saying, “He who loses his temper burns all the logs he took the summer to chop”. And I was reminded of it when I delivered some fire logs once to a needy customer on Christmas Eve some years back.

I must have been in my mid thirties; I was working as a fireman and living in a little village bounding the edge of a river that ran through the flat fenland countryside of Cambridgeshire.    In the village there lived and worked a family that built sheds and almost anything else wooden, they also owned a piece of low lying riverside land at the far end of which stood the remains of a couple of old Elm trees.    These ancient Elms had succumbed to the Dutch Elm disease but had the potential to be turned into logs and then money.

It was a simple agreement; the owner would supply a chainsaw and axe, and I would supply the labour and my old gardening trailer; we would then share any proceeds.    Mostly I could drive my old car and trailer along a track to be close to the trees but after heavy rain you’d need a tractor or tracked vehicle to journey the quarter mile or so from road to tree.

Such a day it had been just before one Christmas Eve, and the ‘guvner’ informed me that we had an order for a trailer load from a man in the next village for ‘Yuletide logs’ to warm his cosy family Christmas.   Nothing daunted, always willing to help, I set off with car and trailer, leaving them on hard standing by the field gate near the road, and I carried the chainsaw and fuel along that soaked, puddle filled, slippery mudded track.    Look, the word track is too generous, it was simply a poor field edge too awkward to cultivate that had been deeply rutted by the odd tractor.    I set to, that cold wet winter’s day, and cut large lumps of wood and branches to a size that I could only just about carry on my shoulders.     I carried those heavy timbers one by one, back and forth, and back and forth along that ‘track’, slipping, straining, and giving it all for this man’s Christmas logs.   Eventually the trailer was full.    Mud and all, I set off for the village yard where the owner had his business.   Once there I lifted the timbers from the trailer and cut them into fire log size pieces before splitting with the axe to reveal the beautiful dark swirls of knotted Elm.   Not easy work this knotted wood as by now all the easy bits had been sold off … but a family man in the next village is looking forward to this treasured bounty to brighten his family’s Christmas Day.     Logs lifted yet once more and reloaded, I set off to find the address, after a short search I found the house and approached the door.     ‘Bing, Bong’ the bell went, ‘your logs are here’, I said, by now it being mid afternoon of the ‘Eve’.     “Good, I’ve been waiting, you can put them in the garage,” the unsmiling man said pointing to the garage door at the top of the drive.

I reversed the trailer closer to the garage and began unloading those precious spiritual Christmas Yuletide logs, the centuries old fruits of mother earth and human toil.     ‘Thud, thud, clonk, clonk’ they went as I hurriedly transferred them from trailer to garage floor …. For, I too, had some hopes of a tolerable, if not happy, Christmas Eve.

‘Clonk, clonk, clonk’ went the logs into plastic bags as the nearly new owner frenziedly tried to keep up with me.    For the life of me I could not understand what he was doing, had he asked I would have gladly put them in the bags for him, but no, he was totally engrossed feverishly clonk, clonk, clonking the logs into his big plastic bags.    Most odd, he was seemingly devoid of the Christmas cheer that those hard won logs were supposed to have brought him.    Isn’t that why he wanted them?

Then the penny dropped; there was a small clue in what he said next; “Not many here for a trailer load is there? I expected more than this.”    He’d been counting the logs all along.    “Not sure they’re worth fifteen quid”. Was he after a discount?    He wasn’t going to get one from me I can tell you; I would gladly have laboured a little longer and taken them all back to the yard for a more deserving customer.     I think he must have sensed my disappointment at his displeasure that cold, wet Christmas Eve.     “Humph, oh well, it’s too inconvenient to get them elsewhere at this late hour, here’s your money, but I won’t have any more from you” so saying handing over £15 exactly, of which for my efforts half was to be mine.    So with nearly a day’s seriously hard labour behind me and with my body’s life no doubt shortened by about a week, I took his money.

Thank you” said I, “and a Merry Christmas”.

