Past events at Devon Heritage Centre
Centuries of Change – a talk by Dr Ian Mortimer, 8 April, 2015In his new book, Centuries of Change, Dr Ian Mortimer asks which of the last ten centuries saw the most change in the Western World.
It's an enormous question, and like most enormous questions, it can be answered in a variety of ways. But where do you begin? Ian started by considering the spot where he was sitting at that moment, at his desk in Moretonhampstead, Devon.
The ensuing journey incorporated some huge changes (such as the real importance of Columbus, in breaking the Old World's faith in the corpus of ancient Greek and Roman knowledge), some overlooked changes (such as the importance of the growth of markets and money: you can live a normal life without great inventions like space travel but you can't get by today without money) and some unnoticed changes (such as the development of individualism, and the invention of the concept of the future).
And at the end of it all, Ian gave himself an even harder task - that of considering what it means for the next thousand years.
Ian Mortimer is one of the most innovative historians working today, pushing the boundaries of both literary form and historical methodology. He also is a keen advocate of the public importance of history, at national level and in the community. In addition to Centuries of Change (2014), he is the author of The Greatest Traitor: the Life of Sir Roger Mortimer (2003); The Perfect King: the Life of Edward III (2006); The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England’s Self-Made King (2007); The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (2008) and The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (2009).
Devon Archive Treasures from Somerset, 24 March, 2015On Tuesday 24th March at the Exeter Guildhall, High Street, Exeter, there was an exhibition of documents relating to Devon, which are held in the collections at the Somerset Archives and Local Studies Service at Taunton. The exhibition was designed to showcase the range of Devon material which resides in the neighbouring county and to promote the partnership between the two counties’ services which the new South West Heritage Trust now embodies.
Explore Your Archive Week, 10-15 November, 2014
During the week beginning Monday 10th November, we joined with our colleagues from the Meteorological Office, Exeter Cathedral, Exeter University and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum to stage a series of events designed to showcase the city’s archival treasures. This was titled Exploring Exeter’s Archives, and formed part of the national Explore Your Archive campaign which was co-ordinated by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association.
On the afternoon of Monday 10th November we staged an event called Exploring Devon’s Hidden Heritage, at which a range of the most impressive and significant documents from the collections of the Heritage Centre and the National Meteorological Archive, which is also based in Great Moor House, were displayed.
Documents on display from the National Meteorological Archive included weather charts relating to the Allied invasion of Normandy on ‘D-Day’, 1944, the original Beaufort Scale, materials from the Scott Antarctic Expedition of 1911, private weather diaries mentioning victory at Trafalgar, the first weather forecast prepared by Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy, founder of the Met Office, and ships’ logs including mention of the Titanic disaster.
Documents from the Devon Heritage Centre included items from the Exeter City Archives collection, particularly John Hooker’s 16th century History of Exeter. Also on display were maps of the county from the 16th century to the 20th, some of the oldest books published in the county, old photographs of many historic landmarks and landscapes, and documents from the Heritage Centre’s vast collection of parish and diocesan records.
Later in the week there was a range of talks and workshops at Exeter Cathedral, and a member of Devon Heritage Services staff was present at some of these.
Friends of Devon’s Archives annual general meeting and conference, 20 October, 2014
The meeting and conference was held at the Devon Heritage Centre. The theme of the conference was Crime and Punishment, and speakers included Angela Sutton-Vane (Curator at the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary Heritage & Learning Resource -- the police museum at Okehampton) and PhD student at the Open University’s International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice). Also speaking were Dr John Booker (Formerly Deputy County Archivist at Essex Record Office and Chief Archivist at Lloyds Bank and currently volunteer cataloguer and palaeography tutor at the Devon Heritage Centre), David Hawkings (Researcher and author of several genealogical publications, including Criminal Ancestors and Bound for Australia), and Professor Kim Stevenson (Professor of Socio-Legal History at the University of Plymouth and Co-director of the SOLON network of universities (Interdisciplinary Studies in Law, Crime and History).
Subjects covered were The Case of the Missing Crime Files and the Future of Policing History; The Right to Remain Silent Project: Cataloguing Devon’s Quarter Sessions records; Bound for Australia: A Westcountry Case Study, and Newspaper Crime Reporting in the 19th and Early 20th Century.
Rights of Way Committee training session
On Monday 29 September 2014, Devon Heritage Centre hosted a training session for members of the Devon County Council Public Rights of Way Committee in the searchroom. The training was delivered by Alison Smith of the council’s Public Rights of way section, but we were responsible for locating and providing various relevant documents from our collections for the councillors to look at.
Researching World War One event, September 2014On Monday 8th September a successful one day event was held at the Devon Heritage Centre in connection with the Devon Remembers project. It was designed to assist local historians in their research on individuals involved in World War I, and on wartime events in their own parish or town. An audience of approximately forty people listened to informative talks by Rob Palmer of the British Military History website, Ann Bond of the Kenton Past and Present Society and Jan Wood, an archivist on the staff of the Heritage Centre. We hope that the day gave those who attended some vital pointers to ways in which they can enhance and develop their research, and we look forward to seeing many of them in the Heritage Centre searchroom.
Radio Devon broadcast, January 2014
The ‘Good Morning Devon’ programme, broadcast live from the Devon Heritage Centre on 17 January 2014, was a great success and made for a really interesting listen. Several staff got up especially early to contribute to the show’s success. The presenter, Matt Woodley, sent us a nice thank you afterwards and said that he had received universally positive feedback about the programme. Matt has given us an audio recording of the show to go with the archive copy of the Radio Devon audio time capsule which he presented to Devon Heritage Centre on the day. It must be physically the smallest deposit in the history of the record office – a mini-USB memory stick with the BBC Radio Devon ‘audio time capsule’ on it. Ian Ponsford of Conservation has made it a bespoke box and it’s now stored in the fridge in the photographic strongroom. Irene Andrews has made a copy of both audio recordings on CD for use in the searchroom, should anyone ask to listen to them.