Knowle history to live on in Sidmouth Museum

Ken Robertson, Deborah Robertson and Ann Tanner from Sidmouth Museum with the collection of artefact

Ken Robertson, Deborah Robertson and Ann Tanner from Sidmouth Museum with the collection of artefacts about Knowle. Picture: Beth Sharp - Credit: Archant

The items were found in the cellar and include original drawings by R.W.Sampson.

Artefacts capturing the history of Sidmouth's iconic Knowle building will live on after being rescued from a cellar by Sidmouth Museum.

Volunteers have collected an assortment of items including original architectural designs by R.W.Sampson.

The museum said the work by Sampson, who is renowned for shaping the architectural landscape of the Sid Valley, are among the best finds. One drawing in the collection is dated 1928 and is of an extension of the Knowle building.

All of the items were discovered in the cellar at Knowle and rescued and given to the museum to preserve its history.

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Deborah Robertson, art curator and collection manager at the museum, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to save some of the art, especially the water colour from 1887 which is of the Knowle before it became a hotel and at the very end of its time as a private residence."

The building was firstly known as Knowle Cottage and was commissioned in 1808 by Lord le Despenser.

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Over the course of two centuries it was a hotel before becoming East Devon District Council headquarters in 1974.

Ken Robertson, maps collection manager, said "I am delighted we have been able to save some of the art. We are delighted that we have some of the council maps from 1967 and 1978."

East Devon District Council is set to hand over the building to developer PegasusLife in due course to begin work on its 113-home retirement community.

Richard Thurlow, chairman of the Sid Vale Association, said: "It was the most amazing cottage. It has a hell of a history and became a hotel. It is one of the most fantastic places in Sidmouth over the years. There is very little of the original building left.

"We have collected some bits and pieces to remind people what the Knowle was many years ago.

The history of the building is captured in the Sid Vale Association's new book which details the history of all 64 blue plaques in the town.

Some of the collection will be available in the museum from as early as next week.

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