Felicity’s summer lunch.

Scallop Cerviche.

Ingredients –

1-2 tbsp ground cumin.

Tbsp. lime juice.

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped.

1tbsp. orange juice.

3 spring onions.

500 – 900g scallops.

1-2 tbsp chopped coriander.

1 hot red chilli, finely chopped.

I small onion, finely chopped.

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped.

1 lime, sliced for garnish.

Method –

1. Stir the cumin into the lime and orange juices and pour the mixture over the scallops

2. Mix in the chopped chilli pepper and red pepper and red onion, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Drain the scallops and mix with the chopped tomatoes, sweet peeper scallions and coriander just before serving.

Garnish with the slices of lime.


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – July 1918.

New Ration books commence distribution on the 6th July, ready for use in the National Rationing Scheme on the 15th July. There are seven different categories, all serially numbered and individually addressed. This work has been completed by the Food Office based in Bideford Town Hall.

The Medical Officer has confirmed that an outbreak of measles has spread across North Devon resulting in Northam School being temporarily closed.

In May it was announced that men aged 43 and above would need to be conscripted to replace casualties from the war. The shortage of skilled tradesmen, artisans and general labour shortages is having a considerable effect on business and especially in farming. A scheme called ‘School Boys to Help with the Harvest’ has been set up and overnight accommodation in barns at Farford Farm for Hartland, Cabbacott for Parkham and Buckland Brewer district and the Parish Rooms at Woolsery have all been organised.

The newspaper has reports every week of Tribunal meetings where local tradesmen plead to be allowed to continue with their business. A local village baker who provides for the entire village of over 1,000 people has been called up and, despite a petition of over 500 names, he was ordered to be available by 15th July. He had to arrange for another village’s baker to cycle over three days each week to keep the supply of bread going. The Northam Tribunal reports on their only conscientious objector, a local school teacher who refused to undertake any work that could been considered helping the war effort His appeal was dismissed and he had to be available from 15th August. The Edgehill School gardener, who provides vegetables for the school from 2 acres as well as milking 16 cows and looking after a local power station providing electricity for the school, had to be available for military service by mid-July.

The labour problem is causing several farms and estates to be put up for sale. This month sees the following: West Fatacott, Hartland, 133 acres: Volehouse Farm, West Putford, 177 acres: Saxworthy Farm, East Putford, 62 acres: Venton Farm Westward Ho! 24 acres. Also Kernstone Farm, Hartland, is selling all livestock and 30 acres of standing crops. Forcewell, Hartland, have 23 acres of standing corn to sell.

The effects of the War has caused the Barnstaple Anchor Brewery to dispose of many local Inns including The Plough at Fremington, The Coach & Horses and The Rising Sun both at Appledore and The New Inn at Abbotsham.

(In last month’s edition the item about rabbit culling at Melbury used the word poaching – it should have read “ No paunching is to be done on the reservoir site” …. in an effort to keep the water unpolluted!!)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk.


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Felicity’s seaweed recipe.

The Seaweed Festival in Clovelly was attended by many enthusiastic people and the demonstrations on Foraging, Identification and Seaweed for health were all excellent.

I ran a tasting stall with Nori (same seaweed as laver) crisps, Seaweed Plan, Pickled Samphire and Seaweed croquettes made from parsnips and carrots instead of potatoes.

Here is the simple Seaweed Flan recipe; mushrooms and/or tomatoes can also be added.

Ideal for a picnic.

Seaweed Flan.


I pack of shortcrust ready-made pastry.

1 egg, beaten.

4floz -100ml milk.

2tsp cornflour.

2oz/100g grated cheese.

2oz/100gseaweed, shredded – or soak dried kelp, dulse or mixed seaweed flakes. Salt and pepper to season.

6 cherry tomatoes – halved, and /or 2oz/100sliced mushrooms (optional).


Line a 6-8inch flan tin or a deep tin plate. Bake it blind in a medium oven-Gas mark 6 or 200C.for 10 mins and allow to cool.

Mix cornflour with the egg in a bowl and then add milk, seaweed and grated cheese. Season to taste. You can use seaweed salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and sliced mushrooms.

Pour into the Flan and sprinkle with some grated cheese.

Bake for 20 mins.at gas mark6/200C until set and golden brown.

Serve hot or cold. Cut into 4 quarters for main course, or 6 slices for a picnic treat.


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged | Leave a comment

Recently seen at Westward Ho!

