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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Steampunk Hat Workshop in St Paul's Church

Thankyou everyone for your support. We've now accumulated enough steampunkstuff for future workshops, but more donations can always be used

The materials gathered for this workshop included:

  • Hats, watches and trimmings from The Attic, Baker's Yard, Alphinbrook Road, Alphington, Exeter EX2 8RG
  • More hats from charity shops
  • Spectacles
  • Net, silver trimmings, gold card, ribbons and black fascinator bases from Exeter Scrapstore 
  • Nuts, bolts, chains, tools 
  • Material and leather pieces
  • Feathers
  • Buttons
  • Jewellery
  • a clock 
Look at this fabulous creation by a 6-year-old. He picked out the top hat, and arranged all the steampunk bits and pieces he fancied. Then we used a glue gun to fix them to the hat. Magic!

Steampunk creation

Here's what's on the marvellous topper:

2 zips
2 watches
2 green buttons
piece of a silver sock
a white metal clip

Here's the steampunkhat workshop in St Paul's
Steampunk hat workshop

St Paul's Church was open for the Devon Historic Churches Day
The newly completed Starcross Wall Hanging was on display. Village organisations and residents have each made a square. This is living history.

A leaflet about the history of Starcross Church was given out. St Paul's Church was originally the Holy Trinity Church in Chapel Hill in Exmouth. This church became too small for the increasing congregation, so it was demolished, and the stone was shipped to Starcross to build the Victorian St Paul's.
Photographs and comprehensive information about the history of Starcross was on a side table.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Bond Connection

Last night's talk by Sally Ayres was about Rear Admiral Francis Godolphin Bond, who lived for a time in Starcross. The rare artefacts he brought back from Tahiti are on display in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. 
Tahitian funery costume worn by nobleman

Bond travelled to Tahiti, as Second Lieutenant, with his uncle, who was Captain William Bligh; of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. Bond was the son of William Bligh's half-sister, Catherine.  

Bligh and his nephew were to go on to forge a close relationship. They jointly owned what is now The Ship in Exeter 
Here's their signatures on a legal indenture. Document from Hordern House, Australia:  manuscripts

Sally's interest in Bond comes from her research into RAMM's Pacific Collection

Much of the collections in RAMM was donated by the Devon and Exeter Institution
THE DEVON & EXETER INSTITUTION was founded in 1813 by some two hundred gentlemen of the county and city, [which included Francis Godolphin Bond.]
‘for promoting the general diffusion of Science, Literature and Art, and for illustrating the Natural and Civil History of the county of Devon and the city of Exeter’.

A lease, later to be followed by a freehold, was obtained from the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral of the former town house of the Courtenay family and one-time home of the Parliamentary general, Sir William Waller. Retaining part of the Tudor house at the rear, which still stands, and the gatehouse range fronting the Close, the founding fathers demolished the old hall and kitchen and in their place and on the former courtyard built two lofty libraries lit by domed lanterns, each library with its own gallery, glazed cupboards and extensive shelving. The building, unchanged except for the installation of electric light and gas-fired central heating has a Grade II* rating in the statutory list of historic buildings in the city.

It is of local interest to note that the site of the Devon and Exeter Institution was originally owned by the Courtenay family, of nearby Powderham Castle.
Also, the chairman of this institution today, lives in Starcross.
 BTW their library needs a new roof. It houses over 40,000 volumes: early scientific books, nineteenth century journals and bound volumes of newspapers. HERE is the online catalogue.

 Although the Tahitian artefacts attributed to Bond in RAMM are spectacular, the interest of his voyage was to procure plants; many of which are in our gardens today. The Victorian system of cataloging the exhibits was not rigorous, so there may be more items from the RAMM archives which were brought back by Bond.

Sally showed us the routes of Bligh's expeditions to collect breadfruit and other plants. The excellent seamanship of Captain Bligh is beyond doubt.

Breadfruit had been hailed as the plant to save the world from starvation, but what was intended was to use the remarkable, if unpalatable, Breadfruit, to feed the slaves in the plantations. 
Breadfruit. from wikipedia

Many of the records concerning Bond and Bligh's journeys across the Pacific are held in Australia:
while Bligh's second breadfruit voyage to Tahiti was being arranged, a great deal of other British shipping moving into the Pacific was also being contemplated. Bligh's latest ship, HM Providence (a new West Indiaman) was launched on 25 April. Bligh had received his comission for her by 16 April. Francis Godolphin Bond was appointed First Lt to Providence (420 tons launched at Blackwall, purchased from Mr Perry, ship to have marines from Chatam, a complement of 134 men.)

