Ivybridge

took its name from ‘ye bridge which lieth over ye Erme, being much inclined to ivy’.

Sir William Pole, Devon historian.

Welcome to Ivybridge Uncovered

A Mill Town Heritage

The Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

The History of Ivybridge

The remains of stone-age hut circles can be found on Harford Moor, above Ivybridge, but the ivy-covered bridge, after which the town was later named, was first recorded in 1250; it is possible that it existed as a river crossing prior to the Doomsday Book of 1086. An early ‘King’s Highway’ from Exeter to Trematon Castle near Saltash, the 12th Century crossing may have been constructed by the monks of Plympton Priory (founded in 1121) to give them access to their lands at Wrangaton, Dean Prior and Buckfastleigh.

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Mar22.14

Our aim is to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

Mar22.14

Our aim is to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

Mar22.14

Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

THE HISTORY OF IVYBRIDGE >

The Ivybridge Institution, Reading Room & Library

In 1852 a few ‘philanthropic individuals’ as they were described in the newspaper, strived to educate the young men and women of Ivybridge by means of lectures, conversational meetings and the loan of informative books through the establishment of a Literary and Scientific Institution.

As a result, a ‘decided rise had been effected in the moral and intellectual tone and as a kind of fashionable suburb to the three towns (Plymouth, Devonport & Stonehouse), Ivybridge had become distinguished’.

 

Members loaned books to a library which was located in a room ‘small and disadvantageous but an excellent one’. The members met weekly on Monday evenings whilst a competent lecturer addressed them on literary and scientific subjects once a month. These lectures were generally hosted at the Assembly Room at the London Hotel. In February 1856 William Cotton gave an interesting lecture on the great Devonshire painter Joshua Reynolds to the Institute’s members. So informative was the lecture that extracts were later printed and sold to the general public with proceeds going to the Institution.

By 1857 a directory was listing a Mechanics Institute at Ivybridge supported chiefly by subscription. At the time there were many institutions with similar or overlapping objectives and often known by different names so it is hard to determine whether this was same one established five years previously. Other names included Reading Rooms, Useful Knowledge Societies, Athenaeums and Lyceums. The Mechanics’ Institute movement was conceived as a means of improving the literacy and numeracy of working people and providing them with some basic technical education. It played a vital but often overlooked part in the development of adult education.

 

With all the scientific advances and inventions during the 1850s there must have been plenty to study and talk about. The decade culminated with the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. Considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology it led to intense debate with very mixed religious reaction as it was published during a time of intense conflict over religious morality. Scientific discoveries in the fields of geology and biology were casting doubt on the literal interpretations of the Bible. This book, however, was not the only publication to cause controversy as ‘Essays & Reviews’, a volume of seven essays on Christianity which challenged biblical history soon diverted attention away from Darwin.

 

This latter publication was to prove influential to the Chairman of the local Institute and incumbent of Ivybridge,  Rev. Richard Cornish. Already having difficulty accepting the Articles and Rubrics of the Church in their literal and grammatical sense, his perusal of Essays and Reviews only served to strengthen these beliefs and in 1862 he announced his resignation as curate.

Oct22.5

A highly interesting lecture was given in the Assembly Rooms, Ivybridge, by the Rev. C. Teape, B.A., of Devonport, entitled “A Ride on Horseback Through the Holy Land in 1892.” It was illustrated by dissolving views, maps, etc, kindly shown by Rev. A. Howard, vicar of Harford, with his powerful magic lantern. Mr. Teape also exhibited a large number of fine photographs and curios of the country and people, and delivered his lecture in a manner which was much appreciated. He was attired as a Bedouin, and was attended by some ladies of the village, wearing Arabian and Egyptian costume. The entertainment was in aid of the funds of the Ivybridge Literary Institution and at the close the President (Rev. G. W. Anstiss) very cordially thanked Mr. Teape and Mr. Howard for the attractive entertainment given, and the trouble they had taken in coming to Ivybridge to help the institution in its difficulties. Mr. Bohn, the proprietor of the London Hotel and Assembly Rooms, was also thanked for the use of the rooms free of charge. Ivybridge Literary Institution has been in existence upwards of forty years, and it is felt that it will be a matter of deep regret, if not a disgrace, if the efforts of the president and committee now being made do not meet with that response that they deserve.

