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

Read
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To help preserve historical documents, objects and photographs, we have created a Heritage Donor Card for individuals to make donations of such items to Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group.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.
COPY RIGHT
All rights, including copyright, in the content of these pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group.
Jul21.1
Jul21.2

Ivybridge derives its name from a small bridge, which is covered with ivy, and stretches across the River Erme.

Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

A biennial or perennial which flowers from June to September and found in abundance in Devon on roadside verges, woodland edges, gardens and along hedgerows. They grow well in areas where soil is acidic.

 

Foxgloves are a valuable source of nectar for bees. The pink purple flowers with their spotted lip attracts bees, while the lower lip of the flower allows the insect to land before climbing up inside. As the bee moves around it drops pollen from other foxgloves, allowing the plant to reproduce.

Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

A biennial or perennial which flowers from June to September and found in abundance in Devon on roadside verges, woodland edges, gardens and along hedgerows. They grow well in areas where soil is acidic.

 

Foxgloves are a valuable source of nectar for bees. The pink purple flowers with their spotted lip attracts bees, while the lower lip of the flower allows the insect to land before climbing up inside. As the bee moves around it drops pollen from other foxgloves, allowing the plant to reproduce.

Some consider the word foxglove to be a corruption of the word folk’s glove,  that is the little folks, the fairies and elves of the woods and heaths and who use these flowers as gloves. Some ‘without going deeply into the question of a fairy’s measurement’, are of the opinion these flowers are more adapted for head-coverings and as such should be called caps.

 

The second syllable ‘gloves’ is derived from the botanical name of the flower, Digitalis purpurea. In Latin digitalis signifies ‘of or belonging to a finger.’

 

With the connection with the fairies, elves and piskies, picking foxglove flowers is considered to be unlucky in Devon and Cornwall robbing the little folk of something they have particularly delight in!

Some consider the word foxglove to be a corruption of the word folk’s glove,  that is the little folks, the fairies and elves of the woods and heaths and who use these flowers as gloves. Some ‘without going deeply into the question of a fairy’s measurement’, are of the opinion these flowers are more adapted for head-coverings and as such should be called caps.

 

The second syllable ‘gloves’ is derived from the botanical name of the flower, Digitalis purpurea. In Latin digitalis signifies ‘of or belonging to a finger.’

 

With the connection with the fairies, elves and piskies, picking foxglove flowers is considered to be unlucky in Devon and Cornwall robbing the little folk of something they have particularly delight in!

J21.12

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.

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.

Lecture on Paper – 1872

Quote

In the early times when books were not in vogue, various articles such as stones, bricks, leaves and bark of trees, tables of wood, wax and ivory, also plates of lead, were used for that purpose… The terms ‘Biblos,’ ‘Codex,’ ‘Liber,’ ‘ Folium,’ … express different parts of plants used by the ancients for writing upon; but they disappeared on the introduction of the papyrus, or paper made of rushes grown on the banks of the Nile. Paper was made in divers cities of Egypt but the most famous manufactory was that at Alexandria. The qualities for which the ancient papers were prized were their thinness, whiteness, closeness, and smoothness. Then their value was enhanced by their breadth  … the largest roll of papyrus now known was 10 yards long… In 1450 the first book in the world was printed, and that book was supposed to have been the Bible. It was in two vols., and only 18 copies of it were known to exist – 4 on vellum and 14 on paper. Linen paper was invented by the Chinese about A.D. 95. In the 8th century Chinese paper was brought to Mecca by the Arabs …At the commencement of the 10th century of the Christian Era, paper was introduced into Spain, from whence it progressively extended throughout Europe, then in the dawn of civilization.

The lecture then passed on to describe the mills of Messrs. John Allen and Sons, known as the Stowford Mills, situated in the picturesque little village of Ivybridge, in this county. After describing how the rags were cut up, sorted, dusted, and boiled, a minute description of the tearing engine, or “Devil,” was given, the “block” and its place in the cylinder being shown.

“Bleach” and “anti-colour” and their effects upon the pulp were exemplified, and the necessity for always buying photographs that were mounted on coloured or tinted mounting boards, the sulphur left in the paper of which the white boards were made, often contributing to the destruction of the photographs. A lucid description was then given by the aid of diagrams, of the pulp passing from that state into paper, the “watermark”, and the mode of producing it, being particularly described.

Specimens of “wove” and “laid” paper were handed round and allusion was made to the various “watermarks”. Post-paper was so called from a figure of the postman being originally impressed on it.

The watermarks by Caxton and the early printers consisted of an ‘ox head and star’, ‘a collared dog’s head’, ‘a crown and shield’ &c. A head with a fool’s-cap on it gave rise to the paper that bears its name. The sizing, drying, cutting, glazing, rolling, sorting, and packing of the paper brought this interesting subject to a close.

 

The whole was amply illustrated by diagrams, and specimens of rags and pulp in the various stages of manufacture. It could hardly have been believed that the dirty rags on the table could be made so snowy white by washing and bleaching.

 

Western Times 14 May 1872

Papermaking is one of the world’s oldest manufacturing industries, and in Europe at least, the history of the watermark is almost concurrent with the industry’s history. The very earliest European papers’ watermarks may have had some religious significance but the marks quickly assumed other purposes.

 

Watermarks in Britain are believed to have been introduced in the main to meet the needs of the paper industry, acting as a trade mark to indicate sheet size and quality, location of the mill, the owner’s name and date of manufacture. These attributes have of course proved invaluable to historians endeavouring to date old documents.