Ctenophores, known commonly as sea gooseberries or comb jellies. They are carnivorous predators in the Plankton. They eat zooplankton, fish eggs and fish larvae. They catch their prey with their sticky tentacles which they can retract when not feeding. Their name “ctenophore” comes from the Greek words ctena (comb) and phora (bearer). They have eight rows of fused cilia on their surface which they beat in rythym to propel themselves through the water. It is these “combs” that have the irridescent look.

(All images courtesy of N. Billingham).


Posted in Environment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ladies’ Golf celebrates 150 years.

The Westward Ho! and North Devon Ladies were very early pioneers in the history of Ladies Golf. The Reverend Isaac Gosset, Vicar of the Parish of Northam and a founder of the Royal North Devon Golf Club has to take most of the credit for the formation of the Ladies Club. On May 28th 1868 the Reverend Gosset extended an invitation, by way of a letter, to ladies living in the locality suggesting the formation of a Ladies Golf Club.

The first meeting took place at Northam Vicarage on the 8th June 1868 when it was formally resolved to form a Ladies Golf Club. At a further meeting just one week later, a committee were elected and a number of letters of intent were read from prospective members. There were forty seven original Lady Members and twenty three Male Associate Members most of these Lady members were the wives and daughters of existing members of the men’s Club”. (The opening lines from a booklet published last month to celebrate 150 years of their existence.) More extracts below.

The ‘ladies meeting’ (see above) has some artistic licence and is seemingly more like a fashion show where dress is more important than a good golf swing (although with a putter it is unlikely that a lady would need to make a full swing.) The tent was purchased for £6 in May 1871 and in that year a Mr. Hearn was paid 1/6d (7.5 pence) every time it was erected – usually once a week from May to September.

Ladies’ Course.

The original course was of eighteen holes, but could only be played with a wooden putter and the early scores reflect a certain prowess amongst the ladies, with scores of about fifty four (level threes) required to win any sort of prize. During this early time the Men’s Club Professional, Johnny Allan, is named as the custodian of the links and responsible for maintaining the course.

The ‘new’ Ladies course was formally opened at 2.30 pm on January 2nd 1894 and the men could use it!

Interestingly in August 1895 it is reported that the Ladies’ course has ‘Molesworth’s Permanent Tee Boards made of three inch planks, six foot square, bolted with cross pieces and then covered with matting and sprinkled with sand to give a firm grip’; this area of ground on which the Ladies’ course was located is still notoriously wet today – especially in winter.

Although this course originally measured just 1,500 yards there were major improvements mostly extending the length, due to the new Haskell golf ball. In the Ladies Golf Union Year Book of 1904 the course then measured 2,242 yards.

Want to read more? Copies of the booklet are obtainable from the North Devon Club House via the manager Mark Evans. Celebrations took place in June.


Posted in Local People | Tagged , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago: June 1918.

There is a surplus of British-made butter available. The weekly ration has been increased from 4 to 5 oz per person.

Northam Urban District Council seek tenders for the clearing of rabbits on lands at Melbury Reservoir, Parkham. One extra provision has been stipulated, “That no rabbits be paunched on the Council’s lands”.

At the same meeting the council report that 95 allotments are now occupied in the area, compared to 29 before the war.

A handsome chair made from Bideford Long Bridge oak was presented to the Bridge Trust and accepted and acknowledged by George Willy Vincent and Alexander Greig Duncan. Restoration of the Bridge commenced in 1915 and from time to time old oak beams come to light. (It is very uncomfortable, still in use today, and keeps meetings short!!)

A little lad aged 11 years was run over by one of the Canadian Motor Transport cars and lost 2 toes. The previous day one of the same cars drove into a bullock.

Property and Land for Sale. Tomouth Estates, East Appledore: 12½acres and 3 cottages.

To Let: Small farm “Kas Venton”, Westward Ho! 23 acres & dwelling house and farm buildings. Also 6 acre field known as ‘Football Field’ adjoining the main road from Westward Ho! to Bideford.

It was stated in the Devon County Council meeting on June 20th that the Hartland to Bideford road had absorbed £28,263, so that the steam roller must have rolled in over 28,000 golden sovereigns on that previous piece of highway.” (The current comparison would be £1.1 million).

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Felicity’s Fish Cookery – June.

This month the summer fish arrives in all its delicate splendour, and I thought it would be good to look at some Georgian fish recipes (the cookery at the beginning of the nineteenth Century, just before the Victorian Era).  The fish cookery was fairly basic with limited ingredients but some interesting influences (especially for the upper classes, who ate plentifully).

