Peep at the Past

By Sam Acourt in Feature

100 Years Ago

A special meeting of Totnes Town Council took place on Saturday evening on the question of the redistribution proposals for Devon.

The Mayor said they were aware that it was proposed to alter the boundaries of the Parliamentary Divisions of Devon and it was proposed that Totnes, Newton Abbot and Ashburton should be in the Division.

The Commissioners proposed that the Division should be called the Totnes Division of Devonshire. The Newton Abbot Urban Council considered it should be named the Newton Abbot Division.

There were perhaps differences of opinion about the boundaries, but they would oppose by every means in their power the Division being called Newton Abbot instead of Totnes.

The member of the Newton Council who brought forward the resolution urged that Newton had a larger population than Totnes and that the railway facilities there were greater.

The Mayor said the population of Totnes did not represent its importance amongst the towns of Devon, for it was the centre of one of the richest and most famous agricultural districts in England. The farms and villages which surround it sent their produce to it and drew their supplies from it and many did a larger business outside its boundaries than in it.

Newton Abbot had undoubtedly very good markets but the richness of the agricultural land did not compare with that surrounding Totnes.

l As the result of a concert given by the Convalescence Officers at the Seven Stars Hotel, Totnes, the net receipts were £15 and these were divided equally between Totnes Cottage Hospital, the Boy Scouts, and the Potato Sprayer Funds, while an additional anonymous donation of £1 was given to the scouts, so that they may purchase a handcart. The expenses were £2 19s 1d.

50 Years Ago

The champions of a small South Devon village school lost their fight at Devon County Council at Exeter on Thursday.

The meeting approved a recommendation by the Education Committee that Dittisham Church of England School, near Dartmouth, should be closed.

Parents of children at the school lobbied councillors before the meeting and distributed leaflets opposing the proposed closure.

The Education Comm­ittee’s report said that there were only 23 pupils and it was likely to remain a one-teacher school. It was in the best interests of the children to transfer them to Dart­mouth Primary School. This would mean a seven-mile journey, but the committee would put on transport.

A petition signed by villagers at Dittisham said they felt that the closure of village schools was one of the primary causes of the de-population of rural areas.

The parents were most concerned at the increased time their children would be away from home, and at the distance away they would be.

25 Years Ago

A flurry of UFO activity has been reported around Berry Pomeroy since news of the first formation of crop circles there last month appeared in the Totnes Times.

Photographer Pete Glast­on­bury, who tracks down the strange phenomenon, said strange lights had been captured on film that were not visible to the eye when the pictures were taken.

Several crop formations have been spotted in the village fields, which Mr Glastonbury believes are not a hoax.

At Kingston a daylight sighting was reported of two circles being formed in cut grass.

Mr Glastonbury said several people witnessed the event, which lasted 20 minutes, where grass formed a visible shape in the air before rising up through electricity cables, leaving large clumps of grass in the wires. It left a dumbell shape in the field where the grass was picked up, he said.

l The two cardboard boxes left outside the Territorial Army building on Station Road, Totnes, last Wed­nesday and blown up by the Army bomb disposal team, were a misdirected order of frozen chips, Totnes police have confirmed.

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