 

The first watermarks appeared in Britain in 1498, an eight-pointed Tudor Star created at a paper mill at Sele in Hertford by papermaker John Tate. He established the first paper mill in England in 1494 and supplied paper to Wynkyn de Worde, the successor to William Caxton. It was de Worde who was the first printer to use English-made paper.

John Allen & Sons at their Stowford Paper Mills in Ivybridge produced a range of high quality writing papers bearing their own watermarks. They also produced a number of other locally inspired watermarked grades such as Dartmoor, Ermevale Superfine, Old Plymouth Bond, Eddystone, and of course Stowford Mills. This latter grade is believed to be the earliest watermarked paper produced at the mill from 1843 onwards. Many of the watermarks continued in production long after the Allen family had left the mill. Indeed records suggest they remained in production until 1924 when the paper mill was purchased by Portals of Laverstoke, the banknote paper provider to the Bank of England.

 

The mill at this time was also able to offer special watermarks, we which we understand to mean bespoke designs, as well as plate glazing and linen facing. The former a very smooth surface finish whilst the latter a more textured surface. The Fine and Superfine classifications indicated the grade of rags used to produce the paper. Only the very finest and cleanest rags were used for these highest quality writing grades.

The River Erme in Devonshire is justly famed for the beauty of the scenery through which it wends its seaward course.

In one of the prettiest valleys, close to Ivybridge, stands a Paper Mill which the aesthetic eye might abhor, but which has extended the fame of the River and the County itself in the commercial sphere throughout the world.

For more than sixty years the Stowford Mills at Ivybridge have been making Papers of the highest grades.

Today, the product of the Mills stands comparison with any other writing papers made, and the proof is in the increasing demand from the largest and most discriminating buyers in the country.

Fortunately, this increasing demand has coincided with a wise policy of development and extension by which the output of the Mills has been more than doubled without involving the slightest interference with quality.

The world’s recognition of the fame of Devonshire papers should lead true Devonians to question the wisdom of going beyond the County’s boundaries for their requirements. You cannot get better papers anywhere, and you will find that their use makes for economy.

 

John Allen & Sons Limited advertisement – late nineteenth century

In 1781, a maximum legal size for papers was laid down in England which included Crown, Demy, Elephant, Medium, Pot, Post, Super Royal and Foolscap. In most cases these sheet size names can be traced back to watermark designs. Foolscap (13.5” x 17”) took its name from the jester’s head with his customary fool’s hat or cap and first appeared around 1540. It was replaced around 1750 by the Britannia. Whilst the lecture mentions a figure of a postman for the sheet size ‘Post’ (15” x 19”) typically this paper would carry a post-horn.

 

Laid papers have parallel waterlines (chain lines) running down the sheet, crossed by very close waterlines (laid lines).

 

Wove papers do not possess these lines and were historically produced using a mould with a fine mesh screen. This mesh had been woven on a loom in the same manner as cloth, hence the name. This paper developed by James Whatman at Turkey Mill in Maidstone provided a less irregular surface, eliminating the furrow of traditional laid paper and improving the quality of the printed work.

In 1781, a maximum legal size for papers was laid down in England which included Crown, Demy, Elephant, Medium, Pot, Post, Super Royal and Foolscap. In most cases these sheet size names can be traced back to watermark designs. Foolscap (13.5” x 17”) took its name from the jester’s head with his customary fool’s hat or cap and first appeared around 1540. It was replaced around 1750 by the Britannia. Whilst the lecture mentions a figure of a postman for the sheet size ‘Post’ (15” x 19”) typically this paper would carry a post-horn.

 

Laid papers have parallel waterlines (chain lines) running down the sheet, crossed by very close waterlines (laid lines).

 

Wove papers do not possess these lines and were historically produced using a mould with a fine mesh screen. This mesh had been woven on a loom in the same manner as cloth, hence the name. This paper developed by James Whatman at Turkey Mill in Maidstone provided a less irregular surface, eliminating the furrow of traditional laid paper and improving the quality of the printed work.

Processing rags for making paper

The tearing engine or “devil” as it was referred to consisted of a large drum containing revolving spikes. As the pieces of rag were spun so the spikes would reduce them to small fragments. The next stage of the process was carried out at the rag boiler house. Here several large iron boilers heated the rags by steam along with a mixture of caustic soda and lime.

 

The boiled rags were then washed before entering the breaking engines, oval troughs incorporating a large iron cylinder covered with steel knives which would gradually break down the small fragments into discrete fibres. The rags would continue to go around the trough for about two hours. During the last ten minutes a bleaching mixture, prepared in a separate tank and consisting of predominantly chloride of lime, was added.

 

The contents of the breakers were then pumped through pipes to the ‘potching engines’. Here the bleaching process was continued using “weak liquor”. This was the liquid taken from the rags that had already undergone the full bleaching process. From the potchers the rags passed to a large numbers of cisterns containing the bleach solution where they would remain for 36 hours. They would then be transferred to a large tank incorporating powerful hydraulic apparatus which would compress the rags in their semi-processed state into a thick block and expel the liquid (the weak liquor mentioned above). At this stage the rags were referred to as “half-stuff”. Documents describe this partially processed raw materials as “fibrous, but all trace of the original form of the rags having disappeared, and their dingy hues generally given place to a whiteness rivalling that of snow”, a somewhat similar description to the news paper article.

