Plaque remembering Stephen Reynolds unveiled at Sidmouth Museum

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 December 2018

Nichola Blackmore, Katie Findlay, Nigel Hyman and Frances Woodward. Picture: Beth Sharp

Nichola Blackmore, Katie Findlay, Nigel Hyman and Frances Woodward. Picture: Beth Sharp

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A plaque remembering one of Sidmouth’s most famous residents and the role he played has been unveiled at Sidmouth Museum.

The Stephen Reynolds plaque outside Sidmouth Museum. Picture: Beth SharpThe Stephen Reynolds plaque outside Sidmouth Museum. Picture: Beth Sharp

Stephen Reynolds lived and worked at Hope Cottage, now known as Sidmouth Museum, in the latter part of World War One and was responsible for all inshore fisheries in the South West.

Large parts of the fishing waters had been excluded by the Royal Navy and because of the number of young men that were conscripted, a lot of the older fishermen had to come out of retirement. Fish was never rationed and Reynolds was credited with being a major factor both in the South West and nationally for the continuation of the fishing industry.

The Devon Remembers Heritage Project, based in Exeter at the Devon Heritage Centre, has been working with local volunteers to research how the war impacted communities.

This has helped Nigel Hyman, the curator at Sidmouth Museum, continue his research into the wartime work of Reynolds.

The heritage project has also now provided a plaque for the outside of the museum to honour Reynolds’ name.

Last Friday, dozens of people attended a special unveiling event, along with Katie Findlay and Nichola Blackmore - from the heritage project.

One of the guests who also attended was Frances Woodward, who is the granddaughter of the fisherman Bob Woolley, who effectively ‘adopted’ Reynolds as a member of his family.

Stephen lived with the Woolleys from 1906 to shortly before his death from influenza in 1919 at the age of 37 years.

Next year will be the 
centenary of his death and 
the museum has plans host a special display about both Reynolds and the fishermen of that time.

Nigel said: “It is fantastic that we now have this plaque. Stephen Reynolds was an important member and figure in Sidmouth’s history.

“I would really like to thank the Devon Remembers Heritage Project.”

Speaking at the event, Katie added: “We want to record Devon’s stories and are trying to build a county archive focused on World War One.

“I am delighted so many people are here to support the unveiling of the plaque.”

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