As I drove away I thought, “not much Christmas spirit there old boy, not much at all, not even a smile … he’d have smiled all right if he’d carried those logs for miles through the mud.”     Poor old logs, I wonder how he put them on the fire, did he pick them up with gratitude in his heart for the tree’s great sacrifice, was there a silent prayer of reciprocal warmth as he placed them on the burning embers?     It is one Christmas Eve I’ll not forget; not so much for the labour, the day or the fetching of the logs but the handing them over to endure abject slavery and an arboreal purgatory to boot. That day the man from the next village had forever burned more than simply firewood.

Can you guess the author of this story? To win a free copy of his collection of short stories of which this is one, send us the name of the author to the address on front page, email, text or post. We have five copies to give away by 15th Jan 2014. Clue – Tai Chi


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Buzz Word – December.

More memories of St Peter’s Church.

I have just caught up with the October issue of the Buzz and was most interested in Margaret Copp’s article on St. Peter’s Church. A Shamwickshire boy, I was born at the bungalow which stands by the bottom gate of Pollyfield. I was a choirboy at St. Peter’s for several years, and was often required to pump the organ when power failed. Mrs. Trigger was the organist at that time, also providing piano lessons at her home in Old Barnstaple Road; unfortunately I was not a successful pupil!

The initiation ceremony when I became a chorister in about 1945 was to be thrown by two older boys down the steep grassy bank near where the air raid shelter was later built. As far as I know everyone survived and became successful choirboys. I remember the annual outings which consisted either of a train ride to Ilfracombe for a short trip up the coast aboard a Campbell’s paddle steamer, or a rail trip to Torrington Common for a picnic where so much fizzy pop was supplied that most of us returned to Bideford with very unpleasant stomach ache!

I attach a photograph of Mrs. Trigger and the choir which was taken in about 1947. Strange for someone who now has an awful memory I still remember all the names, which I would be pleased to supply if anyone expresses interest.

From 1939 to 1945 I attended East the Water School in Torrington Street, and remember teachers Miss Bow, Miss Braddick, Miss Huxtable, Miss Smale and Miss Moase. Mrs. Anderton was the head teacher. Only once did I experience the pain of her ebony stick across my hand – and that was for something I hadn’t even done!

I hope these notes will bring back a few happy memories of childhood in Bideford to some of my pals of those far away days.

Many years on my daughter Wendy married Cris Mackie at St. Peter’s, their children Louise and Ian being christened there a few years later. Oh happy days!

Anthony Sanders.

Light Up A Life.

A chance this Christmas to remember family and friends who have passed away. I know that many local people have also taken great comfort from Light Up A Life over the years and I often think about my patients and their families at this special time.

Honour the memory of your loved ones by coming to one of our Light Up A life services. Alternatively, should you prefer to share the name of your loved one, you can do so online ( or by calling Gerard on 01271 347224 or Azey on 01271 347231 with your loved ones’ names and a credit card donation. In return, my colleagues will send you your own special dedication card with the name of your loved ones, which will also be included in all special Light Up A Life books of remembrance displayed at our services throughout December.All our care is provided to the local people of North Devon entirely free of charge, however it costs £4 million each year to provide this care in our community.

If you can, please make a donation to support your local hospice, because every pound you are able to donate makes a difference to the lives of so many local people whom we serve

Jude Ward (Community Nurse Specialist, North Devon Hospice).

Food Bank.

The Northern Devon Foodbank would like to thank its supporters whose big-heartedness has enabled us to provide the equivalent of almost 22,000 meals to local adults and children in crisis.As you enjoy good food and drink with family and friends, and exchange gifts and tidings of peace and goodwill throughout this festive period, please spare a thought for those people, not too far away, who are less fortunate and may not be experiencing the same simple pleasures. Charles Schulz said, “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone”, and later this month the Foodbank will be giving additional Christmassy items to those that need our support. The volunteers at the Northern Devon Foodbank wish you all a peaceful Christmas.

Ginette Berry.

On the shelf for five years.

In October 2013, I received an email from my cousin Linda, who lives in Canada, saying, ’I’ve just brought back a book from the boat and it occurred to me that you would find it an interesting read. It’s about a young girl who travels with her parents from Illinois in 1870 to visit family in the Westcountry and in particular your “neck of the woods”. I found it very interesting ……’

After much research on the Internet, I eventually located a copy – thanks to the fact that my cousin had given me the ISBN number – and found it fascinating reading, particularly as (a) my sister Enid and I were born and bred in Appledore, (b) Enid lived in Buckland Brewer for many years, and (c) my friend Jen was born and bred, and now lives, in Buckland Brewer.