Processing rags for making paper

The tearing engine or “devil” as it was referred to consisted of a large drum containing revolving spikes. As the pieces of rag were spun so the spikes would reduce them to small fragments. The next stage of the process was carried out at the rag boiler house. Here several large iron boilers heated the rags by steam along with a mixture of caustic soda and lime.

 

The boiled rags were then washed before entering the breaking engines, oval troughs incorporating a large iron cylinder covered with steel knives which would gradually break down the small fragments into discrete fibres. The rags would continue to go around the trough for about two hours. During the last ten minutes a bleaching mixture, prepared in a separate tank and consisting of predominantly chloride of lime, was added.

 

The contents of the breakers were then pumped through pipes to the ‘potching engines’. Here the bleaching process was continued using “weak liquor”. This was the liquid taken from the rags that had already undergone the full bleaching process. From the potchers the rags passed to a large numbers of cisterns containing the bleach solution where they would remain for 36 hours. They would then be transferred to a large tank incorporating powerful hydraulic apparatus which would compress the rags in their semi-processed state into a thick block and expel the liquid (the weak liquor mentioned above). At this stage the rags were referred to as “half-stuff”. Documents describe this partially processed raw materials as “fibrous, but all trace of the original form of the rags having disappeared, and their dingy hues generally given place to a whiteness rivalling that of snow”, a somewhat similar description to the news paper article.

Historical research since the newspaper article was published has revealed that there were a total of 180 bibles printed by Johann Gutenberg but less than 50 are known to remain in existence. The British Library in London has two copies, one printed on paper and the other on vellum (animal skin).

 

William Caxton was England’s first printer. He was an astute businessman and became the consul-general for the English mercantile community in Bruges, then the commercial capital of northern Europe. In 1476 he returned to London and established a printing press in the precincts of Westminster Abbey. Among his earliest books was Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.

 

Caxton was known to sort through different batches of paper, both of date and provenance, to obtain sheets of a consistent thickness and colour. Some of his printed books therefore contained between fifteen and twenty different watermarks. None of his books ever contained a single watermark. What must be remembered is that all paper at this time was produced by hand and homogeneity was unachievable!

For the 500th anniversary of the introduction of printing in Britain by William Caxton, Wiggins Teape decided to mark the event with a special commissioned watermark. Rather than design a watermark in-house, the Caxton Anniversary Watermark Design Competition was launched in association with other interested parties including a manufacturer of dandy rolls.

From the nation-wide contest the winner was a graphic design student from Plymouth College of Art and Design.

 

The winning design was created as a watermark and used in a special run of watermarked vellum paper.

For the 500th anniversary of the introduction of printing in Britain by William Caxton, Wiggins Teape decided to mark the event with a special commissioned watermark. Rather than design a watermark in-house, the Caxton Anniversary Watermark Design Competition was launched in association with other interested parties including a manufacturer of dandy rolls.

From the nation-wide contest the winner was a graphic design student from Plymouth College of Art and Design.

 

The winning design was created as a watermark and used in a special run of watermarked vellum paper.

The last watermark produced at Stowford Paper Mill commemorating the achievement of 226 years of paper making in Ivybridge.

The watermark was a combination of electrotype and embossing providing the dark and light aspects of the design.

Learn more about watermarks in paper >

The last watermark produced at Stowford Paper Mill commemorating the achievement of 226 years of paper making in Ivybridge.

The watermark was a combination of electrotype and embossing providing the dark and light aspects of the design.

Learn more about watermarks in paper >

Devonshire Clotted Cream

 

Clotted cream for which Devon is so famous differs from ordinary cream in the fact that it has been subjected to a cooking process in the course of preparation making it much richer than ordinary fresh cream.

Making Clotted Cream – A recipe from 1911

 

The making of Devonshire clotted cream is a far simpler matter than is generally supposed, and represents a very practical hobby for a girl with a taste for dairy work (this is an article from 1911 so no complaints about equality please!). The milk, which has first of all been strained through fine muslin, is allowed to stand for twelve hours, until a thick cream has formed. It should then be scalded, a process which may be accomplished in various ways. The pans may either be placed on a hot stove, over a charcoal fire, or on a hot plate. They may also be immersed in cold water, and put into a shallow boiler, while the milk is heated to a temperature of 180 deg., (we’re talking Fahrenheit here!) but not allowed to boil. If possible, the milk should be brought up to this temperature very gradually, the time extending to about half an hour.

As soon as the cream begins to bubble and blister, the pans should be removed and allowed to cool, great care being taken that the surface remains unbroken before skimming. The cream should be quite cold in about twelve hours when it is skimmed off and put into jars, where it will thicken. If the scalding is slowly and carefully done, and the cream afterwards reduced to the proper temperature, the result should be entirely satisfactory”.

Indulging in a cream tea became popular in Devon during the tourism boom of the 1850s. The expansion of the railway network enabled many more people to enjoy these picturesque destinations. Tearooms and farmhouses were all keen to offer afternoon cream teas which were often made with the finest local ingredients. The jam was invariably strawberry and the cream was always clotted !

Afternoon tea enjoyed ‘al fresco’ at Yeo Cottage, Cornwood.

Afternoon tea enjoyed ‘al fresco’ at Yeo Cottage, Cornwood.

Afternoon tea enjoyed ‘al fresco’ at Yeo Cottage, Cornwood.

Clotted Cream Rationing 1918

Last year’s holiday to Devon was eminently satisfactory… a land flowing with milk, junket and clotted cream but this year there is an ample supply of pure milk, but junket is not much more than a name and clotted cream is well, a rarity. The natives are fond of the word “they” and “they Government orders” are responsible for the change.

