Please click the photo to donate to St Paul's Church Bells

Monday, 29 February 2016

Best Peacock's Tail Trophy

The trophy for Best Peacock's Tail
 This is the trophy which will be awarded on St George's Day - April 23rd - for Best Peacock's Tail. The trophy is about 9 inches high - 23cms. It's made from a glass vase and a wooden ashtray - both from Ellie's Attic on Shutterton
Ellie's Attic is piled high with an amazing assortment of treasure. Do pay them a visit - and let them know you found out about them here, on the Starcross History blog! Cheers

The peacocks' tails will have another day out in Starcross, on Scarecrow Day; June 18th, before they spend the summer in Teignmouth, on Trail Recycled Art in the Landscape

Here's another idea how use rubbish to make your peacock's tail for the peacocks' tails trail: The tail in this picture has been made by fastening some old fishing rods to the back of a weathered plastic garden chair. Blue netting, which has been used on scaffolding, covers the fan of fishing rods. Concentric circles of plastic, milkbottle-tops and buttons have made the eyes of the tail.

The knotted scaffolding netting in front of the tail resembles a peacock?? ... sort of... His eyes were made with orange buttons.  needs a bit more work...

Please let us know by April 1st where in Starcross you will site your tail and its letterbox-style stamp, so that we can add it to the trail stamp-cards for the children to collect the stamps, and enter it into the competition for the trophy. The trail will start at Captain George Peacock's grave in St Paul's churchyard, and finish in St Paul's Church.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Researching the yacht Kelpie, CJ Ross and John Fletcher

Please can you help Clare McComb with her research of the Starcross connection with the yacht Kelpie? Clare is writing a book about this graceful little craft, which still races today.

  • Can you add to the known history of either CJ Ross who owned Kelpie during the time he was commodore of the Starcross Yacht Club. Ross owned Kelpie from c 1928 - 38.
  •  or John Fletcher, who lived in Starcross and looked after Kelpie for CJ Ross
  •  Does anyone have memories of the yacht Kelpie in Starcross? 1928 to 1938
  • Does anyone have any photographs of Kelpie in Starcross? 1928 to 1938
 Kelpie was designed as a 57  foot gaff cutter, in 1903 by Alfred Mylne. She measures 38 feet at her water line, and so she raced with the 42 footers. When yacht sizes were re-hashed using metre measurements, she qualified to race in the 12 metre races. The photo below is on the British Classic Yacht website. Read about Kelpie here 

  Clare clarifies any confusion about her size: Kelpie's  length is 38 foot LWL ( water line) her LOA (overall length) is over 57 feet according to Lloyds register - these are different measurements for the same yacht!

Many lead yacht-keels were used in the World War 11 effort, but Kelpie survived intact.

Kelpie was once owned by CJ Ross, who was Commodore of Starcross Yacht Club. He was Commodore of Starcross yacht club  from its re-foundation in the early 1930s until the late 30s or maybe beyond. He died in summer 1942. He gave them a cup at the founding.

Here's a newspaper cutting about him, which seems to say that he lived in Starcross. Clare has since discovered that CJ Ross, - onetime Sheriff of Exeter lived in Dawlish.

Kelpie was looked after by John Fletcher of Starcross. John Fletcher's grandfather was Parish Clerk at St Paul's

Kelpie would have been moored locally at around the same as The Swan of the Exe was moored off Starcross pier. Was she moored near The Swan? Today, many of the summer deepwater moorings in the Exe aren't used until the Exe bore has passed through in the Spring. Perhaps Kelpie was moored somewhere else? Exmouth or Teignmouth? Topsham?

Keplie has been restored in many yards, one of which was Nash and Holden, at Dartmouth

Is this bakelite or fakelite?

Please can anyone help? How much should our charity shop ask for this necklace? Is it very rare? Perhaps ebay's the answer.
Bakelite often gets faked, but this looks real enough. It's not ivory. It's definitely plastic. It's been carved. The flowers look as though they've been made by squeezing together 2 circles of the plastic when it was heated and soft&pliable.
The Westbank Charity Shop had priced it at just £1, but if the carved ivory-coloured beads edged with brown; are made from bakelite, then each bead is quite rare. The necklace itself is threaded on wire. At one side of the clasp, there are 2 oval beads, but only one on the other side. Could it be all that remains from a much larger necklace?

clasp. 2 beads one side, 1 bead the other

20p shows size-
Largest oval carved bead
 This link advises on identifying bakelite

This link  advises "Even plain pieces aren't dirt cheap these days, but they won't run anywhere near $100 to several thousands of dollars like the elaborately decorated items with intricate carvings, polka dots and fancy shapes fetch from avid collectors."

so could these intricately carved beads and unusual flower shapes be worth LOADASMONEY?  Thousands of pounds?