When Lucy and her parents disembarked in Liverpool in 1870, their first destination in England was Instow, which is 278 miles from Liverpool by AA Route today, leave alone by train via Exeter in 1870! I was hooked! During their three months stay in England, Lucy and her parents, without prior warning, visited family and friends in places (and farms) in the West Country – Appledore, Bideford, Northam, Westward Ho! Barnstaple, Buckland Brewer, Alwington, Holsworthy, Halwill, Pyworthy, Plymouth, Launceston, Tredinnick, Fowey, Polperro and others, and finally Halifax in West Yorkshire before embarking from Liverpool on their homeward voyage.

I knew that Enid and Jen would also be interested and, not wanting to part with my own copy, I ordered two used copies from Amazon – the only place I could find Lucy’s Diary.

They duly arrived and were in excellent condition. One was inscribed with a message which read ‘Present to Auntie Marg on her visit to ——, 2008. Thanks for everything. My love always, Brenda’. I gave the clean copy to Enid, and the inscribed copy to Jen. When she saw the inscription Jen froze. She recognised the handwriting as being that of Brenda, the wife of her 2nd cousin, who also lives in Buckland Brewer.

To cut a long story short, after reading the book, Jen phoned ‘Auntie Marg’ (a distant relative) to tell her about the inscription and was surprised to learn that she knew nothing about the book – had never seen it or read it. After further thought Auntie Margaret remembered that, during her stay, Brenda had several books earmarked for charity and concluded that Lucy’s Diary must have been stacked with them and accidentally given away.

And now the questions:

Why did my cousin in Canada suddenly recommend Lucy’s Diary after having owned her copy since 2008? Why was I sent a used copy (which had mysteriously vanished for five years) which I then gave to Jen who just happened to know the original owner, Brenda? I could understand it if I had bought it in a local charity shop – but from AMAZON? I have since contacted the suppliers of the two books but they cannot enlighten me in any way.

Cis Snowden (now aged 84).


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One hundred years ago – December 1913/ January 1914.

As Christmas approached the Gazette newspaper was full of adverts by local shops and traders extolling their finest merchandise. On Tuesday 9th December a Prime Christmas Fat Stock show was held when 30 famous fat steers and heifers were sold, together with 50 sheep. By early December butchers had already bought, killed and hung their Christmas meat. Messrs S Dennis trading at 51 Mill Street advertised ox & heifer beef, Exmoor Down Wether Mutton and dairy fed pork.

Farleigh’s Stores in the High Street were offering choice Canadian Hams from 7d to 10d per pound. (You might remember this store in the picture as Curry’s Electrical, which is now New Look).

To help wash down the traditional Christmas dinner William C Talbot, trading from 1 High Street, advertised bottles of London Gin at 2 shillings a pint bottle, 10 year old Scotch Whisky at 3s 3d pint and Martell Brandy at 4s 4d per pint bottle.

At 74 High Street Mr Arthur Clements had just transferred the business to his brother Wilfred and to celebrate had clothing bargains for all of the family. On offer were men’s overcoats at 13s 11d, men’s suits at 15s 11d, tweed trousers at 3s 6d and tweed dress skirts for ladies at 1s 11d.

If you were looking for Christmas presents, J T White who traded further up at 78 High Street, offered gramophones from £3 10 shillings and the records to play on them at 1s 1d. George Boyle, one of the town’s longest established traders, had bought 12 bicycles from Birmingham at the once-in-a-lifetime price of £3 19s 6d each.

Internationally, London-born 19 year old Charlie Chaplin, who was touring the USA began his film career with Max Senate Keystone Film Company at the astronomical salary of $150 per week. Also in America Henry Ford opened his first continuous production line building cars every 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Production workers saw their pay rise from $2.40 per hour to $5 in one jump!!

Great Britain secured a contract with China to build an 800-mile railway line across central and southern China using English workers. This was a most welcome contract because at home there were several strikes and riots from a restless workforce. Employment was difficult and soup kitchens were opening to feed the out of work. Those unfortunate enough to find themselves unable to feed and house their families ended up in the dreaded workhouse. In the Meddon Street establishment Mr A G Duncan J.P., Chairman of the Bideford Poor Law Guardians, gave 100 inmates a dinner consisting of boiled rounds of beef and vegetables, plum pudding and coffee. Male inmates were given a pack of tobacco or money, ladies tea and sugar and their children sweets and oranges.