The shellfish season has started and the crabs and lobster are moving around, they get attracted to the pots more often, so catches are improving and the prices are at their most reasonable – hoping that there is fine summer weather this month!

The first is Buttered Crab or lobster – basically an interesting pate to spread on toast.

Warm Buttered Crabs (or lobster) to serve with toast.


450g(1lb) Fresh or frozen mixed crabmeat, or lobster cleaned and chopped finely.

3 tbsp red wine.

1 tbsp vinegar.

½ tsp ground or fresh grated nutmeg, ½ tsp salt.

1 tsp anchovy essence (or 2 anchovy fillets).

1 egg yolk.

115g (4oz) butter.

Toast or French bread

Lemon thinly sliced and parsley sprigs to garnish.


Beat all the ingredients (crabmeat, red wine, vinegar, nutmeg anchovy, egg yolk and softened butter together well, or blend in a food processor.

Heat them gently in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Pile the mixture into a suitable container (cleaned crab or scallop shells or small dish) and serve with triangles or thin strips of toast.

Garnish with thin slices of lemon and parsley sprigs.

To carry on the historical cooking theme we have started a ‘Cooking Get Together’ session in Appledore.

The first was held at Appledore Library, and the May group met in the North Devon Maritime Museum and visited their Victorian Kitchen. We hope to have a session in June, somewhere in Appledore -maybe with a fish lunch available – please contact me for more details at brilliantfishsw@gmail.com or 07918 779 060.


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Buzz Byte – June.

What is a cloud? In computing terms it’s not a fluffy white object in the sky, but a physical server used for storing and sharing data. Your information is stored on a remote database which is serviced and controlled, provided by cloud computing companies operating from data centres, the most well-known being the Apple iCloud. Clouds allow un-networked computers to communicate and share files without using the storage on your own hard drive. Clouds are accessed via the internet. A cloud works the same as you, storing your data on an internal or external hard drive or USB stick ; you can retrieve, amend and update it, but by using a cloud you are not filling your own hard drive space, allowing your PC to run more quickly.

Although cloud storage has only been promoted relativity recently it has been around for a while, in formats that you will have been using and not realise. The way these companies operate they are providing a form of cloud storage – YouTube, Facebook, email providers and Google Docs.

Consumers are moving to cloud storage as it is convenient and flexible. One of the pros of using a cloud is that you can access your data from any device, in any location, that can access the internet. The cons to look into are the reliability and security of the company who is storing your data, and what measures they take to ensure that is protected against hackers and loss.

There are lots of products available, so you need to consider what information you need to store, how much data there will be, and who needs access to it before making your purchase.

Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing).


Posted in Computers, IT | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bideford’s Nat West Bank.

An iconic building in Bideford, Nat West Bank (formerly National Provincial) closed on 29th May 2018. Peter Christie looks back on its history, and Gerald Waldron remembers his time as a bank employee.

End of an era.

The closure of Bideford’s Natwest bank seems a suitable time to look at its history. The story begins around 1790 when four men established a bank in town. They were James Ley a prominent merchant, Stephen Willcock a wine merchant, John Glubb a lawyer, and Charles Cutcliffe a Barnstaple banker. Their new venture seems to have been set up in Ley’s house on the N.E. corner of High Street.

A map from 1842 (above) shows the building split into two, whilst the main photograph (taken around 1870) clearly shows which section was being used as the bank. The fact that the business became known as ‘Bideford Old Bank’ suggests it was the first such establishment in the town.

In 1843 under its ‘official’ name of J.Ley & Co it was taken over by the National Provincial Bank which had been founded in London a decade earlier. At some time the building next door was incorporated into the bank as shown on this 1888 map (below).

Under its new name it continued to provide banking services to Bideford, and in 1930 plans were submitted to modernise the building. These saw a new doorway at the eastern end with the old entrance being closed up along with a reinforced strong room. The work was carried out by John Cock, a Bideford builder and one-time Mayor of the town.

Since then various changes have been put in place to meet modern requirements (e.g. an ATM and bullet proof glass screens). Sadly the gradual movement to on-line banking has seen the Natwest directors decide to close this branch – Bideford will be the poorer.

Peter Christie.


Reminiscences of an old-fashioned banker at National Provincial Bank in North Devon in the 1950s.

