One hundred years ago – March 1919.

Property for sale:

At an auction held at the New Inn, Messrs Dymond & Son sold Swiss Cottage, Northam, which was knocked down to Mr A Chamberlain for £925; 3 pasture fields [2 adjacent Bloody Corner and 1 at White Horse Lane, Northam] to Mr E Withecombe for £730; 2 fields adjacent Diddywell Rd. to John Steer £500; 3 fields of 9 acres opposite Richmond House, Appledore, to Mr H M Bazeley at an undisclosed price; 2 acre field near Lookout Appledore to George Cork £300. A 6 acre field adjacent to Swiss Cottage was withdrawn at £800 by Messrs Hole Seldon & Ward Solicitors. Messrs R Blackmore have the Castle Inn No. 20 Allhalland Street, Bideford for sale. It is suggested that it can be used as a boarding house. Forrest Hill, the residence plus 10¾ acres is also offered for sale. Offered for sale from Messrs A W Cock is Higher Shute at Littleham in one lot and a field of land which is part of Stanbury Estate, Raleigh, Northam.

Upwards of 40 hands are now employed in the preparation of the new shipyard at Higher Cleave Houses, Bideford.

R Blackmore & Son has received instructions to sell by auction a Ford Touring Car. It has one spare and interchangeable wheel, new cylinders and practically a new hood. The Sale will follow on after the sale of 50 Army horses.

This month sees the Gazette filled with transport related adverts –

Lorries, cars and motorcycles are becoming available to purchase and businesses that were curtailed through staff being conscripted are trying to re-establish themselves.

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


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – March.



Finnish Herring Pie – baked herring with tomatoes.


4 /6 herrings.

2 large onions.

oil/ butter.

1-2 ½ lbs of potatoes (6-med/large potatoes).

S &P.

½pt. milk.



Scale and bone the herring and clean by removing the roes and washing inside.

Soak in salted water for several hours before using. Slice up the drained herring fillet.

Fry the onions lightly in the oil until golden.

Grease a fireproof dish with butter.

Put in a layer of sliced potatoes -followed by a layer of sliced onions and sliced tomatoes and slices of herring fillets.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Top with the remaining sliced potatoes and pour over the milk.

Cook in the centre of the oven for 90 mins at Gas Mark 4-180C.

Serve with extra green vegetables or with crusty bread for supper.


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One hundred years ago – January 1919.

At the beginning of January it was announced by the Food Controller, Mr Clynes, that no more ration books will be printed. The current issue will expire on April 19th. Margarine will be the first rationed food to be “de-rationed” and butter probably the last to regain its freedom. The meat situation is already improving thanks to deliveries from Argentina and it is hoped that the sugar supply will improve next month.

Later in January it was stated that there might still be some food rationing after April but that it would be much less restrictive.

Heavy rains have reduced farm land to a sodden condition and almost all work has been at a standstill. The autumn sown wheat, oats and beans look promising, but straw is very scarce at present.

Bideford Chamber of Trade has received a letter from the Paper Controller expressing thanks for the large quantity of waste paper collected by the local community.

Mr T Williams, carrier, of Hartland advertises that he now runs a service to Bideford on Thursdays as well as on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Two lambs were born at Norton Farm on January 8th, believed to be the first of the year.

Bideford Rural Council hopes to obtain a portion of the Government Road Improvement Grant to convert the track of the Bideford to Appledore Railway to a metalled road. With its straight course and easy gradients it is believed that this would be a great service to the public.

W Huxtable of Heale Farm, Littleham appeals for help in finding a lost two year old dark Devon heifer. A black Pekinese bitch has strayed from Firsball, Woodtown and two homing pigeons belonging to Mr Lewis have failed to return to their loft in Bridgeland Street.

Messrs R Blackmore & Sons have sold by auction fifty Army horses. All were sold within one and a half hours, prices ranging from £30 to £73.

A public meeting was held at Northam National School to discuss erecting a public memorial to parishioners who had fallen in the War. The War Office has promised a captured machine gun for the village. Proposals included a new village hall, a cross in the Square and a shelter for the aged on Bone Hill. A small committee has been formed to consider these ideas and consult with the families concerned.

