Showing posts with label Teign Heritage Centre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teign Heritage Centre. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Connections in Teignmouth Museum

There are many events on the Teignmouth time line in the Teignmouth Museum.

It's a town with connections.

Connections to rock stars...
...The Beatles,

...and Muse.
They played a homecoming concert on The Den
and used an image of Teignmouth Pier for their poster.

Muse appear on museum and town centre walls.

Other connections are more permanent, now set in stone, but their beginnings were in timber, requiring building materials. Shaldon Bridge connecting Teignmouth to Shaldon across the River Teign estuary.

Shaldon bridge was built in 1827,
"the longest timber bridge in England". 

Woe betide anyone who stole any materials during the build, with a two pound reward for shopping on someone you were bound to be caught.

You had to pay to cross Shaldon Bridge.
The pay-structure seemed a little on the complicated side,
and this is only the top half of the list.

A penny for pedestrians and tuppence for a wheelbarrow. The ever thrifty Devonians were said to have removed the wheels from their barrows and carried them across to save money.
Or 'allegedly', waited until after dark, when the toll-keeper had gone to bed and hot-footed it over the bridge without paying a penny.

The timber bridge lasted 104 years and in 1931 a stone bridge replaced the original.
In 1948 Devon County Council stepped in and bought the bridge and the tolls were abolished.
No need now to wait until after dark to save a penny or two.

Other connections are remembered with more mixed reactions.
Not all fame is wanted.
People can draw attention to themselves, and their town, for all the wrong reasons.

In 1968 Donald Crowhurst set sail to race solo around the world, in his catamaran, the Teignmouth Electron. He appeared to break race rules, disappeared and his boat was found adrift in the Atlantic. He was never seen again and his disappearance is still a mystery to this very day.

More connections,
Teignmouth's with the Second World War.
Teignmouth was a town where evacuees were sent to escape the bombing. When the war started they were told to expect 2,400 refugees. Mind you Teignmouth was heavily bombed itself, due to it having a port, the coastal railway and a nearby aerodrome. 

Connections with the sea.
Many people can thank Teignmouth Life Boats for saving their lives.

Remembering lives saved... 

...and the volunteer crew.

There has been a lifeboat station in Teignmouth since 1851. Staffed by volunteers.
And imagine, this was one of the earliest life-jackets.

One last connection, to my granny who had one of these, so my mum tells me.
An Easiwork Health Cooker from the 1930s,
a pressure cooker to you and me.
She "picked it up at an auction in the 50s".

My mum remembers her buying horse meat stained with green ink to show that is was not fit for human consumption and cooking it for the dog. Mum and I did laugh at the thought of her tiny Dachshund eating an animal the size of a horse.
Connecting back to the Second World War, we did comment that rather than a pressure cooker, it looked more like a large hand-grenade.

Back to the time line,
"Teignmouth is Devon".

Come and see for yourself
in the Teignmouth Museum
open Tuesday to Saturdays in the Teign Heritage Centre.
Details on their website here.

To read my previous post
'Wish You Were Here!'
about sea-side fun how it used to be, in Teignmouth Museum, click here.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Teignmouth Museum: Wish you were here!

I genuinely didn't know where to start with this blog post about
Teignmouth Museum in Devon.

That's because it has an amazing collection,
packed full of objects
telling such varied stories
about the history of a relatively small seaside town.

I've mentioned Teignmouth before.
Click here to read the story of this prison window and the french sailors
who disappeared with a trading schooner during the Napoleonic wars.

So what to write about the museum this time?
Well during our visit to Teignmouth, we had amazing weather,
proper seaside weather,
so we did what people have done for over a hundred years when they go to the seaside...

We went on the pier,
and played on the amusement machines.

We should have needed an old penny to play The Clock,
but very kindly, the museum lets you play them for free.

The only snag is,

they don't pay any winnings.

If you haven't played the machines before,
it's OK, as these Victorian slot machines give very clear instructions.

Some machines are designed to appeal to a very specific audience,

the 'Grip Test',

testing the grip of men from a variety of different professions,
 from bankers to farmers.
I used two hands and didn't even make it to a banker.
Our resident engineer did manage to prove himself, as having the average engineer's grip!

 These machines are on loan from the current owners of the Teignmouth Pier,
which has been in the Brenner family for the last 60 years.

The pier, which opened in 1867, still had a few vintage machines until recently,
when earlier this year, storms hit the South coast, damaged the pier,
and 90% of their machines were lost, some through the floor.

We watched, and put on, a Punch & Judy show.
I say "we", I watched, eleven year olds performed.
The cocodile ate everybody, including Mr Punch.

We swam in the sea.
Yes, even me, a fair-weather swimmer,
not just the fool-hardy kids.

We had ice-creams.
The 'penny lick'.
 You can't tell from this photo, but that glass cup was smaller than an egg-cup!
They really do mean, "small ball of ice cream".

We went to the carnival on the Den
Today's programme cost £1.50.

We bought souvenirs.

We didn't pinch cutlery from local hotels.
Hopefully this was donated.

Teignmouth was developed as a resort in the mid 18th century
and seaside fun hasn't changed much,
the promenade, red sand, the Ness and the pier (a later addition in the 19th century).

'Sunny South Devon',
 and it was!

Teignmouth Museum is a great local museum with so many local stories.
It is housed in the Teign Heritage Centre,
open Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Details on their website.

It's not all fun and games on the beach.
Teignmouth has stories of war, travel, claims to fame,
Brunel and the Great Western Railway
and the longest timber bridge in England.
More to come.

Wish you were here!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Locked Up

Chatting with my family in the Museum of London...

"Imagine being locked up in London in the eighteenth century?"

"Would it have been dark all the time?"
"It would have been light during the day as there's a window, but there's no glass."

What would you do all day?
Scratch your name and the date into the walls... The writing is quite striking, he must been there long enough to make such a beautiful job of it.

"Edward Burk's been here before. What for?"

Or perhaps scratch out a building...

It must have been a very unpleasant experience to have been locked up in this Newgate prison cell in the eighteenth century. Today, in the twenty-first century, this cell is on display in the Museum of London.
What would Edward Burk make of this? The walls he scratched his name into, the dark, cold cell he was locked up in, now preserved behind glass as a museum artefact.  

Without being locked up, you can go 'inside' the Wellclose prison cell at the Museum of London in the 'Expanding City' gallery. Details on the website here.

Jumping to the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Teign Heritage Centre, Teignmouth Museum in Devon, this prison window from Teignmouth, may not have have been as secure as the prison guards had hoped.

The building from which this window came, began life as a quayside store for saltcod, which during the Napoleonic wars was used as a prison. It may not have met prison security requirements.
According to local legend, around this time a Teignmouth trading schooner, the Griffeth, was stolen from the quayside by six escaped French prisoners.

'There is no record of the recapture of the boat or the prisoners and they were never heard of again'.

Quite a feat stealing a ship from the Teign estuary, acurate timing needed, once through that prison window, they would have had to wait for high tide to negotiate the tidal port.  
As for 'never heard of again'. Well they got a mention in the local museum.

Details and opening times about the Teign Heritage Centre here.

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