I applied to join the National Provincial Bank in 1950 and had to go to London for interview with the Chairman & General Manager. It so happened that his wife had presented prizes at Bideford Grammar School’ s Prize-Giving not long before, and I was one of the recipients, so I was offered a job without a formal interview. My first appointment was at Torrington for 6 months, I then did my National Service and returned to the Torrington branch for a further 6 months before being transferred to Bideford.

My first taste of banking was at Torrington where the Manager opened the post which arrived at 8 o’clock. He unlocked the door for staff at 9 o’clock before having breakfast upstairs in his flat and then going fishing during the season. He returned later in the afternoon to lock up then spent the evenings doing business with customers in the local pubs.

From what I remember there were 20/30 members of staff at Bideford but they had to cover the branch office at Northam, a daily agency at Appledore, and a monthly morning visit to Clovelly. One member of staff plus a guard went by taxi to Clovelly, but no business was carried out there apart from selling postcards of the premises at 6d a time. Two members of staff ran the Northam branch but were not allowed to leave the bank so coffee and doughnuts were delivered by Patts, who ran a café across the road.

Male members of staff had to wear suits, collars and ties at all times. All entries were entered manually in ledgers. The bank was open from 10 am to 3 pm but staff had to remain until they balanced the books – sometimes quite late in the evening. Once £500 couldn’t be accounted for and, after searching everywhere, staff had to give up. However, 6 months later a junior was cleaning dust from under the safe and found the missing bundle of notes. Any dirty notes at the bank had to be taken out of circulation, parcelled up with the bank seal and returned to the Bank of England. Two members of staff carried the packages up High Street to the Post Office!

At the beginning of 1955 I was transferred to London at a week’s notice. Shortly after I arrived at the Bank’s hostel two others were transferred from Bideford. I myself was contacted within the first week at my new branch about playing rugby for the Bank. I was told I was posted to London because I played rugby, and I thought it was because of my mental ability! How times have changed since those days, with Northam and Torrington closed, and now Bideford.

Gerald Waldron.


Posted in History, Local People | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Buzz” privacy policy & GDPR compliance.

Who we are.

Our website address is: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk

Our editor’s contact email is editor@bidefordbuzz.org.uk

We are a non-profit, completely volunteer, online-only free community newsletter  covering Bideford, Northam, Appledore, Westward Ho!, Instow, and villages west as far as Hartland.


What personal data we collect and why we collect it.


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. The IP address is not publicly visible on an approved and published comment (but can be read by the website administrator).

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/


If you upload images to the website or provide images for publication by us you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. (Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website).

Contact forms (includes hard copy material, and digitised versions of such).

We retain only the minimum amount of personal data required in order to provide a specific service (e.g. contributor’s details, publication of articles), and only for the length of time necessary for us to provide that service.


If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you have an account and you log in to this site, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select “Remember Me”, your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.


Embedded content from other websites.

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in exactly the same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracing your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.


Who we share your data with.

We do not share any data with third parties. We do not track any user. Should any third party wish to contact the author of any published content we will first contact such author with details of the request, and it would be their decision as whether or not to reply.

Buzz” never has, and never will, rent, share, or sell your data to third parties.


How long we retain your data.

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.


What rights you have over your data.

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. (This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes).


Where we send your data.

Visitor comments are checked through an automated spam detection service (Akismet).


Posted in 'GDPR' and privacy policy. | Tagged , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – May 1918.

The Ministry of Food announces that it can release considerable additional supplies of frozen meat. Therefore from Sunday last until further notice 8 pence worth of uncooked meat may be purchased in respect of each 2 coupons in the ration book per week. It has also been announced that meatless days in restaurants will no longer be compulsory.

The Local Food Committee has met and announced to farmers, dairymen and the public that The Cream Order 1917 will still remain in force until further notice despite relaxation in other supplies. No cream may be used or sold except as directed under the Order.

Northam Choral Society has been re-formed by Mr Clifford Grout and has given a concert in the Northam School Room. A varied programme of choral, instrumental and solo performances were enthusiastically received and all proceeds are in aid of War Funds.

Property for sale.

An extraordinary amount of property has been advertised for sale during the month. On May 21st at the New Inn Bideford on the instructions of G H Fairbrother; Lots include “Riverview”, Yeo Vale, near Whitehall 3 beds; “Little Whitehall” also 3 beds and attic box rooms; 2 dwelling houses 1 & 2 Bellevue each with 3 beds and “West View”. All the foregoing have river views and large gardens.On the last day of this month at the Friendship Hotel, Market Place, Bideford, an interesting and varied estate that was the property of Mr James Prouse (dec’d) is offered at auction. Lots 1 & 2 are blocks of shares in Bideford Gas & Coke Co. and Torrington Gas Co Ltd. Lot 3 is a freehold detached house “Rocklea”. Lot 4 is a factory and store, Tan & Lime pits known as Westcombe Tannery Bideford together with 2 dwelling houses and gardens. Lot 5 is a block of freehold property at 3 High Street, Torrington, comprising a shop, dwelling house and a newly erected building at the rear and fronting onto Church Lane and being used as a cinema and extensive yard. Lot 6 is two leasehold cottages with gardens at Caddywell Torrington.