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


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One hundred years ago – November 1918.

In the Gazette of 9th November we learn that President Wilson has transmitted to Germany the Terms of Surrender required by the Allies as reached at the Versailles meeting. There are reports of a German Naval mutiny; the Naval Commandant of Keil has been shot by his own sailors and in Hamburg and Cuxhaven the red Communist flag replaces the naval pennant.

On 12th November the Gazette proclaims “The Doom of Autocracy”. The Kaiser abdicates and there is revolution inside Germany. The Armistice has been signed and Hostilities ceased yesterday.

At the end of the month the German Fleet surrenders and 9 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 7 light cruisers, 50 destroyers and numerous submarines are escorted across the North Sea to the mouth of the Firth of Forth where they will be taken to Scarpa Flow. The newspaper also reports that the local Regiment, 2nd Devons, are to take part in the triumphal march to the Rhine.

Nationally, a General Election has been called for 14th December. The Prime Minister Lloyd George and Mr Bonar Law publish a joint manifesto and election meetings are advertised in the Market Hall in Bideford on November 29th at 8pm, when Mr C S Parker will address the meeting. (Charles Sandbach Parker, Conservative, failed to be elected in the Barnstaple Constituency, losing by 602 votes). Women electors are holding a meeting in the Town Hall at Bideford at 3pm, moving to Northam at 7.30pm and Appledore at 8.30pm. These meetings will be chaired by Mrs C S Parker and the speaker will be Miss Taylor from Exeter.

(With the hindsight that 100 years affords, we know that the War has ended but on the Home Front little has changed; locally more mundane matters make the headlines in the paper).

Bideford Fuel & Lighting Committee state that under the terms of the 1918 Fuel Wood Order licences will be needed to sell a maximum of 2 tons per year to domestic homes. Industry is not subject to this restriction. These licences can be obtained from Mr E J Labbett, Local Fuel Overseer.

Readers are urged to register their ration of jam, marmalade and sugar at Tattersall’s and Farleigh’s Stores.

The Western Express and Torrington Gazette report that the yield of potatoes is far larger than anticipated and in many districts the yield is “extraordinary”.

Alfred Perrin of Barnstaple Auctions offered the Barley Mow Inn for sale. “The property has for some time since reported for compensation and was recently dealt with by the Compensation Committee at Exeter”. Mr John Curtis who owns the adjoining property was the purchaser at £430. (We have tried to research what this Committee did. Can any of our readers help?)

The influenza epidemic is diminishing; 9 deaths were reported this week in Bideford, which is less than half the previous week.

Bideford Fire Brigade, captained by Mr S Lee, was called to a business premises in Mill Street. The fire originated in a gas cooker in the kitchen at Mrs Wilson’s house but the fire was contained and the reported damage amounted to £200.

Thanksgiving Week services are held across North Devon. An open air meeting was held at Bone Hill, led by Rev. G Payne-Cook and W Charlewood, Leader of Northam UDC.


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


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One hundred years ago – October 1918.

On October 1st the Gazette proclaims that it has been “The Greatest Week of the War” with the Western Front ablaze and Bulgaria surrendering; the following week we are told that “pincers are closing on the Western Front”; Franz Ferdinand’s successor Charles 1 has “renounced participation in State affairs”. Towards the end of October we begin to hear hints that Germany is making moves towards peace.

However on the home front, tribunals continue to take place as men are still needed. In fact a Government directive has been issued to all Chairmen of Tribunals warning them to show no favour or deviation from the required replacement soldiers. Mr W C Friendship, baker, has been exempted until March 1919 with many other men given 3 or 6 month exemptions.

The many friends of Capt. J Whitefield RNR of Westcroft, Bideford will be pleased to learn of the further honour that he has won in the discharge of his duty in seeking the destruction of enemy submarines. He has previously been awarded the Italian Bronze Medal for military valour. He has now had the Distinguished Service Cross conferred.

Alderman J M Metherell, J P and R S Chope, J P, ex -Mayor of Bideford will be among those visiting the Western Front this weekend at the invitation of the War Office.

The local food committee notices state that the maximum price allowed to be charged for milk is 7d per quart, with butter capped at 2/4d per pound.

