Sidmouth history on display with new release of blue plaque book

PUBLISHED: 14:09 08 May 2019

Members of the SVA including authors and members of the blue plaque committee celebrate the launch of its new book. Picture: Clarissa Place

Members of the SVA including authors and members of the blue plaque committee celebrate the launch of its new book. Picture: Clarissa Place

Archant

Sidmouth's most important buildings and people are the centre of a guide book highlighting the town's history.

Richard Thurlow presents a certificate of appreciation to book author Julia Creeke. Picture: Clarissa PlaceRichard Thurlow presents a certificate of appreciation to book author Julia Creeke. Picture: Clarissa Place

The Sid Vale Association (SVA) launched the 'blue book' on Wednesday, a comprehensive guide to all 64 of the town's blue plaques.

It took a dedicated team two years to compile due to extensive research, consideration and application to secure the prestigious plaques for a number of new sites.

Kennaway House recently received its plaque due to its connection to J.R.R. Tolkien, who is said to have written much of The Lord of the Rings in Aurora, now the back portion of the Regency property.

Richard Thurlow, from the SVA said at the launch on Wednesday: "This marks the culmination of a huge amount of work over the last couple of years from a dedicated team. I'm very pleased to launch the blue book today.

"We had to research the history or update the history to make sure it was all relevant and sometimes new facts have come to light. The number [of plaques] is almost irrelevant. We have had to judge the level of what we want to put a blue plaque on, is the building important architecturally? Has it got any historical importance and who visited there? If any of those three connections were met then it was considered for a blue plaque."

It is hoped there will be blue plaque tours around the town in future.

Julia Creeke first published Life and Times in Sidmouth in 1992 when there were 32 plaques and updated the guide in 2012.

She teamed up again with the SVA when it was decided to rewrite the book back in 2016.

The third edition is complemented by a pocket size version of the guide.

Ms Creeke was assisted this time by Nigel Hyman, curator of Sidmouth Museum, John McCarthy, illustrator John Dowell and editor Nigel Rugg-Gunn.

Ms Creeke said: "We started work on this some two-and-a-bit years ago, I thought I cannot go on doing this by myself and sent out a cry for help and help was very forthcoming.

"It's going to tell a lot of people a lot about our history."

Both Mr Thurlow and Ms Creeke each received a small token for their dedication to the project.

The book is now on sale for £9.75, with the pocket size guide available for £1.50.

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