Western Morning News 21 October 1892

From the late 19th century publicly-funded provision of child and adult education expanded. This form of education was promoted by the 1889 Technical Education Act and with it the educational role of Mechanics’ Institutes began to diminish.

 

The Technical Instruction Act permitted local school boards to levy rates to aid technical and manual instruction. At a meeting in Ivybridge in 1891, the provision of lectures on mechanics, physics and chemistry were discussed and agreement was reached to provide these lectures with special reference to the chief industries of Ivybridge, such as paper making. However, the Reverend Wintle from Ugborough parish commented that he was ‘afraid the subjects upon which it was proposed to deliver lectures was rather above the heads of many in the rural district.’ He also drew attention to an existing association called ‘Home Arts and Industries’ which he believed provided more practical instruction relating to useful industries.  This Association was part of the Arts and Crafts Movement offering classes often held in the evening or at the weekend and run almost entirely by volunteer teachers. The organisation sought to revive traditional rural crafts which were threatened by mechanisation.

 

Despite these advances in local technical education it would seem that the Institute continued to operate in Ivybridge until at least the commencement of the First World War.

 

After the war rural villages were encouraged to request books it required. It generally fell upon school teachers and volunteers to organise and share resources in order to provide a continuous change of books for the children. From 1925 the County Library Service began to operate from the school at Station Road where books were lent by voluntary helpers. By 1957 with demand at record levels, a paid part-time librarian was employed to manage the collection of some 700 books. The school eventually was unable to accommodate the library and for some months in 1963 a travelling library was in operation until a new location was found. A year later a library was operating in the Assembly Room at The Bridge Inn but only opening for just a few hours each week.

 

In 1972 Ivybridge finally had a dedicated library together with a small car park located in Keaton Road. However, by the new millennium it had outgrown the building and a new location was sought.

 

The construction of The Watermark began in 2007. The name was in recognition of the vital role Stowford Paper Mill had played in providing employment and prosperity to Ivybridge. The new complex  was officially opened on Thursday 2nd October 2008 by the Princess Royal.

IVYBRIDGE FIRE BRIGADE

Following on from our recent feature in iMag we have now added a page on the website regarding the Ivybridge Fire Brigade detailing its early history from its humble beginnings in 1847. If anyone has more recent history regarding the later fire engines and men who have served Ivybridge we would be glad to hear from you at info@ivybridge-heritage.org to supplement our archive history on this subject.

Go to Ivybridge Fire Brigade page >
Oct22.8

“ Starlings when feeding are often a very undisciplined crowd, yet once in the air hundreds move as one bird, every wing moving at the right instant with the precision of clockwork.”

In autumn as dusk arrives, murmurations (the name for a flying flock of starlings) provide a mesmerising spectacle as the huge flocks of birds swirl back and forth in complex patterns. It is believed that this behaviour can be attributed to a variety of reasons.  Large groups of birds of course offers safety in numbers. Predators such as some of the raptors find it difficult to target a single bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

 

Starlings also gather to keep warm at night, the murmurations taking place before they all roost for the night.

Pumpkins carved out to make ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are now synonymous with Halloween. The practice of decorating ‘jack-o’-lanterns’ as they were originally called emanates from Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes were used.

 

The name, jack-o’-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who tricked the devil. When Jack died, God would not allow such an unsavoury figure into heaven, whilst the Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him, would not allow him into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since.

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Devon County Council - Copy

HERITAGE DONOR CARD

To help preserve historical documents, objects and photographs, we have created a Heritage Donor Card for individuals to make donations of such items to Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group. Please go to our ‘Links’ page for further information.

COPYRIGHT

All rights, including copyright, in the content of these pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group.

IHAG2021

HERITAGE DONOR CARD

To help preserve historical documents, objects and photographs, we have created a Heritage Donor Card for individuals to make donations of such items to Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group. Please go to our ‘Links’ page for further information.

COPYRIGHT

All rights, including copyright, in the content of these pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group.

IHAG2021