The government in 1918 allowed as much butter to be produced as was needed and this meant that clotted cream was reserved for individuals with a medical certificate and then the allowance was restricted to two ounces or maybe a quarter of a pound. Amusingly, the visitor commented further.

 

 “judging from the number of people armed with medical certificates for cream, there never were so many ‘invalids’ “.

 

It would have been interesting to know what medical conditions demanded the fat rich delicacy. The shortages also made for light entertainment for visitors in the form of ‘cream hunts’.

The scarcity of cream has brought into being a new excitement – a cream hunt. In the holiday notes for Devonshire reference was made to the immense popularity of taking tea at the various farms within the county. Each farmhouse has its own speciality, at one it would be hot rolls, at another fresh fruit and cream. Ration regulations have made the teas at all the farms very similar in style. Assurance is accepted where it is stated the medical certificate exists, and is deposited with a dairy in the town. If the party consists of two or three, all have the advantage of the serving of cream. At most boarding houses in the evening the results of cream hunts are related. Next day there is a rush to a prospective feast of cream, but alas, the fates are against you, and later you will hear that cream that day was obtainable at a farm miles away. But, cream or no cream , these teas at the farms have an attraction all their own; they are appetising, and are partaken under ideal conditions for enjoyment, restfulness and the taking in of an abundance of fresh air. Milk is served liberally, also pure fresh made butter, and there is no stint in bread or jam.

Tea in a tea shop has no comparison whatever, however well served, to tea at a Devonshire farmhouse. Farmhouse excursions constitute a very big share of the enjoyment of a holiday in Devonshire.

 

Norwood News 23 August 1918

Tea in a tea shop has no comparison whatever, however well served, to tea at a Devonshire farmhouse. Farmhouse excursions constitute a very big share of the enjoyment of a holiday in Devonshire.

 

Norwood News 23 August 1918

NEXT MONTH

It’s Harvest Time here in the rural South Hams

We look back at the farming methods, traditions and celebrations associated with this time of year.

Ensuring a successful harvest was of course vital in times gone by as it meant the community and their livestock would have enough food to see it through the harsh winter months. It’s no surprise then to find that superstitions and rituals to ensure a bountiful harvest often prevailed.

 

We’ll let you know exactly what they are doing in this photograph next month, so have your own ideas ready!

If you have any photographs of rural life in the South Hams we would love to see them at

INFO@IVYBRIDGE-HERITAGE .ORG

and we can add them to our archives for future generations

Jun21.67
Jun21.66

Ivybridge derives its name from a small bridge, which is covered with ivy, and stretches across the River Erme.

Ivybridge

is a small market town and ecclesiastical parish formed in 1882, from the civil parishes of Ermington, Cornwood and Ugborough. It is situated on the river Erme… The temperature is mild and the surrounding scenery very beautiful, with the adjuncts of wood and water, and is much frequented by tourists… The large paper mills of Messrs. John AlIen and Sons employ over 200 persons and the finest quality of note paper is made here. There is another paper mill, that of Mr. Francis Holman; also a tannery and a flour mill. The old bridge, near the station, is remarkable for having each corner standing in a separate parish. There are two good hotels; Bohn’s London hotel is a favourite resort of visitors and tourists, and contains a large new concert room and extensive private gardens…

Kelly’s Directory – 1889

Ivybridge

is a small market town and ecclesiastical parish formed in 1882, from the civil parishes of Ermington, Cornwood and Ugborough. It is situated on the river Erme… The temperature is mild and the surrounding scenery very beautiful, with the adjuncts of wood and water, and is much frequented by tourists… The large paper mills of Messrs. John AlIen and Sons employ over 200 persons and the finest quality of note paper is made here. There is another paper mill, that of Mr. Francis Holman; also a tannery and a flour mill. The old bridge, near the station, is remarkable for having each corner standing in a separate parish. There are two good hotels; Bohn’s London hotel is a favourite resort of visitors and tourists, and contains a large new concert room and extensive private gardens…

Kelly’s Directory – 1889

Kelly’s, Post Office and Harrod & Co Directory, (its full title), was a trade directory which listed businesses, trades and other facilities in any given town or city, so you might say it was the Yellow Pages of its day. Its origin can be traced back to 1799 when Frederick Kelly, His Majesty’s Inspector of Inland Letter Carriers, created the Post Office London Directory.

 

Kelly’s Directories also provided postal addresses of local gentry and land owners, together with a brief overview of the location, providing an invaluable source of information to historians.

J21.12

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.

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.

All nature is now putting on her gayest attire

Life is teeming around us in all possible directions. The temperature of the air is still mild, and when the season is fine, this is, perhaps, the most delightful month of the year. The hopes of spring are realised, yet the enjoyment is but commenced; we have all summer before us; the cuckoo’s two notes are now at what may be called their ripest – deep and loud; so is the hum of the bee; little clouds lie in lumps of silver about the sky, and sometimes fall to complete the growth of the herbage; yet we may now lie on the grass, or the flower-banks, to muse or read; the grasshoppers click about us in the warming verdure; and the fields and hedges are in full blossom with the clover, the blue and yellow nightshade, the foxglove, the mallow, white briony, wild honeysuckle, and the flower of the hip, or wild rose, which blushes through all the gradations of red and white.