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Peacock Club at Starcross Primary School

The children in artist Melisssa Muldoon's Peacock Club produced another terrific amount of wonderful work today at Starcross Primary School

Because the tails are for outdoor display, the materials the children picked to make the eyes in the tails include bottletops, buttons, plastic sheets, CDs, pipe insulation and tinfoil. The pipe insulation had to be sawed up to make the circles.

The amazing tails are made from all sorts of rubbish too!

plastic milkbottle feathers on a broken leaf-rake

green plastic feathers attached to an old TV aerial

Wooden slats on a tyre base. blue scaffolding netting .

green corrugated plastic tail

The Peacocks' Tails Trail will start and finish at St Paul's Church on Saturday, April 23rd - St George's Day. There will be a stamp and an inkpad near each tail. The first 50 fully stamped-up cards will win a real peacock's feather.
The peacocks' next outing will be in Starcross Sportsfield, on Scarecrow Day - Saturday, June 18th. They will spend the summer on the Teignmouth Trail Recycled Art in the Landscape.

Can anyone please make another tail, (or three) ? Make them out of anything you like, and let us know before April 1st if you want your tail(s) to be included on the St George's Day trail around Starcross. We have a trophy for the best tail. 

We're using peacock's tails to signpost our history trail, in memory of our Victorian adventurer and inventor, Captain George Peacock. Search this website to discover all about him. There's an easy way to do this. Instead of typing Captain George Peacock into the SEARCH box, simply look in the LABELS  underneath this post, and click on Captain George Peacock.
Our club badge depicts his iconic yacht, The Swan of the Exe.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Photos and determination to save the railway carriage camping at Dawlish Warren

Mary Cullen of Dawlish remembers many happy family holidays on Dawlish Warren. Her family travelled from Manchester, and always stayed in the railway camping coaches.

Outside a railway camping carriage at Dawlish Warren

Inside a railway camping carriage at Dawlish Warren

As soon as she received my email about my unsuccessful bid persuade Historic England to give the site historic status, Mary replied:

Don't give up I'm not ,we will have to try another track ,I will study the email and try to come up with something else ,thanks for letting me know ,Mary

Sent from Mary's iPad

 Mary phoned later, to say how helpful the owners are - the Great Western Railway Staff Association.
They don't want the site closed, but they need a solution.

Mary is 89 years of age. Thanks Mary. 

The site will be for sale. Perhaps a team of enthusiasts will buy the site and run it? 

Emily Sheen from Historic England is still trying to help. She suggests that we contact the Teignbridge Conservation Officer, so I have emailed Maureen Pearce, and copied the email to Tracy Baker, General Secretary of the Great Western Railway Staff Association. I have invited representatives from both to our meeting on March 9th, so that perhaps we might have someone knowledgeable to lead our discussion about the railway carriage camping site

Friday, 19 February 2016

Negative reply from Historic England re listing the camping coach park at Dawlish Warren

Another strategy is needed to save the iconic railway carriage camping park at Dawlish Warren because the attempt has failed to persuade Historic England to list it in the National Heritage List for England. We will discuss this at our meet on 9th March.

Historic England say that there is no evidence to prove that the site " possesses evident significance that makes it obviously worthy of inclusion on the National Heritage List for England". It follows then that the threat to its existence is not a consideration for Historic England.

The options open now include contacting Teignbridge,  our local historic environment records officer, and local conservation groups. Or maybe another application might be successful if it were to be worded in a better way than I did? The Great Western Railway Staff Association are actively trying to find a purchaser who will take on the carriages with the site; so that camping carriages on Dawlish Warren will continue.

Can anyone please help with any of this?

If anyone has any more suggestions about the way forward, please get in touch ASAP.