Jam, marmalade, syrup, treacle and honey will be rationed from November 3rd. Children from 6-18 years will receive an extra ration of jam. Perkins & Son, Fruit Merchants of The Quay, Bideford, have been appointed receivers and packers of fruit for licensed jam factories. They will pay 3d per pound for blackberries and £12 per ton for small apples.

A £1 reward has been offered for information regarding the theft of birds’ eggs from the museum.

The Barley Mow Inn in Mill Street, Bideford, is offered for sale.

The North Devon Permanent and Terminable Benefit Building Society based at Bridge Buildings in Bideford (established 1853) offers a rate of 3.5% on deposits. Mortgages are granted on Easy Terms.

Harvest festivals and thanksgivings are being held around the area, including at Instow, Littleham, Little Torrington and Lavington in Bideford.

It is interesting to note that the Swastika was an international symbol signifying good luck until a German Nationalist leader adopted it in 1920, and it is now reviled world-wide.


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Buzz Byte; Alan Turing.

Do you know who Alan Turing was? Until I watched the 2014 film ‘The Imitation Game’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch, I did not know who he was and what he had contributed.

Mr Turing was a highly intelligent mathematician and logician. During World War II he worked for the government to crack the enemy’s codes that they received on a recovered Enigma machine. Mr Turing deviated from his original purpose and devised a machine that was eventually used to decrypt the coded messages. Along with his fellow code-breakers, working at Bletchley Park, an electro-mechanical device, named the ‘Bombe’ was created to speed up the detection of the key to that day’s encoded enigma messages. It is said the Churchill declared Mr Turing’s efforts had shortened the war by two years, saving millions of lives across the globe. This work earned him the title of ‘The Father of Modern Computing.’

It was Alan Turing who developed the idea of the modern computer and data science. Back in 1936 he wrote a paper about humans’ ability to perform a specified task ; he created a ‘universal machine’ which could decode and perform any set of instructions. It would be another 10 years before his concept was turned into a practical machine. The telephone decryption, codenamed Delilah, which he worked on during his time at Bletchley Park gave him practical experience with electronics. In 1946 Mr Turing designed the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), which stored programmes in its memory. The key principles of theoretical and applied mathematics along with engineering and computer skills allowed him to be pioneering in these developments towards technology.

I thought that artificial intelligence (AI) was a relatively new concept, but Mr Turing had already devised the notion by claiming that a computer could rival independent human thought. He compared human and machine outputs; the Turing test. In these he predicted the advancement of AI. In his initial tests an interrogator asked the same questions of a human and a computer, not knowing which was which,(the computer responses were textual.) He debated whether computers should be seen as intelligent from the response. The idea was to determine if a computer could imitate a human, and from Facebook’s recent endeavour into AI, they can.

This is only a brief look into a very interesting and influential life. Alan Turing died in 1954, just short of his 42nd birthday, a victim of his sexuality.

Nickie Baglow.


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Felicity’s September fish recipe.

They have been catching salmon on the River Torridge for a thousand years and this year at the Appledore and Instow Regatta there was an advert for the Open Salmon Boat races, which said that back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s there were 36 licensed salmon boats on the rivers Taw and Torridge.

Now there are none remaining! We need to celebrate the local salmon fishing skills and traditions.

So Keep Appledore Fishing.

Please join us on the Sustainable Fish Education group if you would like to help the Celebration we are planning next year ; like us on Appledoresustainabelfish face book, or contact [email protected].

With this lovely outdoor summer weather, we have all been able to plan BBQs. Here is an interesting easy recipe from Jamie Oliver, with a cucumber yoghurt and/or a chilli salsa which can be prepared and eaten with most BBQ food.

Crispy BBQ Salmon.

1 x1.5kg side of salmon, scaled and pin boned, or a fillet of salmon with skin on, as large as required!


1. Place the salmon skin-down on a plastic board, and using a sharp knife slash it evenly all over on the fleshy side, making the incisions about 1cm deep.

2. Scatter lemon zest and most of some chopped fennel tops or basil over the salmon and then push them into the incisions.