Jun21.26

All nature is now putting on her gayest attire

Life is teeming around us in all possible directions. The temperature of the air is still mild, and when the season is fine, this is, perhaps, the most delightful month of the year. The hopes of spring are realised, yet the enjoyment is but commenced; we have all summer before us; the cuckoo’s two notes are now at what may be called their ripest – deep and loud; so is the hum of the bee; little clouds lie in lumps of silver about the sky, and sometimes fall to complete the growth of the herbage; yet we may now lie on the grass, or the flower-banks, to muse or read; the grasshoppers click about us in the warming verdure; and the fields and hedges are in full blossom with the clover, the blue and yellow nightshade, the foxglove, the mallow, white briony, wild honeysuckle, and the flower of the hip, or wild rose, which blushes through all the gradations of red and white.

Jun21.37

Stepping forth into the open fields, what a bright pageant of summer beauty is spread out before us! Everywhere about our feet, flocks of wild flowers ‘do paint the meadow with delight’.

The first novelty of the season that greets us here is perhaps the sweetest, the freshest and fairest of all, and the only one that could supply an adequate substitute for the hawthorn bloom which it has superseded – the sweet-leaved eglantine. Look with what infinite grace she scatters her sweet coronals here and there among her bending branches, or hangs them, half concealed, among the heavy blossoms of the woodbine that lifts itself so boldly above her, after having first clung to her for support; or permits them to peep out here and there close to the ground, and almost hidden by the ranks of weeds below; or holds out a whole archway of them, swaying backward and forward in the breeze, as if praying for the passer’s hand to pluck them!

Jun21.36

The wild rose is the queen of forest flowers, if it be only because she is as unlike a queen as the absence of everything courtly can make her. The woodbine is the next deserving of favour during this month; though more on account of its intellectual than its personal beauty. All the air is faint with its rich sweetness; and the delicate breath of its lovely rival is lost in the luscious odours which it exhales.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 01 June 1844

 

Woodbine is an alternative name for honeysuckle, whilst eglantine is another name for sweetbrier. It comes from old French meaning “spiny, needle-like”, in reference to its thorns.

Stepping forth into the open fields, what a bright pageant of summer beauty is spread out before us! Everywhere about our feet, flocks of wild flowers ‘do paint the meadow with delight’.

The first novelty of the season that greets us here is perhaps the sweetest, the freshest and fairest of all, and the only one that could supply an adequate substitute for the hawthorn bloom which it has superseded – the sweet-leaved eglantine. Look with what infinite grace she scatters her sweet coronals here and there among her bending branches, or hangs them, half concealed, among the heavy blossoms of the woodbine that lifts itself so boldly above her, after having first clung to her for support; or permits them to peep out here and there close to the ground, and almost hidden by the ranks of weeds below; or holds out a whole archway of them, swaying backward and forward in the breeze, as if praying for the passer’s hand to pluck them!

The wild rose is the queen of forest flowers, if it be only because she is as unlike a queen as the absence of everything courtly can make her. The woodbine is the next deserving of favour during this month; though more on account of its intellectual than its personal beauty. All the air is faint with its rich sweetness; and the delicate breath of its lovely rival is lost in the luscious odours which it exhales.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 01 June 1844

 

Woodbine is an alternative name for honeysuckle, whilst eglantine is another name for sweetbrier. It comes from old French meaning “spiny, needle-like”, in reference to its thorns.

During the 18th century, Sunday schools held at church or chapel provided children from poor families with the opportunity to receive some basic learning such as reading. These schools often received charitable backing from the middle classes. The promoters of these Sunday schools also became involved in the provision of regular day schools. In 1811, the National Society (for the promotion of the education of the poor in the principles and practices of the Church of England) was formed and founded National Schools, providing elementary education in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor. The National School in Ivybridge was built in 1856 and was officially opened on 30 December of that year.

On Tuesday last, the 30th December, a most interesting festive gathering came off at picturesque and pleasant Ivybridge. This was ‘apropos’ to the opening and inauguration of the village school, a building just erected, at no small expense – thanks to the liberality of the incumbent, the Rev. R.P. Cornish. Children, villagers, gentry, and clergy all seemed to bear an equal share in the rejoicings.

 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 January 1857

The land had been donated by Lady Rogers along with a sum of money to fund the construction of the building.

 

Lady Georgina Mary Rogers (née Colville) was the wife of the eight baronet, Sir Frederick Rogers and lived at Blachford Estate in Cornwood. Sir Frederick has inherited the title from his father Sir Frederick Leman Rogers who died in 1851.

 

The school is of course still in use today, now called The Erme Primary School.

This was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain, establishing a system of ‘school boards’ to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. Board members were elected by the ratepayers and were permitted to draw their funding from the local rates. They were also eligible to apply for capital funding in the form of a government loan.

 

Unlike the voluntary schools, religious teaching in the board schools was to be ‘non-denominational’ – no religious catechism or religious formulary which was distinctive of any particular denomination was permitted and parents were allowed to withdraw their children from religious education.

 

These Boards were to provide elementary education for children aged between 5 and 13.

 

As a result of the Act around 2,500 new school boards were created in England and Wales between 1870 and 1896. In Ivybridge a School Board existed from 1893 and in 1895 the local Ivybridge Board officially took control of the school from the Ermington Board. Members of the Ivybridge Board included Edward Allen of Stowford Paper Mill, Charles Smallridge, a shopkeeper in Fore Street and William Mackay, the postmaster in the village.