One of Rear Admiral Godolphin Bond's sons was Rev. Edward Copleston Bond M.A. of Exeter College, Oxford. From 1865, the Reverend Edward Coplestone Bond lived in the vicarage,
net yearly value £184, with residence and about 5 ¾ acres of glebe, in the gift of the Deans and Chapters of Exeter and Salisbury alternately,

The only known image of Bond is a silhouette. He was badly injured when serving on board ship at the age of 13, so probably would not want to record his disfigured face.

Bond died on October 26 1880. He was buried in the cemetery of Exeter's Holy Trinity Church, with  his wife Sophia, who died on 2 February 1870 and their daughter Margaret who died on 3 February 1831.
This graveyard was removed by the City Council in l987-88 and the remains were reinterred in Exeter Higher Cemetery. All that remains of the Bond family tomb is a simple gravestone.
Holy Trinity  Church was deconsecrated in 1969, and stood empty and derelict for 20 years.The Royal Navy rescued this lovely Victorian building, which is now The White Ensign Club

Sally is interested to hear from anyone who might know any more about the Bond connection to Starcross.
Please comment below or email Starcross History

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Paper Making in the Culm Valley

Feniton History Group and St. Andrew's Church invite you to a talk by Colin
Harris entitled "Paper Making in the Culm Valley".
It will take place in St Andrew's Church, Feniton, near Honiton
 on Wed. 16th Sept at 7:30 pm.

Colin is a local writer whose career was in the paper making industry.
He has written a book on the subject. Along the River Culm at Stoke Canon,
Silverton, Hele and Cullompton were paper mills;
making everything from rough paper to the very finest note paper.
Come and hear how and why the area was so suitable. Colin will have copies
of his book for sale.
Admission £3.00
All proceeds including book sales will go to the Church.

Feniton History Group

St Andrew'sChurch, Feniton

New Projector

Just remembered to order the projector from Amazon. We need it for the Powerpoint presentation at Wednesday's meet. Hope it arrives.

Portable Mini LED Projector

Friday, 4 September 2015

More about Captain Peacock from the Royal Museums, Greenwich

The August 'Item of the Month' on the blog for Royal Museums, Greenwich, is Captain George Peacock.Captain George Peacock (1805–83): Naval Officer, surveyor, inventor, entrepreneur and recipient of Royal Order of the Redeemer

Captain George Peacock (1805–83): Naval Officer, surveyor, inventor, entrepreneur and recipient of Royal Order of the Redeemer

George Peacock was a little-known yet indefatigable inventor and naval officer, born in 1805 at Navy House in Exmouth, Devon. His career spanned a time of immense social change and innovation in Britain – a time which clearly had a great influence on his life and provided much inspiration for his inventions.

Inventor and Naval officer

Propeller model by George Peacock Propeller model by George Peacock, c.1830. Click to view on Collections website
G. Peacock: Plan of a tell-tale dial for ships wheels, Nov 1835 Plan of a tell-tale dial for ships wheels by G. Peacock, Nov 1835. Click to view on Collections website
His father, a former Master in the Navy, owned merchant vessels on which George became an apprentice at the age of 13. He progressed quickly and in 1828 obtained his full Master’s ticket; joining the Royal Navy as engineer of the paddle steamer HMS Echo. He had always been a keen inventor – his first invention was a screw propeller for his father’s boat, which he designed when he was just 17. Aboard the Echo he continued to pursue his interests, patenting an ingenious method of making fresh water from salt, and a method of salvaging wrecks.
In 1835, while Master aboard HMS Medea, he surveyed the Isthmus of Corinth – the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of mainland Greece and marked the line of a possible canal. He presented this chart and associated plans to King Otto of Greece, and in 1882 King George of Greece honoured Peacock with the Royal Order of the Redeemer, when the building of the Corinth Canal commenced. (Western Times, 23 June 1882).