3. Rub the fish lightly all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, with extra on the skin.

4. Lay the salmon skin down on the hot BBG bars for approx. mins. Carefully turn the salmon side or fillets over and cook for 2/3 mins – while it is cooking gently lift off the skin away from the skin and cook separately until crispy.

5. Do not overcook; lift it off and place on a nice plate or board and allow to cool, then break into pieces for serving alongside the crispy skin.

Cucumber Yoghurt.

1 cucumber, peeled lengthwise in strips.

300ml natural yoghurt.

1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped.

A bunch of mint or oregano leaves, chopped.

Extra virgin olive oil.

Cut the cucumber in half, remove and discard the seeds, chop it up and mix it in a bowl with the yoghurt. Balance the flavours with the lemon juice, half the chopped chilli and half the chopped herbs. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil. Season carefully with salt and pepper.

Chilli Salsa.

1-2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped.

Extra virgin oil.

2-3 med. ripe tomatoes.

½ cucumber, peeled and finely diced.

Juice of 1 lime.

2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced.

Small handful of fresh chopped coriander leaves.

1 avocado, peeled and chopped.

Mix all these ingredients together and sprinkle with whole coriander when served.


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One hundred years ago – September 1918.

There are several Court cases this month that are worthy of mention.

Brought before Bideford Borough Magistrates was Frank Rendall, 21, a clerk of 15 Victoria Grove Meddon Street. He pleaded Not Guilty to a charge of “riding a cycle furiously” down Bideford High Street at 8.30pm on Saturday August 17th. According to the police report he was doing a least 20 mph and barely avoiding the groups of public walking in the street. He rode around the Bank corner, reappeared from Mill Street and was apprehended. Being found Guilty he was given the option of 14 days imprisonment or a fine and after reflection decided to accept a fine of One Guinea.

The Bench at Bideford County Sessions, made up of Messrs A G Duncan, the mayor Mr A Adams, Rev C H Vivian, F W Bennett, J Henriz-Smith, S Fulford, J Cock and W T Charlewood, hears of 2 youths summoned for using petrol for driving a vehicle under hire that was not properly licenced.

Wm Jenkins of Bay View Northam was fined for failing to obscure a light that could be seen for miles. Fined 6/- as a warning. The owner of 12 Kingsley Terrace Westward Ho! fined one guinea for not keeping a register of lodgers.

A 12 year old boy who pleaded guilty to stealing a pocket watch from a waistcoat in a harvest field and who was recently convicted of cruelty to a horse was ordered to receive 6 strokes of the birch. (In the United Kingdom, birching as a judicial penalty, in both its juvenile and adult versions, was abolished in 1948, but it was retained until 1962 as a punishment for violent breaches of prison discipline.)

Farmers are requested to note that Prisoners of War are available for threshing at the rate of 5d per hour and can be obtained from the POW camps at South Molton, Charles, Knowstone, Worlington and Shebbear. The men will have to be fetched and returned.

Mid-September sees the following report about Parkham weather “It is now much against any progress being made with the corn harvest. The corn which is not cut is being driven down by boisterous weather and will be very slow and troublesome to cut and will cause a lot of wastage by the ripe corn falling out. The outlook at present is rather serious with much corn waiting to be stacked”.

At Hartland the cottages and blacksmith shop mentioned last month sold to Mr John Goaman for £105.

A W Cock auctioneers have an auction at the Friendship Hotel where Nos 1-4 Clarence Terrace Meddon Street were to be sold. Number 1 sold to Mr George Brend for £245 and Number 2 to Mr Robert Ellis for £260. Numbers 2 & 4 were withdrawn at £240 & £255 but were subsequently sold after the auction for higher prices.

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, 9.30am – 1pm.


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Buzz Word.

Handy Cross POW Camp.

I am from Oberhausen, Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia.  I am currently working on a concept for a book about the World War 11 from the point of view of a German prisoner who spent his captivity at POW Camp in Bideford, Handy Cross. Specifically, it is about my father, who unfortunately died in 2007. I would like to use his memories, letters and narratives as the basis for this book.  I need information or clues that I could use in the book. I have already found some on Wikipedia. Is there perhaps further information?  For example, number of guards, how many people were housed there, did the prisoners work and where?  I have included some pictures and postcards from that time (1946-47) – below – and think he was friendly with the Watsons as shown in these photos with my father (on the left). Many thanks and best regards from Germany. 