The weather during this Christmas period had been dry and reasonably free from frost or gales. In fact farmers were noting how dry their land had been.

All the volunteers at the Bideford Community Archive, Windmill Lane, Northam, wish you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. Tel: 471714.


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About the Bridge Trust.

As promised, and following on from my introduction to the Bridge Trust, I will discuss some of the history of the body. No-one knows when the Trust was set up but it must have been soon after the Bridge was built – so possibly at the end of the thirteenth century. Over the years rich Bidefordians have left property ‘to the Bridge’ (the last occasion was only two years ago!) to honour their native town and the Trust itself has been an active purchaser of property making it the largest local landlord (apart from Tarka Housing).

We have the Trust’s accounts from the end of the seventeenth century and the minutes from 1764. At this date there were some fifteen trustees, most of them being merchants or gentry, though some clergymen also served. I have transcribed, typed and indexed the minutes and copies are available in the North Devon Record Office. They detail the two main aspects of the Trust’s work – management of property and charitable spending.

The former was, of course, centred on the Bridge itself and the minutes reveal many occasions when quite large sums of money were laid out in repairs, whilst on other occasions warnings about possible damage were issued. In 1791, for example, the trustees wrote to a local merchant complaining about his cart that was so highly laden ‘as they think will injure the said Bridge’. Weight limits are nothing new.

In 1802 there is a note that ‘Some malicious persons have repeatedly thrown down the Coping Stones of the Bridge’ and so the trustees hired two men to act as ‘watchmen’. They even spent some money on a ‘Centry Box’ to house them. In 1808 the Trust carried out work on nine arches at a cost of £50 per arch, whilst a year later they discussed installing a drawbridge at the East end of the Bridge. This never occurred : in 1826 they erected oil lamps on the Bridge, but these were soon vandalised and in 1835 were replaced with gas lamps after the trustees allowed the new Bideford Gas Company to install gas pipes across the Bridge. The largest spending came when the old medieval structure was widened in 1864 and again in 1925 – to such an extent that it is difficult to picture what the old Bridge looked like.

In addition to this spending on the Bridge the trustees developed Bridgeland Street from the 1690s and extended the Quay up to their new development. They also built the original Bridge Buildings in 1758 which housed the town hall and the Grammar School. In 1761 they even purchased the Fox & Goose pub on the Quay (where Grenville House now stands) and gave it to the town as the Mayor’s ‘Mansion House’ – even if they later took it back!

In the 1880s they provided the town’s first custom-built post office in the High Street (now Ladbroke’s) and in 1882 spent £4,500 on building the new Bridge Buildings. Over the years 1890-1920 the Trust constructed the houses in Victoria Gardens, Marland Terrace and the top of Honestone Street.

In the twentieth century the two world wars interrupted this work, but in the 1990s the Trust refurbished the old Post Office, the Bakehouse in Queen Street, Friendship House opposite the Market as well as shops in High Street, Mill Street and Bridgeland Street. A proud record and one which shows how much the built environment in the town has depended on the Trust and its deep pockets.

In the next article I will look at what the Trust has funded in Bideford.

Peter Christie.


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Shipping News No. 107 (October/ November 2013).

IN PORT – Yelland Quay.

Ulrike G - built 2002 : flag St. Johns, Antigua & Barbuda : owners German : from Glensanda to Montoir : crew Russian, Ukranian, & Somali : arrived 3.11, sailed 3.11 : discharged 4,000 tons chippings. (Note ; at 100 metres LOA this is the largest vessel ever to discharge or load at Yelland).

I understand from various sources that Southern Beaver at Yelland is now submerged at high water.

IN PORT – Bideford.

Exe Otter – built 1989 (ex- Aspen 2012, Amy ’06) : flag St. Johns, Antigua : owners British : from Warrenpoint to Ceuta : crew Russian & Cape Verde islanders : arrived 5.10, sailed 18.10 : no cargo. This vessel was at Bideford for change of ownership & flag. She kept her original name, but is now registered at Kingstown, St. Vincent & Grenadines : her new crew is Ukrainian, and her new owners are based in Haifa, Israel.

