History events celebrate Sidmothian memory maker

Peter Orlando Hutchinson's painting of Coburg Terrace, Sidmouth

Peter Orlando Hutchinson's painting of Coburg Terrace, Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth historians are celebrating the life of a Victorian antiquarian who endeavoured to record his memories for posterity.

‘In the footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson’ is giving heritage hunters the chance to look closer at a mysterious man who noted ‘everything that moved and a lot of things that didn’t’ in and around the town.

The enigmatic Sidmothian rescued part of the medieval parish church from demolition, a controversial move that features in two plays by the Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society.

Far from a sedate Sidmouth, the tales cover a Victorian town where character assassinations and public denunciations were fair game, and will be performed in the church itself.

Tickets for the shows (from June 27 to 29) are available from Paragon Books in High Street or on 01395 514 516.

Over at the museum, a number of never-before-seen artefacts will be on display, having been held at Royal Albert Memorial Museum since Hutchinson donated them.

And an exhibition at Kennaway House (from June 22 to 28) will host an exhibition devoted to things that were too big for Hutchinson to pick up and take away – archaeological sites and landscapes.

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Hutchinson’s watercolours, sketch-es, plans and diagrams have earned him the respect of modern archaeologists and landscape historians.

His work will appear alongside modern reproductions and pieces by inspired Sidmouth College students.

Finally on June 25, again at Kennaway House, Devon county archaeologist Bill Horner will summarise the findings of a dig at High Peak – the site that triggered Hutchinson’s interest in archaeology.

The events are organised by East Devon AONB and have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Sid Vale Association (Keith Owen Fund), Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and Natural England.