The Mundella Code

In 1882, A. J. Mundella, the Education minister serving under Gladstone established universal compulsory education with his educational code, which became known as the “Mundella Code.” It marked a new departure in the regulation of public elementary schools, their curricula and how they were taught, and the conditions under which government grants were made. Mundella improved the inspection of schools, including employing some women inspectors, and insisting that the health and mental capacity of children should be taken into consideration when examining their learning progress.

 

Elementary science was recognised throughout the school. More attention to English and physical geography was ensured by a rearrangement of the list of class subjects. Specific subjects were extended to include electricity and magnetism; heat, light and sound; chemistry and agriculture. For girls, cookery appeared as a grant-earning subject. In the teaching of these the emphasis was to be on explaining the common objects of everyday life.

Locally, the teaching of needlework within the new Code came under scrutinisation. Teachers believed it was an important subject in country schools and during a meeting in April 1882, one teacher remarked that he “could see no reason in the ridicule which had been heaped upon the proposal to permit boys to learn sewing”. Interestingly, Mr Lake of Ivybridge was in full agreement.

James England Lake lived at Highland Street and was the schoolmaster from 1873 until 1904. During this time pupil numbers rose from 140 to 370.

Image: Mr Lake with children from the school.

During the 18th century, Sunday schools held at church or chapel provided children from poor families with the opportunity to receive some basic learning such as reading. Many received charitable backing from the middle classes. The promoters of these Sunday schools also became involved in the provision of regular day schools. In 1811, the National Society (for the promotion of the education of the poor in the principles and practices of the Church of England) was formed and founded National Schools, providing elementary education in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor. The National School in Ivybridge was built in 1856 and was officially opened on 30 December of that year.

On Tuesday last, the 30th December, a most interesting festive gathering came off at picturesque and pleasant Ivybridge. This was ‘apropos’ to the opening and inauguration of the village school, a building just erected, at no small expense – thanks to the liberality of the incumbent, the Rev. R.P. Cornish. Children, villagers, gentry, and clergy all seemed to bear an equal share in the rejoicings.

 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 January 1857

This was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain, establishing a system of ‘school boards’ to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. Board members were elected by the ratepayers and were permitted to draw their funding from the local rates. They were also eligible to apply for capital funding in the form of a government loan.

 

Unlike the voluntary schools, religious teaching in the board schools was to be ‘non-denominational’ – no religious catechism or religious formulary which was distinctive of any particular denomination was permitted and parents were allowed to withdraw their children from religious education.

 

These Boards were to provide elementary education for children aged between 5 and 13.

 

As a result of the Act around 2,500 new school boards were created in England and Wales between 1870 and 1896. In Ivybridge a School Board existed from 1893 and in 1895 the local Ivybridge Board officially took control of the school from the Ermington Board. Members of the Ivybridge Board included Edward Allen of Stowford Paper Mill, Charles Smallridge, a shopkeeper in Fore Street and William Mackay, the postmaster in the village.

The Mundella Code

In 1882, A. J. Mundella, the Education minister serving under Gladstone established universal compulsory education with his educational code, which became known as the “Mundella Code.” It marked a new departure in the regulation of public elementary schools, their curricula and how they were taught, and the conditions under which government grants were made. Mundella improved the inspection of schools, including employing some women inspectors, and insisting that the health and mental capacity of children should be taken into consideration when examining their learning progress.

 

Elementary science was recognised throughout the school. More attention to English and physical geography was ensured by a rearrangement of the list of class subjects. Specific subjects were extended to include electricity and magnetism; heat, light and sound; chemistry and agriculture. For girls, cookery appeared as a grant-earning subject. In the teaching of these the emphasis was to be on explaining the common objects of everyday life.

Locally, the teaching of needlework within the new Code came under scrutinisation. Teachers believed it was an important subject in country schools and during a meeting in April 1882, one teacher remarked that he “could see no reason in the ridicule which had been heaped upon the proposal to permit boys to learn sewing”. Interestingly, Mr Lake of Ivybridge was in full agreement.

 

James England Lake lived at Highland Street and was the schoolmaster from 1873 until 1904. During this time pupil numbers rose from 140 to 370.

 

Image: Mr Lake with children from the school.

Technical education in Ivybridge

In 1889, the Technical Instruction Act permitted local school boards to levy rates to aid technical and manual instruction.

 

A meeting in 1891 in Ivybridge discussed the recommendations of the Technical Education Committee of the Devon County Council for the provision of courses of lectures on mechanics, physics and chemistry, as applied to commercial and agricultural work. During the meeting it was proposed that Ivybridge and the surrounding district should form one of the Devonshire centres wherein lectures would be delivered relating to agriculture and commercial work. The rates proposed for the lectures were 1s. for twelve lectures including examination papers for children who had passed the fifth standard, and 2s. 6d. for all other persons, or 6d. for a single lecture. However, the Council felt it was more appropriate to provide lectures on chemistry and mechanics as applied to ordinary life with special reference to the chief industries of Ivybridge, such as paper making, instead of agriculture. 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 and far better than lectures on advanced history and literature. He felt the proposed course of lectures would be well attended or for that matter ‘be easily learnt by sixth or seventh standard boys at a Board School.’ The handicraft work he referred to would in his opinion not interfere with the student’s daily labour as much as the proposed course with would entail a considerable amount of evening study. He also felt the charges for the lectures were excessive commenting that the ‘penny classes had been held with great success.’

In Ivybridge the school came under the authority of the Urban District Council formed in 1894. Alterations to the school occurred in 1898, a date recorded within the plaque on the front of the building.

 

1902 Education Act

 

This new legislation abolished school boards handling them over to local borough or county councils. These new Local Education Authorities (LEAs) were also given powers to establish secondary and technical schools as well as developing the existing system of elementary schools.

1944 Education Act

 

Before this date all primary schools were called ‘elementary schools’. It had been considered that this was the only education most children needed. The term ‘primary school’ only came into use as a result of this new legislation.

 

This new act provided fundamental reform with the requirement of secondary education for all and replacing the former distinction between elementary and higher education by a new classification of three progressive stages, primary education, secondary education, and further education.

The adequacy of secondary education would be in accordance with the age, ability, and aptitude of individual children and the formation of three separate schools, the grammar school, modelled on elite public schools; the less intellectually rigorous secondary modern school, and the technical school. Children were directed to the appropriate school at the age of 11 by means of selection tests (what we know as the 11+ exam).

 

In Ivybridge, growing numbers at the all-age village school in the 1950s necessitated the building of a secondary school. This was part of the reorganisation of education in Devon, which saw the phasing out of all-age schools.

 

Ivybridge Secondary Modern School was officially opened on Friday 11th July, 1958.

In Ivybridge the school came under the authority of the Urban District Council formed in 1894. Alterations to the school occurred in 1898, a date recorded within the plaque on the front of the building.

 

1902 Education Act

 

This new legislation abolished school boards handling them over to local borough or county councils. These new Local Education Authorities (LEAs) were also given powers to establish secondary and technical schools as well as developing the existing system of elementary schools.

 

1944 Education Act

 

Before this date all primary schools were called ‘elementary schools’. It had been considered that this was the only education most children needed. The term ‘primary school’ only came into use as a result of this new legislation.

 

This new act provided fundamental reform with the requirement of secondary education for all and replacing the former distinction between elementary and higher education by a new classification of three progressive stages, primary education, secondary education, and further education.

 

The adequacy of secondary education would be in accordance with the age, ability, and aptitude of individual children and the formation of three separate schools, the grammar school, modelled on elite public schools; the less intellectually rigorous secondary modern school, and the technical school. Children were directed to the appropriate school at the age of 11 by means of selection tests (what we know as the 11+ exam).

 

In Ivybridge, growing numbers at the all-age village school in the 1950s necessitated the building of a secondary school. This was part of the reorganisation of education in Devon, which saw the phasing out of all-age schools.

 

Ivybridge Secondary Modern School was officially opened on Friday 11th July, 1958.

Looking down the course of the Erme from the Ivybridge viaduct a passenger by the Great Western may observe at the distance of a short quarter of a mile an unfinished building rising rather boldly from the right hand slope of the valley. This is intended to receive the girls of “Dame Hannah Rogers’ School”, now housed in Bedford-terrace, Plymouth.

Looking down the course of the Erme from the Ivybridge viaduct a passenger by the Great Western may observe at the distance of a short quarter of a mile an unfinished building rising rather boldly from the right hand slope of the valley. This is intended to receive the girls of “Dame Hannah Rogers’ School”, now housed in Bedford-terrace, Plymouth.

Looking down the course of the Erme from the Ivybridge viaduct a passenger by the Great Western may observe at the distance of a short quarter of a mile an unfinished building rising rather boldly from the right hand slope of the valley. This is intended to receive the girls of “Dame Hannah Rogers’ School”, now housed in Bedford-terrace, Plymouth.

The foundress of this school was a Cornish lady of the family of Trefusis, who married Sir John Rogers, of Blachford, and dying in the year 1766 bequeathed the sum of £10,000 sterling to be applied, after the death of her husband, ‘to the keeping, supporting, and carrying on a school for the maintenance and education of poor unfortunate children, or else for such like and any other benevolent purposes’, as her trustees should direct.

 

The benefits of the trust were to be confined to natives or inhabitants of the two counties with which she was connected by birth and marriage… The school is to be conducted as a public elementary school. Religious and industrial teaching are made formally obligatory, and the character of the school as a nursery of domestic servants is marked by a provision that the girls shall receive systematic practical education in cookery and other household work …”

 

Western Morning News 25 January 1888

Dame Hannah Rogers née Trefusis

 

Hannah Trefusis was born in 1718, the daughter of Thomas Trefusis of Penryn. On 28 October 1742 she married John Rogers, the eldest son of Sir John Rogers of Blachford, 2nd baronet. Upon the death of his father a year later he became the third baronet and with his wife Hannah, took up residence at Blachford Estate in Cornwood.

 

In 1766, Dame Hannah died. Having no children, she left the very large sum of £10,000, much of which she had inherited from her own family, in trust for her husband to have the interest earned on the money during his lifetime. After his death, the capital sum and any unspent interest would be used by trustees to found a school for the maintenance and education of poor unfortunate children of Devon and Cornwall, or other benevolent purposes the trustees considered appropriate.

 

Although Sir John died in 1773, the trustees were not able to put Lady Rogers’ wishes into effect until 1787 when they rented a detached house at No.1 Bedford-Terrace on Tavistock Road in Plymouth to accommodate around 40 girls between the ages of 8 and 14 for the purposes laid out by Dame Hannah.

 

By 1887 the lease had expired on the property in Plymouth and the trustees found that its renewal would cost more than the funds would allow. Sir Frederic Rogers, the eight baronet and grandson of Lady Rogers having retained a close interest in the school decided to provide the freehold of two acres of land at the junction of Crescent Road with Blachford Road for the site of a new school.

