Topsham Museum

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Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary. Following completion of a stunning River gallery, the Museum was 'long-listed' for the Art Fund Prize in 2008.

Part of the Museum's focus is on Topsham's maritime history - one particular showpiece is the River Gallery, completed in 2007, featuring unique historic river craft. Visitors can also enjoy the furnished period rooms of the original house and the Sail Loft with its historical timeline of the town's general history and new display about HMS Terror, a Topsham built ship lost in the Artic. Other interesting exhibits include wildlife of the Exe Estuary, local trades and organisations and a small collection of memorabilia of the film star Vivien Leigh.

Topsham's position as a sheltered harbour enabled it to thrive as a port, a centre for fishing and shipbuilding. In a largely forgotten period the Exe was thronged with sailing vessels and its shipyards were major employers in the town and the trade at its height rivalled that of London.

The Museum incorporates pleasant gardens and a tearoom.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

26 March to 31 October
Sun Mon Wed Thu Sat (and Tuesday through August) 14.00-17.00

Group visits at other times by prior arrangement.

Closed: 1 November 2015 to 26 March 2016

Admission charges

FREE.

Getting there

Rail: Topsham Station, take Holman Way to Quay, turn left on Strand
Bus: T or 57 from Exeter or Exmouth
Cycle: Route 2

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Personalities, Social History, Land Transport, Maritime

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

A Taster of Devonshire Customs, Festivals and Traditions

  • 26 June 2018 From 10:45am

The third lecture for this season is to be given by Angie Weatherhead. Ms Weatherhead holds Master of Arts, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science (Hons) degrees and was a community librarian for many years. Her presentation, on 26 June, is a ‘taster’ which goes through the year highlighting Devonshire Customs, Festivals and Traditions and has been compiled to respond to the many questions, as a librarian, she has been asked about the topic. Lunchtime lectures are very popular and it is advisable to arrive early. Coffee is available from 1045 and the lecture will begin at 11.30 or earlier if all the places are taken.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

None but donations welcome

Ugbrooke House and the Cliffords

  • 31 July 2018 From 10:45am

Our speaker, Helen Turnbull, holds a BA (Hons) degree in History with Education and she was Archivist to Lord Clifford of Chudleigh for over ten years. Her presentation gives a potted history of the family as warriors, courtiers, cartographers, magistrates, socialites and guardians of Ugbrooke House. The present building was remodelled c.1760 by Robert Adam. In the interior, many of the features designed by Adam remain today, including his original drawings. The park surrounding the house is a testament to the talent of Lancelot Capability Brown. From the grandeur of the house in Edwardian times, Ugbrooke was to experience damaging indignities during World War II after which it became a grain store. In recent years, the house has been lovingly restored and is once more a real delight to see. This talk reflects the talents and the treasures of those who have lived there. Lunchtime lectures are very popular and it is advisable to arrive early. Coffee is available from 1045 and the lecture will begin at 11.30 or earlier if all the places are taken.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

None but donations welcome

The Three Hares: a curiosity worth regarding

  • 25 September 2018 From 10:45am

Our speaker, Dr Sue Andrew, is an independent researcher whose studies have encompassed anthropology, comparative religion, art history, and architectural conservation. Sue writes and gives talks on her particular interest – historic buildings and the people who made and used them. A mysterious medieval motif – three hares running in a circle sharing three ears which form a triangle at the centre of the design – is found carved in oak in sixteen churches in Devon. Curiously, it is found also in sixteen sixth- to ninth-century Buddhist cave temples on the edge of the Gobi desert in China. Sue’s talk will explore the sacred journey of the Three Hares through the holy places of Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism before uncovering fascinating links to precious portable objects from the Islamic World and the great Mongol Empire. Lunchtime lectures are very popular and it is advisable to arrive early. Coffee is available from 1045 and the lecture will begin at 11.30 or earlier if all the places are taken.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

None but donations welcome

Whatever happened to handwriting

  • 30 October 2018 From 10:45am

The last lecture for the season is on Tuesday, 30th October. It will be given by Dr Alma Swan and is entitled ‘Whatever happened to handwriting?’ Dr Swan was originally a research scientist and academic, became a science publisher and ran her own consultancy business in ‘science communication in the age of the internet’. She has maintained an abiding love of calligraphy and illumination and practised them where possible. Now retired she has taken up artistic pursuits. Dr Swan is Secretary of the Society of Scribes & Illuminators, which Society will be 100 years old in 2021, and is calligrapher to Exeter City Council. The lecture will be concerning the role writing by hand has played in the development of our culture and how, having been written off in the age of the computer, is still important in official circles and growing in popularity generally. Lunchtime lectures are very popular and it is advisable to arrive early. Coffee is available from 1045 and the lecture will begin at 11.30 or earlier if all the places are taken.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

None but donations welcome

Getting there

Rail: Topsham Station, take Holman Way to Quay, turn left on Strand
Bus: T or 57 from Exeter or Exmouth
Cycle: Route 2

Topsham Museum
25 Strand
Topsham, Exeter
Devon
EX3 0AX
England

Website

www.devon.gov.uk/index/culturetourism/culture/museums_heritage/guide_to_devon_museums-3/museums_east_devon/mus_topsham.htm

E-mail

info@topshammuseum.org.uk

Telephone

01392 873244

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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