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Last year American historical fiction author Jill George contacted Tavistock Museum to advise us of her forthcoming visit to undertake research in Tavistock. Arabella Burton Buckley, the heroine of her new novel, “Illuminating Darwin – Arabella’s Light”, lived close to the town from 1893-1895 at Walreddon Manor.
A contractor A D Williams was appointed by the Tavistock Town Council earlier this month and they have now started work on the dry rot repairs at the Tavistock Museum. The scope of work involves removing a timber beam supporting a masonry wall and replacing it with a steel beam, replacing several timber window lintels with concrete, and replacing any timber floor joists affected by the dry rot.
Tavistock Museum was delighted to hear that Tavistock Town Council had generously awarded a grant of £2470.00 for the purchase of equipment for a “mobile museum”.
Chris Gallie (stage name Cyd Child) was a stunt girl and European judo champion. She was the stunt double for Diana Rigg and Linda Thorsen in the Avengers, personal trainer for Joanna Lumley in the New Avengers and stunt double in numerous films and many well-known TV shows.
This year has been a better year than expected for Tavistock Museum. Furthermore the museum has proved resilient against a number of challenges.
The first challenge came as a result of the prolonged closure of the public passageway beneath Court Gate on account of infrastructure work in the Guildhall Square. This adversely affected our sales income. However, in mid-April this year we re-started our second-hand book sales which has surpassed its former popularity now the passageway is open again.
A large banner previously displayed in the United Reform Church at Tavistock has found a new home at Tavistock Museum. The cloth banner shows a painting of the imposing Congregational Church, a gothic structure with a tall spire, built in 1873 which once was a feature of Duke Street.
Tavistock Museum is pleased to announce that it has been successful in bagging £4000 from the Tesco Bags of Help community grant scheme for its new film project.
Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year.
The Tavistock Museum will be open Mondays to Saturdays from the 24th March until the end of October. The museum will normally be closed on Sundays this season.
Our main exhibitions are:
One Hundred Years of Motor Buses in Tavistock
Ronald Gard – A Hero of the Great Escape
Of all the exhibits in Tavistock Museum the one which attracts the most interest is the School Punishment Book from Stowford Church of England School, a small village school, near Lifton. The book was completed for the period February 1935 until November 1946 and records the names and misdeeds of 105 pupils between the ages of 6 and 14. As so many visitors have asked for a copy of the book the museum decided to publish it and now has copies available for sale from the museum shop and on the Devon Museums website.
On Sunday 22nd October 2017 Graham Kirkpatrick, who lived in Parkwood Road, Tavistock and was a familiar figure in Tavistock, passed away aged 91. In recent years he was the carer for his wife Brenda, and could often be seen pushing her wheelchair through the town. He was involved with many town organisations including the Subscription Library, where he organised their coffee mornings on Fridays and the Tavistock Museum where he stewarded on Sundays. He appeared in good health until very recently and it was only last year when the members of the Subscription Library and the volunteers at the Museum sprung a surprise 90th birthday party for Graham, an event which he very much appreciated.
At the Tavistock Museum between 11.00 am and 4.00 pm on Saturday 11th November 2017 there will be the launch of a new book, The Tavistock Canal – Its History and Archaeology, written by Robert Waterhouse and published by the Trevithick Society. The new book will be available for purchase at the launch and the author will be present to sign copies.
The Tavistock Museum will be hosting an exhibition of portrait and landscape paintings by the late Richard Woollcombe from the 16th – 31st October 2017. The museum will be open daily and there will be an extended opening from 10.00am to 4.00pm for this exhibition. There will be no entry charge but as always a donation is much appreciated.
The Tavistock Museum Charitable Trust is delighted to learn that on appeal the West Devon Borough Council has restored the museum’s full 20% discretionary grant for the financial year 2017-2018. Had this not happened the museum, a free-entry town museum run entirely by volunteers, would have had to pay this year nearly £600 in rates on its premises at Court Gate, Tavistock.
It has come as a shock to heritage organisations in West Devon to find that they will no longer have the full financial support of the West Devon Borough Council. Currently heritage organisations which are charities receive a mandatory 80% support grant towards their rates and the remaining 20% is at the discretion of the local authority. In the past the full 20% has generally been given to heritage charities by West Devon Borough Council so that they have not paid any business rates. However for this financial year it has been reduced from 20% to 10% leaving heritage organisations to find the remaining 10% from their own income. It appears that West Devon Borough Council is the only district authority in Devon to implement such a policy.
The town museum will re-open on Saturday 26th March 2016 with two new exhibitions. There will also be a display of military vehicles outside the museum on the opening day. This year’s new exhibitions are:
‘Commemorating 75 Years Since the Opening of Harrowbeer RAF Station, Yelverton’
‘Weddings in the Past’
In 2013 the museum extended into the adjoining cottage and acquired a ground level access leading from the Guildhall Square. Since that time the museum has received 7,000 plus visitors annually.
Our visitor surveys confirm that the majority of visitors come into the museum as the result of seeing our signs when passing; therefore improving our external signage became a priority in our business plan.
2015 sees two brand new exhibitions opening at Tavistock Museum. They are:
The Challenging Roads To Peace Since World War 1
The Traders of Tavistock
Seventy years later I am back in Tavistock’ were the first words said by Don McCarthy, a cheery United States WW2 veteran now ninety years old, when he arrived at Abbotsfield Hall, now Abbotsfield Nursing Home, on Sunday morning. Don served with the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division during WW2. Accompanying Don on his trip to England and later to the D-Day commemorative events in Normandy were his cousin, Father William O’Shea, and Charlotte Juergens, a great-grand-daughter of another veteran. Charlotte from Yale University is compiling a film and photographic record of this remarkable trip by one of the last of the surviving American WW2 veterans.
Tavistock Museum has received a locality grant from Devon County Council which will be put towards the cost of new kitchen facilities for use by the museum volunteers.
Last Thursday (31st October) Cllr Debo Sellis presented a cheque for £3000 to museum trustee Linda Elliott. She said ‘I am very happy to support Tavistock Museum. I believe this is an excellent use of the County Councillor’s locality budget as the museum is of interest to our community and our visitors, and a real asset to our World Heritage Site. Well done and a big thank you to the wonderful team of volunteers.’
The Tavistock Museum Charitable Trust is pleased to announce that the town museum will re-open on Easter Saturday 30th March 2013. Visitors will for the first time enter from its new extension which has a ground level entrance from the Guildhall Square leading into a welcome area and interpretation rooms. There are also new kitchen facilities for the museum stewards, and a small shop area.