Uwe Gross.


Amy Pascoe.

I always read the ‘Buzz’ and commend you and your other volunteers for the fine little magazine. The July ’18 edition took my notice with the “Ladies’ Golf Celebrates 150 years”.

I have been compiling a history of my wife’s family ; Amy Pascoe mentioned in the article was her great great aunt. Amy was a keen sportswoman, particularly golf, and is understood to have been an acquaintance of the composer Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) and the Empress Eugenie (1826-1920) of France at Farnborough Hill. She was Lady Champion, 1896, at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.

Ian Harrison.


Stella Temple.

The booklet on 150 years of Ladies Golf featured in your July edition (a thoroughly enjoyable read) makes mention of the sporting prowess of Miss Stella Temple. Her golf alone was of a very high standard: she accompanied the English Ladies Golf Champion to America in 1909 to compete in the U S Ladies Championship, and Miss Temple herself was runner up in the English Ladies Championship in 1912. From a family with a military background, in June 1916 she joined the Red Cross as a ‘chauffeuse’ – she drove vehicles in ambulance convoys to and from the big military hospitals in Northern France, latterly ranked as ‘Commandant’. This work earned her the MBE in January 1919 – she died from pneumonia, following influenza on the 22nd March of that year. She is remembered on the memorial in St Margarets, Northam and on the Northam War Memorial.

I am hoping to mark the 100th anniversary of her death next year with the laying of a wreath. My researches have yet to reveal exactly where she is now buried – if any ‘Buzz’ reader can help me there, I would very much appreciate it.

Michael Sampson.

Name and address supplied.


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“Buzz” website policy.

Buzz” now publishes online only, and we no longer produce a downloadable monthly pdf.  We’ll maintain our archive of past copies and articles of community & local historical interest – a significant proportion of our 420-500 weekly visits are to this type of content.

The website comprises our usual articles (gardening notes, shipping news, cookery, local history, IT advice, etc) and some, not all, matters of community interest. We rely on our local community’s continuing participation in this! There will be no commercial input or advertising, and in fact no regular monthly advertising or schedules for anyone.  We will give publicity to major community events (Regatta, Christmas Lights, Art Trek, etc). We’ll feature local community organisations and their events from time to time, but not on a regular basis. The aim is to limit the number of monthly posts to 15-20, some of which will subsequently be retained in the archive.

The contact details will be the same – Rose Arno on [email protected] for all articles for consideration, and the telephone numbers 07929-976120 and 01237-476549.


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One hundred years ago – August 1918.

(Regular readers will recall that the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway closed on Wednesday 17th March 1917). R Dymond & Son are selling by auction on August 21st the Sheds and General Stores left after the rolling stock had gone. An Engine Shed (wood), 2 Wooden signal boxes, 4 more corrugated iron huts and offices, 7 miles of telephone line from Bideford to Appledore consisting of wire, insulators and posts plus 3 level crossing gates and wheel gear for opening them, 110 Windsor chairs, forms, desks, trestle tables, large street lamps, gate lamps, engine head lamps, signalling lamps and stoves. 7 acetylene generators plus 20 lots of track and train equipment.

Bideford UDC and Bideford RDC urgently require ‘All fruit stones including date stones and hard nut shells for immediate and urgent war purposes’. Collection from jam factories, hotels, restaurants and canteens as well as private houses is needed. With the consent of Education Authorities school children are urged to bring stones for despatch to a munitions department in southern England. Stones will be converted into charcoal to be used in the British respirator, and this type of charcoal has the power to absorb many times more volume than other forms of charcoal.

The possibility of a grouping of local authorities in connection with the work of reconstruction after the war may be said to have come within the range of practical politics. At a gathering of members of Bideford Town Council and Northam Urban District Council at Gammaton Reservoirs the subject was broached and tentative discussion took place.

Walter E Ellis, the proprietor of Ellis & Son builders who are engaged in the repair of Bideford bridge for the Bridge Trust, appeared before the local Tribunal to plead for exemption from the draft. When asked how long the work would go on he said ”Until long after the war is ended” At interview he agreed that he had a 59 year old foreman mason who could oversee the work so he was instructed to be available for service on 1st October

Harvest Help Scheme. Plymouth College OTC went into Farford, Hartland camp arriving by train while 20 students cycled to Hartland and others went by bus. 40 lads will go to Cabbacott at Parkham, these lads come from Devonport High School. Woolsery has lads from the Rossall School, Fleetwood Lancashire.

Property for Sale: Milford Farm, Hartland, 165 acres; 6 bedroom farmhouse and 2 cottages at Elmscott Hartland including a Blacksmith Shop.Wear Gifford Mills and land, 23 acres. Grazing land at Jopes (Chopes?) Bridge, 8 acres. Freehold Dock & Land comprising 0 acres 2 rods 23 perches. Canada Cottage, Barnstaple Street, East the Water, Bideford. Dublin & Wacklow Cottages also at Barnstaple Street. Hill Cliff & Stables, garden at Buckleigh Westward Ho! Also Hill Crest Buckleigh, Hardisworthy Farm, Hartland 43 acres

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


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North Devon coast monographs.




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Clothes for a heat wave?

Fashions change constantly – especially for women. In early Victorian England fashionable women were wearing yards of usually black cloth with their bodies crushed inside spring steel and whalebone corsets. This particular combination severely constrained their movement, and clearly without freedom of dress there was little freedom of movement – and possibly even of ideas.

This was all challenged in 1851 when an American woman Mrs.Amelia Bloomer started to publicise her views on a new style of dress that would ‘liberate’ women. Colloquially termed the ‘Bloomer’ costume it was described in a contemporary book (in rather sexist language) – ‘It resembles male attire, being an open fronted jacket and loose trousers, the latter wide like those of the Turk, but gathered in at the ankles, and when a lady super-added to these, wears a broad-leafed hat, she looks quite as masculine as her lord.’

North Devonians, often seen as very conservative not to say old-fashioned, must have been astonished when in December 1851 a Mrs.Franklin staged a public meeting in Bideford where she spoke on the need for a more ‘liberated’ style of dress – whilst wearing one of the new-fangled ‘Bloomer’ costumes!

Apparently the audience wasn’t that large and amongst the ones who did attend there were few women, it being noted at the time that if they had attended they would have been ‘proud of their sister orator who, we venture to assert without hesitation, would have put many of our masculine platformers to the blush. Her style throughout was lucid, eloquent and convincing.’ A nicely patronising touch there – clearly written by a man.

Unfortunately the ‘Bloomer’ costume never took off as it was mercilessly mocked in the newspapers and magazines of the day – though the freer style of dress did make a triumphant return in the 1890s and 1900s when women followed men by taking up cycling and adopted a much looser style of costume.

Chope’s Catalogue.

In these days of internet buying and vast shopping malls smaller shops are finding it ever harder to make a decent living. Here in Bideford many of our older shops have gone in the last 20 years – including Chopes which was once a major presence in the High Street. Today the Chope family still run the bookshop ‘Walter Henry’s’ (named after W.H.Chope) but their large shop is now operated by ‘McKay’s.’

Chopes didn’t just rely on casual passers-by – they also issued catalogues illustrating the latest fashions with an offer to make up the designs for customers. These catalogues are a wonderful source of fashion designs and doubtless the arrival of the latest ‘Chope’s book’ was a red-letter day in many households.

The earliest surviving one I have seen dates from 1901 and shows some ludicrously wasp-waisted women wearing classic sweeping Victorian dresses and carrying stick-thin parasols. Chope’s did also sell corsets so perhaps these waists were achievable but I doubt it.

The firm continued issuing such guides for some decades after that. An undated catalogue which was probably issued in the 1940s strikes a rather contemporary note when it included a letter from the store which notes ‘This brochure gives some suggestions for tailored styles, any of which can be copied in our workrooms. We make a speciality of adapting youthful styles for larger figures.’ What a wonderfully polite way of putting it! I here reproduce two of the fashion plates inside, the one on the left just out of an Agatha Christie novel! It is odd to think that these very fashionable clothes would now fall into the category of ‘retro’ or even ‘vintage’ today – if any have survived!

Peter Christie.


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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.


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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


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