Casablanca - built 1994 : flag St. Johns, Antigua : owners German : from Dublin to Castellon : crew Russian & Ukrainian : arrived 14.10, sailed 17.10 : loaded 3,000 tons ball clay.

Oldenburg left for Sharpness for drydocking 12.11 : she will return to undertake a few cargo runs over winter, then back to regular service March/ April 2014.

Arco Dart at Appledore 18.10 & 19.10.

On Sunday 3.11.13 at 16.50 the Irish Naval Vessel Le Samuel Beckett was floated out from the building shed at Babcock’s yard at Appledore and moored at the fitting-out quay. She will undertake sea trials at the end of January 2014. She was about 92 percent completed when she was moved. (Work on the second vessel, Le James Joyce, was commenced on the Monday morning).

Bristol Channel Observations

19/10 at 07.20 vehicle carrier Grande Mediterraneo, 18,427 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Group Italy, inward bound for Portbury; at 10.34 tanker Bro Designer, 14,846 tons d.w., owners Moller Maersk A/S Denmark, outward bound from Cardiff, having sailed at 05.56 . At 13.00 container vessel Endeavour, 9,162 tons d.w., owners J.R. Shipping Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth and the tanker Eships Quest, 8,501 tons d.w, owners Athos Shipping Inc Singapore, outward bound from Barry having sailed at 09.02 . At 15.20 cargo vessel Sky Vita, 4,195 tons d.w, owners Alpha Shipping Co Sia Latvia, outward bound from Sharpness, having sailed at 0715.

26/10 at 09.10 container vessel Endeavour, 9,612 tons, d.w., owners J.R. Shipping Netherlands inward bound for Avonmouth. At 16.25 cargo vessel Flinterrachel, 5,622 tons d.w, owners Flinter Group Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

29/10 at 10.50 vessel for carrying aircraft wings Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w, owners Anita 2 SNC France, inward bound for Avomouth. At 15.51 vehicle carrier Planet Ace, 15,327 tons d.w., owners Mitsui Osk Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 16.40 bulk carrier Red Iris, 75,730 tons d.w., owners Clarence Shipping Inc, Monte Carlo, Monaco, inward bound for Portbury. Also at the same time the vehicle carrier Grande Roma, 14,950 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Group of Italy outward bound from Portbury.

30/10 at 08.50 cargo vessel Wilson Flushing, 4,321 tons d.w, owners Wilson Shipping ASA Norway, outward bound from Newport, having sailed at 02.43 . At 13.07 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w, owners United European Car Carriers Norway, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 06.49 . At 14.18 cargo vessel Aasli, 4,319 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, inward bound for Port Talbot.

8/11 at 16.25 vehicle carrier Antares Leader, 18,406 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

9/11 at 13.17 cargo vessel Sirocco, 6,033tons d.w., owners Wagenborg Shipping BV, Netherlands, inward bound for Cardiff.

11/11 at 13.50 vehicle carrier Grande Detriot, 12,430 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 14.35 cargo vessel Yong Xing, 22307 tons d.w., owners Chinese Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co, China & Poland, inward bound for Newport.

12/11 at 16.02 vehicle carrier Global Spirit, 16,493 tons d.w., owners Nissan Motor Car carriers Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

13/11/13 at 0843 cargo vessel Blue Bay, 3,800 tons d.w., owners Tristar Shipping B.V. Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 02.45.

As this is the final shipping report for 2013 I would like to thank all readers who have contacted me and their kind remarks, and to the various organisations who have listened to my talks on shipping.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Norman.


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See Hear on Wheels.

New hope for people with sensory loss.

2013 has been an exciting year for North Devon’s See Hear Centre (SHC). As well as celebrating its 10th anniversary earlier this year, it was also recently awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) – through their Reaching Communities Programme – for See Hear on Wheels (SHoW), a mobile unit which takes its services out into rural communities.

The fully accessible bus, SHoW, staffed by trained advisors supported by volunteers, has a range of up-to-date sensory equipment on board for people to try. They offer advice about the equipment most suitable for a person’s needs, which can then be borrowed allowing the person to try the equipment out in their own home before they buy it. The service is free but they do ask for donations for loans to enable them to keep up-to-date with equipment.