(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 or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk.)


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bideford Art School: a brief history.

Bideford Art School (now Bideford Arts Centre), a listed building on the Pill, has an interesting history. It started life in 1896 as a technical college, a result of ‘self help’ Victorian values. Our photo above shows the plaque on the side of the building which mentions the Mayor, and also Alderman Narroway, who was a great supporter of Bideford Library. (His portrait can be seen there in stained glass.)

The last two decades of Victoria’s reign led to what was known as ‘municipal socialising’ where museums, art galleries, technical colleges were created for the public good. Bideford’s college developed into a specialist art school, possibly because of the nature of the area, a pretty place where artists gathered, and became well known for its art and craft teaching.

I recently spoke to John Butler, former curator at Burton Art Gallery and talented wood carver – (seen here in his studio in Butchers’ Row.)

John left school at 16 and went to Bideford Art School to do what was then known as the ‘Pre Diploma’ course. Following on from that he completed his art education,as many did, at a larger art school.

The students at the Art School benefited from high quality teaching and small groups.

There were some excellent artists trained there. Allin Braund became famous for lithographs and trained and taught at Hornsey School of Art in the 1930s. Rosemary Sutcliffe, author of ‘Eagle of the Ninth’ and many other books on Roman and Greek history, was a well known member of the Royal Society of Miniaturists; Leslie Worth, who became President of the Royal Watercolour Society, was born in Lime Grove. Bertram Prance became a cartoonist for ‘Punch’ magazine, as did George Belcher, and Michael Darling (occasional cartoonist for Buzz ).

Under the leadership of Jim Paterson in the 1950s it continued to flourish with potter Harry Juniper, and artists Judith Ackland (who with Mary Stella Edwards lived in the cabin at Bucks Mills and produced some fine water colours) and Sheila Hutchinson. Their work can be seen as part of the Burton Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

In the 70s the Art School became a general further education college, and art education was diverted to North Devon College in Barnstaple (Now Petroc), unfortunately with the resultant bigger classes.



Did you attend Bideford Art School ? Share your memories of it with us.


Posted in History, Local People | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Buzz Byte – April.

If your computer or laptop/tablet is misbehaving, there’re a few things to try before going into panic mode and dashing off to your local PC repair centre.

The most common recommendation is to simply turn it off and then on again. You may need to leave it unplugged for 20 minutes or so before trying again, this is a very common trick and works for other electrical equipment too such as Sky boxes and Xboxes!! There’s a multitude of D.I.Y computer fix tutorials and web pages that you can follow if you want to try to fix it yourself but bear in mind that you could make the situation worse, especially if you’re are inexperienced, and you should never expect free advice from a computer store; some things are best left to the professionals. Check your software is up-to-date and that there are no updates needed; updates are released to improve the performance of your PC system, so by not installing them your PC may not contain vital software such as security patches.

We’ll visit Windows updates in a future column. What are the common errors that have computer users breaking into a cold sweat and require technical knowhow to fix?

The Blue screen of death, aka a stop error – This is considered the most serious possible error code and is caused by a hardware or driver related fault. All may not be lost, get the PC into a repair centre who can try to boot the machine in safe mode and fix the error. It can be a time consuming and complicated repair, but a blue screen doesn’t always mean certain death. It could just need a firmware update or hardware components may need replacing.

404/ Page not found – this isn’t usually a fatal error with your PC, just a web page that you are trying to access. Double check that you have spelled the wed address correctly as miss spelling will generate an error code, and is known as a client-side error! If this is all you get when you log on to the web then there is an error with the router, the line or the PC. BT engineers can check your line, if this is OK then a computer technician will need to text your equipment to determine where the fault is.

DLL file missing error – This error affects any DLL file across all the Microsoft operating systems. There are lots of DLL files that can cause lots of trouble. This is an example of what a DLL file error looks like. Error Loading C:\Users\Admin1\AppData\Local\Temp\ubielbpl.dll The specified module could not be found.

Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing.)


Posted in Computers, IT | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Protheroe Smith (1809-89).

Protheroe Smith was born in 1809 in Bridgeland Street, Bideford, the son of a doctor, William Smith, and one of twenty children. He was educated at Bideford Grammar School and was destined for a military career, but injured his hip in an athletic activity, which put paid to his career as a soldier.

He decided on a medical career instead, and in 1833 qualified as a surgeon at St. Bartholomew’ s Hospital in London. Here he was appointed Lecturer in Midwifery and Diseases of Women, one of only two such posts in Great Britain and Ireland.

At this time, gynaecology was very much in its infancy, and very definitely a Cinderella subject. Smith was only the second person ever to carry out an ovariotomy without anaesthetics (on a woman who lived another 45 years), and the first to do the same operation with anaesthetics. An argument raged at the time, as to whether anaesthetics should be used during childbirth, as the Bible appeared to forbid it. Protheroe Smith argued from the Bible itself that the use of anaesthetics was perfectly acceptable, and wrote a well-known paper on the subject. The matter was sealed however, when Queen Victoria gave birth to her eighth child, with the use of anaesthetics. He was also an enthusiastic inventor of surgical gadgetry.

However his most important achievement was the founding of the first hospital in the world specifically for women.

In those pre-NHS days, hospitals were funded by subscription, but this proved to be an unpopular cause, partly because of its original name, the Hospital for Diseases of Women, which meant only one thing to the prudish Victorians: venereal disease.

It took five years and a lot of hard work for Protheroe Smith and a committee of pioneering doctors to gain proper support and funding, but the hospital finally opened in 1843 in Red Lion Square in London, transferring soon afterwards to larger premises in Soho Square, and renamed the Hospital for Women. By 1849 it had 5,000 outpatients, with 20 beds.Once opened, interest was shown by other cities in England and the USA, and general hospitals soon had gynaecological wards where females could be treated with more privacy and dignity, and medical expertise developed for women’s diseases. Before this doctors were generally ignorant of female complaints, and simply turned women away

A later report stated: “The foundation of this, the first hospital devoted entirely to diseases peculiar to women, is a great milestone in British medicine and gynaecology and has hardly received the recognition it deserves’.

He retired from his official post at the hospital in 1885 and died in 1889, aged 80. A memorial plaque celebrating his life and work can be found on the south wall in St. Mary’s Church.

Possibly Protheroe Smith has done more for humanity than any other Bidefordian, and his story should be better known.

Chris Trigger.


Posted in History | Tagged , | 3 Comments

One hundred years ago – March 1918.

It is reported in the 5th March edition that HMHS ‘Glenart Castle’, a hospital ship, was torpedoed some miles offshore between Hartland Point and Lundy on 26th February. The ship sank in several minutes and only a few of the 182 on board were saved. This action took place in an area speciality designated as a free zone and not liable to attack. (A memorial stone is on the cliff path at Hartland)

Property for Sale: Hole, Seldon & Ward offer Nos. 11, 12, & 13 Milton Place Bideford, and 1 & 2 Torridge Street, Bideford East. Also stables premises at Westward Ho! totalling ½ acre (which later became Twose Garage, now also demolished and rebuilt as Nelson Court).

Bideford Food Control. Mr R S Chope reported that requisitioned stocks are now in hand of margarine and will be available on 25rd March for general distribution. All retailers have been trained to administer the coupon rationing system except one retailer who was selling his stock without a certificate of approval. Application from dairymen to sell margarine from their carts to meet the demands of ration cards were approved. In last month’s article we reported that meat was becoming very scarce. Early this month a considerable quantity of venison was made available by Mrs Clemison and distributed at markets across our region priced at 8d per pound. It is also reported that store cattle, sheep, store hogs, bullocks, cows and calves were all in good supply and fetching reasonable prices.

Bideford Council have applied for another field in the Hartland Road area, currently owned by Sir George Kekewith, to be purchased and converted to allotments. The owner is prepared to sell but the tenant objects War Agricultural powers will be invoked to compulsorily purchase the land. Since the outbreak of war the council have provided 150 allotments totalling 20 acres around the town.

Silent Knight – Minerva 6 person tourer. 4 speeds and reverse. Cape cart extension hood with side curtains. Beatsonon double folding windscreen. Upholstered in brown leather and well stuffed.

An Adler 12hp touring car – seats 5 people. Body by Morgan of London; painted dark blue. Owned by a doctor.

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 or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk.


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment