Devon Archives and Local Studies Service

Devon History Forum

Introducing the Devon History Forum

The Devon History Forum acts as a co-ordinating forum providing mutual support, advice, information, training opportunities, events and online networking for all groups, organisations and bodies interested in exploring, collecting and promoting all aspects of the unique history and heritage of the county of Devon.

The Forum operates without a formal constitution, committee structure or any of the usual administrative trappings of a large society, and it is hoped that this will help to create a truly collaborative mutual support network operating across the county. There is an annual get-together and regular meetings and training opportunities, many of which take place at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter, but our meetings can also be held in other suitable venues throughout Devon. An important element of these meetings is to exchange information, share ideas and best practice and encourage a co-ordinated approach to furthering the awareness of Devon’s heritage.

An online networking platform is absolutely central to the success of the Devon History Forum and we have established a Devon History Forum’ page on Facebook to act as a channel for discussion, posting news and coming events and generally encouraging the development of an online Devon History community that is open to all, amateur and professional alike, with similar interests and concerns. Please visit our page on a regular basis and add your content and views – obviously, you or your organisation will need to have a Facebook account yourselves in order to do this but it is very quick and easy to set this up and it is totally free to participate.

Our current focus in the Devon Archive & Local Studies Service is on supporting community heritage projects and, particularly, the digitisation of local collections including oral history material. We are establishing a Devon Heritage community on the innovative community heritage website eHive, and we would be happy to advise and guide groups who have material they would like to promote more effectively through this channel.

To register your wish to join the Forum please send an email to giving your name, the group you belong to (if any – we are happy for individuals to join the forum) and your contact details. You will then be added to our membership directory to ensure that you receive up to date information on developments.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Devon History Forum.

Irene Andrews, Devon Archives & Local Studies Service Manager


Devon History Forum training event 2013

The inaugural History Forum training event was held at Devon Heritage Centre on 15 July, 2013. Topics identified by Forum members covered on the day were an introduction to eHive and using social media.

Feedback from the event was uniformly positive.

Devon History Forum


Devon History Forum annual meeting 2013

The annual meeting of the Forum was held at the Heritage Centre on 23 September, 2013, and it included interesting presentations by Freeline Graphics on how they can help local groups with their presentations through fixed displays and touchscreen units, Maureen Selley on the work of Devon Family History Society, Katie Findlay of the Blackdown Hills Outstanding Area Of Natural Beauty on their successful ‘Dunkeswell War Stories’ oral history project, and Julia Neville on how the Devon History Society can help to support cross-community research projects.

Unfortunately, there was only time for a brief look at the Dunkeswell project DVD on the day, so we are planning to feature it in more depth at the next Service Point meeting scheduled for 9 December 2013.

Websites of the major county history and heritage societies in Devon:

Researching World War One Information Day

The Devon History Forum, in association with the Devon Remembers Project, held a successful World War I Research Day at the Devon Heritage Centre on Monday 8 September, 2014. An audience of approximately forty people listened to talks by Rob Palmer of the British Military History website, Ann Bond of the Kenton Past and Present Society and Jan Wood, archivist at the Devon Heritage Centre. We trust that the day gave some vital pointers to ways in which attendees can enhance and develop their research, and we look forward to seeing many of them using online and documentary sources available in the Heritage Centre searchroom, in the future.

Devon History Forum annual meeting 2014

The annual meeting of the Devon History Forum was held at the Devon Heritage Centre on Monday 3rd November, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The two ‘keynote speakers’ were David Gwyther, who is Chairman of the new South West Heritage Trust, and Tom Mayberry, who is the Trust’s first Chief Executive.  David and Tom introduced the Trust and talked about the ways in which it expects to safeguard and enhance heritage provision in both Devon and Somerset. Both answered questions from the audience.

Jill Drysdale of Totnes Museum Service Point, talked about her recent research on women of Totnes in World War I, and Julia Neville of Devon History Society, talked about upcoming local history research projects in which the society is to be involved, including pre-1870 Devon schools, the Devon Garden History Forum, and Food and Farming History in Devon in World War I.