SHoW visits Bideford on the first Thursday of every month, from 2pm to 4pm and can be found at the Pill car park. It also visits the pavilion by the playing fields in Hartland on the same day from 10am – 12 noon.

The SHC has, for the last 10 years, provided a service from its base in Barnstaple to counteract the effects of sensory loss, bringing people back into contact with the outside world by giving access to equipment, advice and information. SHC also has a wide range of demonstration equipment available to help people with both sight and hearing loss and also has second-hand equipment for sale and provides computer and mobile phone training.

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

The See Hear Centre is always open on Tuesdays from 9.00am to 5.00pm for people to drop in to its premises at 19a Alexandra Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8BA. Appointments can be made for visits on other days. For more information about the See Hear Centre, SHoW or volunteering contact the See Hear Centre on:

Phone: 01271 373236

Text: 0783 151 5809

Email: Visit:


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Coronation Day, 1953.

Photos from Owen Vaggers.

In the paper edition of November’s “Buzz”, we published this -

Two photographs of the V.E.Day Celebrations, 1945, which took place at the bottom of Pitt Hill, Appledore . I cannot remember all the the names of the persons in the photographs, but I am sure some of your readers can.

Picture 1: The two lads at the bottom of the picture are Left to Right :- Michael Eastwood and Billy Edwards. On the other side of the table L. to R. Alan Popham, ? , Phillip Scilly, Owen Vaggers, John Scilly, ?, ? Hargreaves (Visiting ) and ?

Picture 2: The two girls at the bottom of the picture are L. to R. Geraldine Prouse and Alice Vaggers. On the other side of the table L. to R. ?, ?, Gillian Eastwood, Alan Popham, ?, Phillip Scilly, Owen Vaggers, ?, ? Hargreaves (Visiting).

Some readers suggested that the event was in fact Coronation Day, 1953. Owen says -

I am pleased that some of your readers have contacted you regarding the date. On reflection they are correct in suggesting that it was Coronation Day, 1953. I was aged 15 at the time, goodness I do look young! Perhaps you will be so kind as to put a correction in your next edition. Thank you and good Buzzing, Owen.


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Buzz word – November.

Please send us your Buzzes!! Write to or to the address on front page.

Tarka Morris Men

Tarka Morris Men are now getting into their Winter practice season, and are on the look out for new members. Morris Dancing is a great old English tradition, and is a marvellous way of keeping fit and making friends. It’s also more fun than the gym!

Nobody knows the precise origins of Morris Dancing, but it has been well documented since before the time of Shakespeare. Some say that it is part of an ancient fertility ritual, but nobody can be certain.

We dance around the villages and resorts in the North Devon area on Tuesday evenings from May to September. After dancing we always drop into a friendly pub for music, singing and general merrymaking. We also dance at festivals and local events such as the Pilton Green Man celebrations. We dress in white, with rosettes in the colours of the local woodland, yellow, green and brown, on which are depicted otter paw prints, representing Henry Williamson’s creation, Tarka the Otter, who swam in the rivers and tributaries of this area.

Our practices are held on Tuesday evenings from 8pm at the Bideford Amateur Athletic Club, The Pill, Bideford. All you need to be is male, with a good sense of fun and a willingness to learn.

Come along and give it a try! just turn up on a Tuesday evening or give me a ring on 01237 476632.

John Blackburn.

Writer’s Blog!

It’s good to see that Appledore Book Festival is going from strength to strength with each year that passes. I personally went to three events this year: the Appledorian Day on the Sunday, Peter Snow on the subject of his latest book, the burning down of the White House during the 1812-1814 war with the USA, on the Monday, and Jonathan Dimbleby on the Battle of el-Alamein on the Saturday . All three events were well-attended. The speakers themselves all seemed delighted to come here,and visitors from all parts of the country mentioned how enjoyable was both the Book Festival and their stay in Appledore.

I also discovered another local cultural gem during the month: The North Devon Decorative and Fine Arts Society. This is the local branch of a national organization that meets once a month at Durrant House Hotel, with guest speakers on all manner of subjects artistic: this month’s talk was by Mr. Julian Halsby on the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Next month’s talk is on the subject of Tudor and Jacobean Miniatures by Dr. Catherine Oakes. It doesn’t really need any advertising from me, though , as it is already very well-attended.

