Category Archives: Press Release

Musical Evening at Lupton House

On the evening of Friday 10th October supporters of Brixham Heritage Museum organised a fund-raising event, where they were treated to a wonderful musical evening in the magnificent, acoustic ballroom of Lupton House. The music ranged from classical to World War I patriotic songs and even skiffle. Donna-Marie Hughes performed some exceptional solos, demonstrating why she is universally in demand. The evening was further enhanced by the “in house” catering of Darren Drummond and his team.

Grateful thanks are given to all who performed and to those who attended. As our President, Mr Vernon Duker, pointed out, in the present state of the local economy whereby our financial support might be lost, such fundraising events become more and more essential.

Brixham in the Great War



As a joint venture to commemorate “Brixham in the Great War”, Brixham Heritage Museum, in conjunction with the Friends of Brixham Library and S. Devon Players, has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant.

This will enable the museum to collate and interpret the archive information already held and present this to the public in the form of pamphlets, teachers’ packs, and an updated World War 1 display. In addition we will compile an edited copy of a diary written by a Brixham sailor named Lawrence Lake, in which hand painted pictures depict boats and places which he saw during his WW1 service.

In order to complete these projects, Brixham Heritage Museum would like to appeal to the people of Brixham for any photographs (which could be scanned and returned), family stories of life during that time, or donation of artefacts.


As an example of a local family’s contribution to the project, we include a photograph of Percy John Johnson, a local butcher, who served in the Coldstream Guards during World War I, together with a photograph of his service medals.

Please contact the Museum on 01803 856267 or email

Local artist’s gift for Museum

Brixham’s Heritage Museum is to receive a gift of its own during the Museum’s Christmas Fayre on Saturday 7th December. The family of Brixham’s most celebrated maritime artist, the late John Chancellor, is to donate a framed, limited edition print of one of John’s paintings to display in the Museum’s maritime section.  

 Despite being almost 30 years since his death, many people will remember Brixham’s celebrated maritime artist, John Chancellor.  His extraordinary paintings established him as one of the most talented maritime painters of all time and his work is renowned internationally.

 In recognition of John’s association with the town and the forthcoming anniversary of his death, his daughter, Tessa, will be presenting to the Museum a copy of ‘From under their Noses’, which will be hung in the Museum with its other many maritime artefacts.

“Next April it will be 30 years since my father’s untimely death, and as a family we want to acknowledge this anniversary in a number of ways. It seems obvious that, having spent over 20 years living in Brixham, the Museum should have some of his work on display,” said Tessa. “In addition, next Easter we will be holding a three-day, retrospective exhibition of his life and work in Brixham Town Hall.”

The exhibition is being coordinated by Tessa, who sells limited edition prints of his paintings through Chancellor Maritime Prints. “My father’s work was exceptional,” says Tessa. “It feels natural to host this exhibition in his home town of Brixham.”

The Museum’s curator, Philip Armitage, is delighted to receive the gift.  “It will be a valuable addition to the new maritime display we are planning for next year and having such a celebrated artist from Brixham, I am sure it will be much admired.”

We are winners of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2013!


Telegraph Family Friendly Museum winners 2013

The proud winners of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2013 with Philip Mould trustee of Kids in Museums.Brixham Heritage Museum representatives Louise Cresswell and Barbara Davies on the left. (Photo courtesy of Telegraph newspaper).


Brixham Heritage Museum is one of the most family friendly museums in Britain.

Undercover family judges have crowned Brixham Heritage Museum the joint winner of the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award alongside The Horniman Museum and Gardens (Forest Hill, south London).

Both museums beat 140 entrants nationally to the coveted top spot for providing outstanding and stimulating experiences for the whole family.

The winners were announced on Friday 13th September at a ceremony at the Telegraph’s offices in Buckingham Palace Road, London. Brixham Heritage Museum sent two representatives: Louise Cresswell and Barbara Davies.

Dr Philip L. Armitage, Curator of the Brixham Museum, said: “We are extremely honoured to be a winner of the Telegraph Family Friendly Award, and especially delighted given that our museum compared with others shortlisted is very much smaller in scale. Despite our modest size, the part-time staff and dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers aim to ensure visiting families have an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Receiving this award judged by the families themselves is a very much appreciated accolade for all the hard work the museum has put in to provide family friendly facilities.”

Tina Mansfield is one of the mums who helped judge the award. She said: “The museum stands out for two reasons. First, the people are really friendly and dedicated and second, the children know that they can play and touch things without worrying that an adult will disapprove. To begin with, my seven-year-old son Ethan thought we were going to a stuffy old museum, but it didn’t feel like that at all. He really enjoyed it.”