With the impending arrival of a large number of young girls to the village the local church discussed the need for extra space to accommodate them.

Annual vestry meeting – St. John’s Church, 13 April 1887

The vicar brought forward the question of extra sitting accommodation which will be required by the scholars of Lady Rogers’s school (to be transferred from Plymouth to the new premises being erected at Ivybridge). He stated that Lord Blachford would give £200 towards building the new north aisle, and amounts were promised from Mr. MacAndrew, Mr. F. B. Mildmay, M.P., Lord Revelstoke, and others. He (the vicar) had obtained approximate estimates for the work, and from the amounts promised he calculated that about £50 would be required to be collected. The scholars of Lady Rogers’s school would require sitting accommodation for about 40. The meeting passed a vote of thanks to Lord Blachford for his generous offer, and decided that steps should be taken to obtain the necessary funds for the completion of the church by building the north aisle.

 

Western Morning News 13 April 1887

This north aisle was built in the same year. The cost was recorded at £370 and was constructed by Messrs. Sincock and Blight.

Go to our refreshed St. Johns Church page >

The school building was constructed by Mr. P. Blowey of Plymouth. It was three storeys high with several gables supported by bold granite corbels, a low tower covered with a pyramidal roof and a covered playground ‘occupying what may be called the ground floor of the south-east corner of the building, and bounded by granite columns, which support the upper storeys’. The remainder of the ground floor was occupied by kitchens, laundries and other offices, the first floor by schoolrooms and dining-room whilst the second floor was for the girls dormitories ‘the whole of which are commanded by windows in the bedrooms of the matron and her assistant’. The tower contained water tanks supplying the needs of the occupants. Over the offices was a small infirmary accessible over a bridge. The total cost of construction was recorded at £3,600.

The school building was constructed by Mr. P. Blowey of Plymouth. It was three storeys high with several gables supported by bold granite corbels, a low tower covered with a pyramidal roof and a covered playground ‘occupying what may be called the ground floor of the south-east corner of the building, and bounded by granite columns, which support the upper storeys’. The remainder of the ground floor was occupied by kitchens, laundries and other offices, the first floor by schoolrooms and dining-room whilst the second floor was for the girls dormitories ‘the whole of which are commanded by windows in the bedrooms of the matron and her assistant’. The tower contained water tanks supplying the needs of the occupants. Over the offices was a small infirmary accessible over a bridge. The total cost of construction was recorded at £3,600.

The school was to provide free education for around 38 girls from the ages of 8 to 15. However, as the building would accommodate a larger number than this the trustees were willing  “to give all the benefits of the institution to a limited number of necessitous young girls on prepayment of an annual sum”, which at the time of opening was fixed at £10. The 1911 census records the name of 52 girls aged between 7 and 15 years of age.

 

Once in attendance at the school the girls remained in residence all year round apart from a few week’s holiday. Upon leaving the school each girl would receive a small sum to purchase clothing which would be increased if they were able to secure a position as a domestic servant.

 

Operating from their new substantial home in Ivybridge, the charity was able to receive a grant from the Board of Education but by 1921 the school closed, partly owing to increased operating costs but mainly because there were very few candidates for admittance.

 

The Board of Education then proposed to use the money in the provision of secondary school exhibitions, teachers’ training exhibitions, technical exhibitions and University exhibitions which were all to be awarded to girls ‘without regard to the question whether they were poor unfortunate children’. However, it was felt that this proposal was not in keeping with the founders’ intentions and it later became an orthopaedic hospital/school (one of the first in the UK) and later still, in 1949, it welcomed its first children with cerebral palsy.

Domestic work in the late nineteenth century

 

In 1891 the national census estimated that more than a million (around one in three of young women) were employed in domestic service earning typically between £6 and £12 annually.

 

As standards of social decorum within the upper classes increased during this period so did the need for servants. They were usually recruited between the ages of 10 and 13 after receiving some elementary schooling.

 

Needlework, the three R’s and laundry work would all be part of the working life. Despite the often monotonous activities, most servants took pride in their work, and provided efficient and skilful services to their employers. The most demanding periods were during holiday time, particularly  at Christmas when the festivities meant that there were more people for dining etc. However, the day after Christmas Day would be traditionally a day for giving presents, boxes to the servants, hence the name Boxing Day.

NEXT MONTH …

A lecture was given to a group of interested individuals in 1872 on the topic of paper manufacturing paper. The lecturer traced the true origins of the  ancient writing material to the Egyptians with their use of papyrus. The lecture then progresses through to the modern methods of paper making, well modern for 150 years ago that is!

 

Stowford Paper Mills at Ivybridge is referenced as an example of contemporary paper making, describing how the workforce convert discarded clothing and other materials to high quality white writing papers.

 

As is customary, we expand upon the techniques of manufacturing and the ‘fine’ writing papers produced by this local paper mill which gave employment to so many people in and around Ivybridge.

ALSO

Jun21.52

A true Devonshire delicacy, the world famous clotted cream, which differs from ordinary cream by virtue of the cooking process which has taken place.

 

We take a closer look at the processes involved, reviewing a method from 100 years ago.

 

Rationing of cream after the Great War led to an amusing pastime ‘The Cream Hunt’. This entailed taking tea at any one of the numerous farms which offered refreshments to establish if cream was on the menu for that particular day!

Ivybridge Town Council
SHDC
Devon County Council - Copy
DRHP Logo