Sidmouth Victorian behind �50k heritage project

Three year cultural and historical landscape project based on Peter Orlando Hutchinson

A �49,900 Heritage Lottery Grant has been awarded for an exciting new cultural and historical landscapes project based a Sidmouth Victorian.

East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership has received the grant for the three-year project In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson.

On Monday, Philippe Planel, who has been appointed project officer, outlined the aims of the project, which will draw on the work of the Victorian antiquary, who was born 200 years ago next week, to the tourism committee of Sidmouth Town Council.

POH spent his time drawing and recording all aspects of the local landscape and the project aims to revisit many of the historical features of the landscape that he recorded, both in sketch books and his diaries.

These include ancient hill forts, tumuli, burial mounds, such as those in the Farway area, orchards and quarrying sites, to make them more accessible to residents and visitors through such activities as technical survey work, drama and arts-based events.

“Cultural tourism is one of the reasons this project got public funding,” Philippe told town councillors, who voted to put in �200 towards the cost of making digital copies of hundreds of POH’s sketches and paintings.

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“This is absolutely fascinating,” said tourism chairman Councillor Simon Pollentine.

“I go to the Jurassic Coast meetings and they bang on about Mary Anning. Here is another enthusiastic Victorian amateur, doing what they do best and interested in everything.

“He deserves to be better known.”

Councillor Graham Liverton echoed the feeling of others, saying: “I think it is extremely exciting. It is time we shouted out about our own POH. We have to be part of this, I can see this going in the Sidmouth Guide.”

Philippe will work closely with landowners, Sidmouth Museum, Branscombe Project and others for the project, and spoke to Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce at its breakfast meeting on Wednesday.

Funding support has also come from Natural England, Devon County Council, Sid Vale Association and its Keith Owen Fund, and the AONB.

Artefacts at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum will be exhibited at local museums and village halls as part of the project.

*See next week’s Nostalgia in the Sidmouth Herald, which celebrates POH’s bi-centenary.