Monthly Archives: November 2012

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 Using excavated archaeological finds, census returns, historical documents, old photographs and information gleaned from talking with descendants of the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
Email: mail@brixhamheritage.org.uk

 

 

Latest Archaeological Discoveries on Berry Head

 

Talk at Brixham Heritage Museum, by Philip Armitage, 5th November 2012

 

 

On Monday 5th November, Brixham Heritage Museum’s Curator Dr Philip Armitage gave his annual update on the latest archaeological discoveries at Berry Head, to an overflowing crowd.

He said that this had been an exciting year which saved the very best discovery until the very end of this year’s “digging season”.

Despite the often atrocious weather during the summer, there have been family digs and also “MiniMuseum” digs (for preschoolers) to involve others in what the Museum’s Field Research Team do all year, enabling participants an opportunity of hands-on experience of an actual archaeological dig. The digging area on the edge of Berry Head Common was the site of demolished Victorian cottages but also has produced evidence of prehistoric (Mesolithic) flint-tool manufacture and a very nice leaf-shaped Neolithic arrowhead. In total over 1,360 flints were recovered.

The most amazing finds only came when Gerry and Heather Perkins (two of our volunteer archaeologists) were asked to investigate a new area. They found a padlock and a pistol bullet mould, which encouraged further digging by Steve Soper and Gill Bedford (two other members of the archaeological team) leading to the discovery of a pit entirely filled with virtually complete tableware, possibly from clearance of the officers’ mess on the site when the mess was moved into the northern fort circa 1805. Perhaps they discarded the old crockery when new was supplied. Although found in broken pieces, the archaeologists have worked their jigsaw magic and re-assembled complete plates, wine bottles, drinking glasses, and even a large bowl possibly used in making beer. There is also a very splendid English Delftware charger dating from c.1780s but the overall date for the assemblage is around the 1790s. Food debris (beef, sheep and fish bones) recovered from the pit will reveal the diet of the soldiers. The whole contents of this pit will be of great interest nationally, when the post-excavation work is completed and the recovered items published. But where can we display all these wonderful finds in the already packed out Museum?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Announcement

 

 

Brixham Heritage Museum are pleased to announce that our Writer in Residence, Miss Samantha Little, will become Mrs Edwin Day on Saturday, 8th December.

Best wishes from all of us.