Monthly Archives: August 2014

Brixham’s Untold Stories of the Great War – the birth of a new display





Visitors are often unaware of all the hard work and planning that is required to set up a new display in the museum – much of it done by our team of dedicated volunteers.

Louise Cresswell has written this short piece to give a flavour of what goes on behind the scenes before a new display can be unveiled…

Brixham’s Untold Stories of the Great War

“The idea to refurbish the existing WWI display began with our plans to commemorate the Great War. These plans developed as we uncovered new information, photos and artefacts, and we soon realized that the existing display area was not a sufficient space to house the new panels. We decided to use the space in the first corridor as we already had plans to tidy up this area, which had previously contained a rather random collection of photos of the town.”




“Christopher Macauly, our display curator, suggested the theme of “Brixham’s Untold Stories of the Great War” as we needed the display to be not only a commemoration of those who had died or served, but also an engaging display for visitors who don’t have a Brixham connection. The display also needed to reflect the different theatres of war served in and to represent the different services.”

“The research was primarily based on our archive, particularly the Brixham Western Guardian newspapers. We focused our research on the stories we wanted to tell in the panels. For example, we wanted to include a story about the Tank Corps. We found a brief mention of Captain Hawthorn from Brixham receiving an award for his service with the Tank Corps. From that, I was able to trace his family through Ancestry and with the assistance from the Bovington Tank Museum, we managed to piece together an interesting story of his experience in World War 1, discovering that he recovered the first German Tank and brought it back to the British line. The research for each individual story took a number of weeks and we had too many to fit them all in.”

“The research and design of panels are done by me and Christopher. He makes them print ready and sends them to to the printers. Christopher’s role as volunteer ensures that any budget we have is only needed for the final print cost.  This World War 1 project comes from the joint project with the library, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. If we had to pay a designer to design and lay out the panels there is no way we could afford to do them.”