Brixham Heritage museum has developed its offer to young children over the past few years through the Mini Museum Project. The project, co-ordinated by the museum, focuses on teaching young children about Torbay’s heritage through a range of early years activities such as mini digs, storytelling, trips and guided walks to sites of local historic interest.

The project is being delivered by Torbay Childminders in partnership with Brixham Heritage Museum, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Torquay Museum and Torbay Council, which contributed £1000 towards the scheme.

The council’s Executive Lead for Culture and the Arts, Councillor Dave Butt, said: “The minimuseum project is a fantastic way of inspiring young people so they can develop, learn and make sense of the world around them whilst having fun. Our museums play such a huge role in encouraging a love of history so it can be enjoyed and protected for generations to come.

“Brixham Heritage Museum is doing such a fantastic job engaging families and I’m so pleased it has been recognised with a national award. It is a tremendous achievement.”


Shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award – Again!


Our Museum has done it again – we have been placed in the top six of the Telegraph National ‘Family Friendly Museum’ Award! We managed to reach the top six last year, which was surprising considering we were a very small minnow in a very big ocean of national museums, and after even greater efforts to offer something for everybody, we find to our great delight that we have managed it again this year!
We are to be road-tested by under-cover families over the summer and the winner will be announced in early September, so we will continue to offer our usual friendly welcome toour visitors, with a few new attractions since last year, such as the opportunity for children of different ages to do an indoor archaeological dig in sand, to press Devon dialect speech bubbles, to note new ‘out of place’ items and to take information leaflets about prehistoric Brixham which are free to all visitors.
Everybody calls us a “Tardis” but we are a Giant amongst Family Friendly Museums.
Ms Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums, comments:
‘Once again Brixham Heritage Museum has made it to the shortlist of the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award. The judges were astonished at the great community feel and huge amount of imaginative work for families coming out of a small museum. Families testified to what an impact the museum had had on their lives, from exciting days out to leading to their children studying archaeology at university. Every square foot of this small museum works to make the lives of local families richer, more informed and more fun.’

For further information please contact
Mrs Lesley Smith
Brixham Heritage Museum
New Road

Victorian Christmas Fayre



On Saturday, 1st December, Brixham Heritage Museum held a Victorian Christmas Fayre. Visitors were attracted by snow, a pipe organ operated by Mr Edgar Lawrance and a group of local singers.



It was a very successful day, opened by Mr Nick Bye who has always been a faithful supporter of our Museum. During the morning, two of the three winners of the Cave Painting competition (run during the Summer) were awarded their prizes; then in the afternoon the Chairman of Brixham Council, Cllr Brian Harland and his wife, May, drew the tickets for the Grand Draw. The £50 cash First Prize was won by Mr Parsons, the second prize of Thorntons’ Chocolates was won by Mr and Mrs J Richardson, and the third prize of a Christmas hamper was won by Mr and Mrs J Lambourne. A chocolate cake was won in a raffle by Mrs S Rossi and Mr I Cubitt won £30 in a Pound Coin Draw.



We would like to thank all the many volunteers who worked so hard throughout the day and also those who helped to set it all up beforehand, and of course dismantle it afterwards.



Our profit from the day will go towards continuing the work of the Brixham Museum to preserve our local heritage.

Lesley Smith


Telling Our Story


Discovering the lives of Victorian and early Edwardian families on Berry Head, Brixham (Torbay, Devon)


Brixham Heritage Museum celebrates £4,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant

Brixham Heritage Museum is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) ALL OUR STORIES grant, it was announced today. This exciting project has been given £4,500 to tell the stories of the Victorian and early Edwardian families who lived on Berry Head, Brixham (Torbay, Devon) with special focus on the Shrives families and their close association with the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte (author of the hymn “Abide with Me”).

All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage, With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.

The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now Brixham Heritage Museum’s project “Discovering the lives of the Berry Head families” is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. Brixham Heritage Museum will work with young people and volunteers from the local community to help them to develop media and communication skills. Using excavated archaeological finds, census returns, historical documents, old photographs and information gleaned from talking with descendants of the
Shrives, participants in the project will aim to reconstruct the stories of the Berry Head families. Two open house excavation days in the summer of 2013 will be organised for families to participate in an actual archaeological dig at the site of the cottages on Berry Head where the Shrives and other families lived from 1841 to c.1908. Young people (including Torquay Museum Young Explorers Club members) and Brixham Museum volunteers will be involved in assisting the study of archaeological finds and historic documents, and will receive training. Presentations about the Berry Head families will be made to schools and
community groups and school children will be invited to write their own poems and stories about the lives of people who lived on Berry Head in Victorian times.

TV presenter and historian Michael Wood said “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of Brixham and Torbay have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and
enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative”.