Historic England replied today, Friday, to my application which I submitted 4 days ago. Here's what they say:

Monica Lang
Starcross History
Our Ref: 1433532
Direct Line: 0117 975 0675
19 February 2016
Dear Ms Lang,
Brunel Camping Coach Park, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish
Thank you for your application for the assessment of Brunel Camping Coach Park for listing.
We appreciate your time and enthusiasm spent considering places that could be added to
the National Heritage List for England.
We have now carefully considered the contents of your application. Unfortunately, the
current circumstances of Brunel Camping Coach Park do not fall into any of the three
categories used by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to prioritise designation
resources on those sites that are most in need of protection. Those categories are:
1. Threat: any candidate for designation demonstrably under serious threat of demolition
or major alteration
2. Strategic Priority: any candidate for designation of a type that is a strategic
designation priority under the Historic England Action Plan, Historic England’s
programme of strategic work. You can find a list of this year’s projects on our website
3. Evident Significance: any building or site that possesses evident significance that
makes it obviously worthy of inclusion on the National Heritage List for England
Historic England is therefore currently unable to take your application further. Although you
mention the closure of the site in your application, at present we cannot consider the site to
be under serious threat demolition or alteration. Should the situation change, particularly with
regard to any specific threat to the building, you could submit a new application in the future.
We should also point out that on the information provided with your application, it appears
that the building is unlikely to meet the statutory criteria for listing - special architectural or
historic interest - in any event. Horizontal surfaces such as pavements and other similar
structures are listed only exceptionally, and the criteria for selection are stringent: in order to
merit consideration for designation, they must be of demonstrably early date, be undisturbed,
and form part of the curtilage of listed buildings or structures. Therefore even if the
circumstances of the site were in the future to fall into the priority categories set out above,
we would still be unlikely to recommend it for designation unless there was significant new
information supplied with the application at the time.
There are other approaches to the protection of this site that you can take. Your local
authority can advise you on the local designation options available, and you may wish to
speak to your local Historic Environment Records Officer or conservation group for advice on
such matters. Please follow the link below to download a copy of our 'Frequently Asked
Questions' document also lists the national heritage societies that have an interest in
particular types of buildings and sites. You can also consult our website for more information
We are sorry if this is a disappointing response. Historic England administers a large number
of applications for designation on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The
Department has decided that the finite resources available for the assessment of designation
applications have to be prioritised to the categories most in need of attention. All applications
are rigorously assessed on their individual merits - please see our website for further
explanation of the criteria used to decide on designation, and for guidance on submitting
designation applications. Answers to additional questions that you may have can also be
found in the 'Frequently Asked Questions' document.
Yours sincerely
Emily Sheen
Designation Co-ordinator - West
Historic England
Designation Team West
29 Queen Square
Data Protection Act 1998
Your personal details, along with the other information you have provided and information obtained
from other sources, will be retained by Historic England for administrative purposes and, where
applicable, for future consideration. Historic England will not release personal details to a third party if
the disclosure would contravene the Data Protection principles.
Freedom of Information
Historic England is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 which provide a general right of access to information we hold. We
may provide the information you have supplied in response to a request made under this legislation,
subject to any exemptions which apply. Historic England will consult with external parties as
necessary prior to releasing information.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Application filled in to list the iconic railway carriage camping site at Dawlish Warren with Historic England

Historic England do not list railway carriages for preservation. They are concerned only with buildings, and with sites. They have sent a link to their online application form which enables us to ask them to consider a site for listed status. It took a while, but the form has been completed, so, fingers crossed, Historic England might agree with Starcross History, and decide that the site is an important part of our seaside heritage, and designate it so. This will mean that the site will have to continue to use railway carriages to accommodate the holidaymakers.

explains the steps to take to get the site listed.

The Great Western Railway Staff Association have explained that they have explored all avenues to getting the carriages preserved, but that this is not economically viable. If a buyer for the carriages and the site can be found, the iconic railway camping carriages will continue. In any case, GWRSA will sell at the end of this season in August. Tracy Baker, the secretary of the Great Western Railway Staff Association (who own and manage the iconic site) writes that the carriages may have to be cleared before they are able to sell the site.

Historic England will consider all the information provided, and decide the fate of the Dawlish Warren camping carriages.

Here's some of the details from the online application:


 The iconic railway carriage camping site at Dawlish Warren has been used since the 1930s. It is still owned by the Great Western Railway Staff Association. Articles in the press, and a piece on the television, alleged that it is to close. 


The iconic railway carriage camping site at Dawlish Warren is called The Brunel Camping Railway Coach Park, after the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who is associated with this site as he built the adjacent Great Western Railway. It is owned and managed by the Great Western Railway Staff Association. The GWRSA secretary Tracy Baker has emailed me to say that she intends to clear and sell the site to the highest bidder, if a buyer cannot be found who will continue to run the site as a railway carriage camping site, and who will put in an offer for both the carriages and the site...

There is a media campaign to save this iconic site. People are very sad that the site could close forever, and an important part of English heritage will be lost.

