A history talk on Sidmouth's 'forgotten' working class will take place on Wednesday, February 14, organised by the Sid Vale Association.

The speaker, Margaret Ankins, has written a book about the working people of Sidmouth in the eastern and western areas of the town during the Victorian era. Her talk, 'Forgotten Folk, Sidmouth Yesterday's Working People' is based on the stories told in the book - like this snapshot of a couple's life:

"It is December 1862, and coastguard James Hill is on duty at the Watch House. He is very worried about his wife, Joanna, and will pop back at lunchtime to check on her. They live nearby in one of the nearby coastguard houses. She was out very late last night and was excited because she was officiating at the birth of a neighbour’s child, in the absence of Dr Pullin. “She often helped the sick and the dying, not for renumeration, but in a friendly way.” She was back well in time for his return from his night shift, and now he is on duty again. She had got up to make the children’s breakfast, but she complained that she was cold, and he helped her upstairs and covered her up. (Sidmouth Journal and Directory, Thursday 1st January 1863.)"

Margaret Ankins was born and bred in Sidmouth, and began researching the town's history as a class project at school (The Convent of the Assumption, now St John’s School). Her talk will take place at All Saints Church Hall on February 14 at 2.30pm. The entrance fee is £5.00, or £2.50 for SVA members.

The SVA will be holding monthly talks until April, followed by a break, with the next talk in October.