Dr Philip L. Armitage (Curator, Brixham Heritage Museum), commenting on the award said: “We are extremely pleased and honoured to have been awarded this grant, which will enable us to share with local people little known personal stories of ordinary families who lived on Berry Head in past times, reconstructed using archaeological and historical resources”.

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Brixham Heritage Museum’s project ‘Discovering the lives of Victorian and early Edwardian families on Berry Head, Brixham (Torbay, Devon)’ as they embark on a real journey of discovery”.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact
Dr Philip L. Armitage (Curator) Brixham Heritage Museum
Telephone: 01803 856267



Mini Museum Childminders Achieve National Award


Five Torbay childminders have celebrated reaching top standards.

Annmarie Parfitt, Naomi Barret, Caroline Lane, Martine Philips and Samantha Maidlow have been awarded the Bristol Standard, recognising their commitment to improving the quality and effectiveness of thier childminding services.

They all met monthly for a year to achieve the Bristol Standard, which will help them to develop the quality of care and play through self evaluation.

Certificates, which last a year, are then awarded to settings or individuals who demonstrate thay have set appropriate challenges for improvement.

Torbay council is committed to improving the quality of services and its Early Years Team promotes The Bristol Standard to all early years settings in the Bay.

The council’s Executive Lead for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Chris Lewis, said: “Well done to all five childminders. I am really pleased that all their hard work has paid off and that they have achieved the Bristol standard.”

“It takes a lot of time and commitment to do this, but they have all demonstrated that they are prepared to go that extra mile to give the children they look after the very best care they can.”


Shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award!

Brixham Heritage Museum are proud to announce that they have been selected by the Sunday Telegraph as one of Britain’s six most family-friendly museums, amongst much larger museums.

During the coming month (April) we will be road-tested anonymously by a volunteer family, who will judge us against the Kids in Museums Manifesto, to declare a winner from the list of six.

We know how much we want to encourage families with children to enjoy their visits to our Museum and we hope that every family who comes through our doors will have an enjoyable experience.

The Museum is competing against

World Museum, Liverpool

Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands

Haslemere Educational Museum

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Torbay Mini Museum Project

TORBAY Council’s newly extended Mini Museum Project is being launched at Oldway Mansion on Tuesday, March 13.



Childminders from across Torbay are being invited to come along with their children between 9.30am and 11am to register and find out what early years activities they can get involved in.

Torbay Council recently helped secure £31,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue and develop the Bay’s popular Mini Museum project over the next three years. The council has also contributed an additional £1000 towards the scheme.

The project, which focuses on teaching young children about Torbay’s heritage, is being delivered by Torbay Childminders in partnership with Brixham Heritage Museum, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Torbay Council, and Torquay Museum.

It will be co-ordinated by Louise Cresswell, who’s based at Brixham Heritage Museum, and will deliver a range of early years activities such as mini digs, story telling, trips and guided walks to sites of local historic importance. The project will offer childminders and their children free entry into Torquay and Brixham Museums. There will also be opportunities for childminders, staff and volunteers from Brixham and Torquay museums as well as Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust to be trained in how to work effectively with early years children.

To celebrate the funding and the start of the extended project, childminders are being invited to drop into the launch event at Oldway Mansion’s ballroom. They can find out how they can become involved in the project, register and pick up a free museum pass.

Some of the soldiers from the Napoleonic 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot will also be there in costume to talk about the boot camps and re-enactment events for childminders and young children organised by Brixham Heritage Museum. Dr. Philip Armitage, Curator at Brixham Heritage Museum, will also be on hand to answer questions about the mini-archaeological digs planned with Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust for childminders and young children.

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Children. Schools and Families, Councillor Chris Lewis, said: “This project was very popular last year and so I hope even more childminders get on board and make the most of the bigger range of fantastic activities on offer. It’s so important we inspire young children so they can develop, learn and make sense of the world around them whilst having fun at the same time. This mini museum project enables that to happen.”

The Council’s Executive Lead for Environment, Councillor Jeanette Richards, said: “Our museums play such a huge role in helping us to understand our local heritage and the mini museum project really helps us to encouraging a love of history at an early age. I would encourage all childminders in Torbay to register and get involved in such a fantastic project.”

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust Access Officer, Emma Reece, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people in the history on their doorstep. With the Trust’s activities at Berry Head we aim to inspire them with re-enactment events and storytelling, our volunteers will also be involved and gain from the project. It is so important all ages understand our history so it can be enjoyed and protected for generations to come.”

Richard Bellamy, HLF’s Acting Head of South West commented: “We are delighted to be able support the Mini Museum project, which we hope will inspire in the children who participate a lifelong enthusiasm for learning about the past and the people and events who helped to shape their local area.”