Here is the wiki entry for the site:
"In 1935 a camp coach was stationed in the goods yard which could be rented by holiday makers but the facility was withdrawn in 1940. Camp coaches were reintroduced in 1952, and by 1959 there were nine coaches stationed here. After 1964 the public camp coach service was withdrawn but the coaches at Dawlish Warren continued to be managed by the British Rail Staff Association for its members. The old coaches were replaced for the 1982 season by the current vehicles, since when the connection to the goods yard has been removed."


You kindly explained that the movable railway carriages would NOT be something that Historic England can list. Please be aware that it is not the railway carriages that need to be protected. It is the iconic site which is such an important part of our heritage. If it became yet another caravan site, (which could happen since no planning permission would be needed as there is no change of use,) we will have lost something irreplaceable, since the carriages would need to be enthusiastically maintained so it would not be a commercial option unless grants could be found to finance the work. The carriages themselves will need to be constantly reviewed and replaced or mended. Many people have already added their voice to the campaign to save this iconic site, and getting it recognised by having listed status with Historic England would ensure its continuation since that would be a passport to getting some funding.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Peacocks' Tails Trail Workshop

The children of Starcross Primary School made lots of progress today in Melissa Muldoon's Peacock Club workshop
The workshops started 2 weeks ago. The children looked at pictures of peacocks, real peacock's feathers and a model of a peacock. Because the Peacocks' Tails will be displayed outside, stuff used to make them had to be weatherproof.
Materials gathered included: CDs, silver foil, bottle tops, plastic sheets, buttons and beads. 
Here's some of the peacocks' tails eyes
Peacock's tail eyes made from concentric circles of red and silver foil, plastic, milk bottle tops, buttons and beadsPeacock's tail eyes made from concentric circles of CDs, plastic, milk bottle tops, buttons and beads
Peacock's tail eyes made from concentric circles of silver foil, plastic, milk bottle tops, buttons and beads
Peacock's tail eyes made from concentric circles of silver foil, plastic, milk bottle tops, buttons and beads

 The next stage was to devise a framework for the peacocks' tails. There are lots of ways this could be done. Here's a tail Pauline made by attaching some wooden slats to an old fireguard, covering the slats with green netting, and trimming the netting into a fan shape with feathered edges.
When the children attached the eyes, and some green tinsel was added the result was magnificent. This promises to be a spectacular tail.

Melissa started another tail with a broken garden rake for the base
White feathers, made from plastic milkbottles, were added. More decoration will create another splendid tail.

A another idea from Melissa: attach green plastic feathers; made from a sheet of scrap plastic flooring; to some aluminium rods (which might have once been a TV aerial) 
There's another tail-in-the-making behind this one. It's a broken, blue umbrella.

When the eyes were added to the feathery fan, everyone thought the result was really good

Messy Church in St Paul's Church are going to make 2 tails. One will be for Captain George Peacock's grave in the churchyard, which will be the starting point for the Peacock's Tails Trail around the village. The other Messy Church tail will be the finishing point; in St Paul's Church.

At least 10 tails will be made for the Peacocks' Tails Trail, which will be a trail around some of the historical places in Starcross on St George's Day - Saturday, April 23rd. Tail Trail cards will be on sale in the church on the day, for £1 each. The cards will list the whereabouts of each tail with a rhyming clue, in true Dartmoor letterbox style. Each tail will be near to one of the important places in the village, such as Regent's House where Captain George Peacock lived. Captain Peacock invented a screw propeller, and anti-fouling paint. He designed his iconic, Victorian yacht 'The Swan of the Exe' - which is pictured on  the Starcross History club badge.
The Starcross History club badge depicting The Swan of the Exe in cream and gold Great Western Railway colours

 By each tail on the list will be a Dartmoor letterbox-style rubber stamp with a stamp-pad. The first 50 cards back, complete with all the stamps, will win a real peacock's feather.
Captain George Peacock lived in Regent's House
Look for the letterbox under the mouse 
and please has anyone an old computer mouse they don't need? Cheers 

Starcross residents are invited to make and display a peacock's tail outside their house, with a Dartmoor letterbox-style stamp and pad hidden nearby. For your creation to be listed on the Peacocks' Tails Trail cards, and to have a chance to win the trophy for the BEST PEACOCK'S TAIL; please let us know about it before April 1st. 

The Peacocks' Tails will have another outing on Scarecrow Day; Saturday, 18th June. They also have a 3rd engagement - with Trail Recycled Art in the Landscape in Teignmouth for the summer season.

If you have anything you would give us to make a peacock's tail, please get in touch.