Next month is November, and November in North Devon means herrings. I notice that Clovelly is holding its annual Herring Festival on Sunday 17 November.

Chris Trigger.

Appledore Book Festival puts atmospheric fishing village well and truly on the literary map.

With some 59 events ranging from a talk by tireless 81-year old local charity worker Deri Rundle on her recent book Never Again – about the work she undertakes in war-torn Rwanda – to a lavishly illustrated talk about Brazil from Monty Python star turned travel writer Michael Palin, this year’s Appledore Book Festival offered an eclectic range of the talks by authors that also included Lynda La Plante and television presenters Richard and Judy – along with workshops for aspiring authors – and such annual fixtures as an Appledorian Day exhibition of local memorabilia, a jazz evening at The Beaver Inn – this year featuring the Martin Speake Trio – a comedy evening at the Appledore Hall with Les Barker – and a number of guided walks with local historian David Carter and ghost walks with Terry Bailey- and a Books & Authors quiz evening at the Seagate Hotel.

Comments left by festival visitors summed up their impressions of Appledore – and these include Professor Helen Taylor of Exeter University, who chaired the New Voices event for debut authors – and said: “It’s absolutely wonderful and such a privilege to be able to talk to first-time novelists about their work and to hear about their struggles and their enthusiasm and read their amazing books. The enthusiasm of Appledore is great and testifies very well to the strength of the Festival.”

Lucy Clarke, debut author of the successful The Sea Sisters, benefited from her visit to the coastal village. After taking part in the New Voices event, she said: “I’ve met lots of very nice locals and in fact the taxi driver who picked me up from Barnstaple station is now going to be a research assistant on my next book. He knows a lot about sailing and he’s offered to answer any questions to do with that so we’ve swopped emails.

And there were plenty of laughs when poet Pam Ayres entertained audiences with such comments as: “It was my first time in Appledore and I’m rather sorry because it is so nice and I didn’t even know it was there.”

The Appledore RNLI lifeboat crew saved the life of historical and romantic novelist Kate Furnival and her son several years ago. As a North Devon resident and a speaker at this year’s festival she told us: “Queen Mary I said that when she died Calais would be engraved on her heart. Well, when I die Appledore will be engraved on mine.” Given the heavy workload involved for the organisers, planning for next year’s festival will soon be under way – and if you’d like to note the dates in your diary – it will run from Saturday 27 September to Sunday 5 October 2014. The festival’s web address is www.appledorebookfestival

Barry Evetts.

Northern Devon Foodbank.

Since April of this year, the Northern Devon Foodbank has distributed almost 10 tonnes of food and has been able to help over 1400 adults and children, through crises such as benefit changes, sickness, debt, unemployment and domestic violence. A big ‘thank you’ to those churches and schools who donated almost 1 tonne of food throughout the Harvest Festival period, the variety of donations was wonderful. In November, volunteers for the Northern Devon Foodbank will be asking for your donations from some local supermarkets. However, please contact us if you are a member of a church, school, community organisation or local business and you would be willing to arrange a work day food collection of non perishable items or organise a fund raising event. We can be contacted on and 07874 206438.



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An 1844 view of Bideford.

“BIDEFORD (ST. MARY), a sea-port, incorporated market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of SHEBBEAR, Great Torrington and N. divisions of DEVON, 39 miles (N. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 201 (W. by S.) from London; containing 5,211 inhabitants, of whom 4,830 are in the town. This place, called also Bytheford, of which its modern appellation is a variation, derives its name from being situated near an ancient ford on the river Torridge . . . after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, many French Protestants settled in the town, and established the manufacture of silk and cotton; a great quantity of wool was imported from Spain, and, in 1699, its trade with Newfoundland was inferior only to that of London and Exeter . . . Ship-building is extensively carried on: during the late war, several frigates were launched at this port, and there are eight or ten dockyards, in which smaller vessels are built. The principal articles of manufacture are cordage, sails, and common earthenware; there are also several tan-yards, and a small lace manufactory. . . The free grammar school, of remote foundation, was rebuilt in 1657 . . . A charity school is supported by the trustees of the Bridge Estate, and by subscription; a building has likewise been erected for a national school.”