Peacock's later career

In 1840 he left the Royal Navy, accepting employment as Commander within the newly constituted Pacific Steam Navigation Company. This resulted in his contribution to the opening up of trade and communications with Chile and Panama – Peacock became the first Commander aboard steamships to navigate the Strait of Magellan to the Pacific coasts. Fifty years later, the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps acknowledged his debt to Peacock's survey in his own direction of the cutting of the Panama Canal (Western Times, 1881).
In 1848 Peacock settled down to become dock master, and subsequently superintendent, of Southampton Docks. In the same year, he formed a company, Peacock and Buchan, for the manufacture of his patented anti-fouling paint for iron ships. He was able to claim that numerous iron sailing ships had returned from India and the west coast of South America 'after an absence of from ten to fourteen months with perfectly clean bottoms'. However, in 1860, perhaps feeling the need for exploration again, he led an expedition to the Spanish Sahara, under the patronage of Napoleon III, to search for guano and mineral deposits.

Inventions and publications

George Peacock: Letters of Patent for a Propeller, January 1855, including Great Seal of the Realm of Queen Victoria George Peacock: Letters of Patent for a Propeller, January 1855, including Great Seal of the Realm of Queen Victoria.
George Peacock's Swan boat, Illustrated London News, Oct 1860 George Peacock's Swan boat, Illustrated London News, Oct 1860
Considering his illustrious career, very little seems to have been written about him. Clues to his achievements in the forms of inventions and manuscripts can be found in various museums and archives around the country. Between 1828 and 1876, Captain Peacock was credited with inventions including: an invulnerable floating battery; a refuge buoy beacon; a granulated floating poncho – termed a ‘life, limb, and treasure preserver’, the ‘Nautilus Bathing Dress’, the top half of which was inflatable and designed for ‘Swimming in Safety with Decorum’; and The iconic Swan of the River Exe, a private 10-berth yacht with the appearance of a giant mute swan (four smaller vessels called ‘Cygnets’ would transport passengers to the Swan, only one of which remains in existence today at Topsham Museum in Devon).
Peacock also published several pamphlets, among them Official Correspondence relating to his naval career (1859), Handbook of Abyssinia (1867), A Treatise on Ships' Cables (1873), The Resources of Peru (1874), and Notes on the Isthmus of Panama and Darien (1879).
The Caird Library is fortunate to store items relating to Captain Peacock, alongside an exciting possible new discovery – an unattributed plan of a ‘tell tale dial for ships wheels’ signed ‘G. Peacock’, perhaps invented by him during his time in the Royal Navy. Other well-documented items include: a copy letter book containing correspondence regarding his inventions and letters of Patent for a Propeller, the model of which is also held in the Museum stores.

Further information

For more information please see the following sources:
ZAZ6817: G. Peacock: Plan of a tell-tale dial for ships wheels, Admiralty Sailing Navy Collection
Plan showing the front elevation and side elevations of the upper dial and lower dial mechanisms for the tell-tale system on the steering wheel of warships. 10th Nov 1835.
SLR2386: Model of propeller
Propeller screw – wrought iron, with blades shaped like a bee’s wing, or parabolic in their curvature. (NMM Brass Foundry)
MSS/82/045: Peacock, George, Letters of Patent for a Propeller, dated January 1855
Copy of agreement and patent certificate – copy refers to diagrams (not included) – the section and sketches reside at Liverpool Record Office (387 PEA/3/16). This item also contains a Great Seal of the Realm of Queen Victoria.
MSS/79/129: Peacock, Captain George (1805 - 1883) Copy Letter Book 1858 to 1860
Ref: (ILN): Illustrated London News: Oct 30th 1860 p. 352
An article and illustration relating to the Swan boat.
Mariner's mirror, v.66, No.1, February 1980, pp.17-29
'Captain George Peacock: the pioneer commander of Pacific Steamers.' Duncan, Roland. E.
Sea Breezes, new series, volume 11, pages 194-196, 1951. - 387.205 SEA
'Outstanding Shipmaster of the 19th Century, George Peacock'
Drawings relating to the propeller patent MSS/82/045 are held at Liverpool Museum and the last surviving Cygnet boat, alongside more examples of his inventions, reside at Topsham Museum, Devon.
Katherine Weston, Archives Assistant

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Our Swan of the Exe has a new home

Vicky Jocher's sculpture of The Swan of the Exe

will be moved to her new home just as soon as the ground has been prepared for her.
The Swan will be installed in the Holcombe Community Orchard
If you can help with her move from Teignmouth to Holcombe, please get in touch.