[From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England (1844)]


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November’s Good Age page.

Do you provide unpaid care for someone?

Devon Carers’ Service provides free support and services to anyone who provides unpaid support or care for a family member, partner or friend because they are ill, frail or have a disability. Devon Carers is funded by Devon County Council and the Devon NHS Commissioning Groups to provide information, support and short breaks to unpaid carers.

The service provides locally based Carers Support Workers in every area of Devon so that every unpaid carer can have access to their own Carers Support Worker. Sarah Ince and Samantha Major are the Carers Support Workers who cover Bideford and the surrounding areas. Their role is to provide advice, support and a listening ear to carers either in their home, by phone or in a neutral place depending on the carer’s preference.

Devon Carers also provides non means tested grants and schemes for carers to use to have a break from their caring role. They also provide an Alert Card which ensures that if something unexpected happens to a carer, the person they care for gets help 24hours a day 7 days a week.

There is also a Devon based Carers’ Helpline which provides Information and advice to carers and is staffed from 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. a popular service which receives an average of 400 calls per week.

Within Devon Carers Service there are also specific services for young carers. Devon Young Carers, known locally as Carewise, provides specific support for young carers aged 4 -18. This includes leisure activities and trips, 1:1 direct support and a newsletter. For more information on any of the services provided by Devon Carers please call 08456434435 or go to

Free event for carers

Carers Rights Day is an annual national event aimed at encouraging carers to become aware of their rights. This year, the local Devon Carers Service team will be holding a free Carers Rights information session on Friday 30th November, 1.30pm – 3:30pm at Bideford Town Hall. Nell Casey from Devon County Council will be giving a talk on the services provided by Care Direct and Care Direct Plus, including how carers can get care and support provided for the person they care for should this be needed. Phil Pennington from the CAB will also be giving a presentation on the benefits system including recent changes and developments. There will be free tea, coffee and mince pies and a chance to meet our team of Carer Support Workers. To book a place or for more information please contact the Northern Devon Team on 08456 434 435.

Reminiscence cafe at Northam Hall.

We are open every third Friday of the month,between 10am -12pm at Northam Hall.

Please come and join us. You will be welcomed by a friendly smile and refreshments. Next meeting 18th October Please give Sophie a call if you would like to know more or need transport on 01237 459337

Reminiscence Session – Take a trip down memory lane at Bideford Library

Wednesday 9th October 2:00-3:30 pm

Remember back… and look forward to sharing your memories with others -

chatting, looking at old items, perhaps creating a book of memories together.

For anyone aged 60+

Refreshments provided.


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One hundred years ago – November 1913.

The water supply problems mentioned last month continue to give considerable concern. Abbotsham Road, High Street and all of Old Town are without water whilst “They scrape the pipes”.   The supply to the workhouse in Meddon Street has been interrupted frequently and the Guardians are considering opening a well on the premises, but are hesitant due to the proximity of the old cemetery.

Two shipping stories make the headlines this month. Firstly a fire virtually destroys the trawler ‘Busy Bee’ moored off Williams’s boatyard at Appledore.   At 4.00am the vessel was alight from stem to stern and, to extinguish the fire, it was sunk.    It is not expected to be salvaged.    On a lighter note Coxswain Cann from Appledore was on the beach near the lifeboat station and found a bottle containing a paper stating that ‘on being found and forwarded to an address given’ (Edwin Hall, The Docks, Swansea) the finder would be given a box of cigars!    The letter and the paper were sent and Mr Cann duly received the cigars, together with a note that the bottle was thrown into the river Towy at Llandilo on the 6th April 1913.

Nearly 40 Hartland residents attended a meeting at Dr Crew’s house to arrange for Hartland’s first ever carnival.

Bideford masons and carpenters have given notice to the master builders that they will require a rise of ½d per hour, making the wage 7d per hour on May 1st next year and also 2 shillings for Sunday work. This will bring them into line with Barnstaple tradesmen. It was also stated that painters are seeking the same rate of pay.

Bideford Grammar School prize-giving took place on 4th November. It was reported that a total of 98 boys were attending the school.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council offices, Windmill Lane, Northam.


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