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Starcross History


  •  The asylum
    Royal Western Counties Hospital: Opened 1864:  Demolished 1986
Although the Royal Western Counties Hospital was closed in 1986, and demolished, and its tons and tons of dressed limestone were shipped upcountry, a group of enthusiasts were determined that all those who had lived and worked there should never be forgotten. On May 25th, 2014 a memorial service for patients and staff who worked and lived at the Royal Western Counties Hospital from 1862 to 1986 was held in St Paul's Church. The service dedicated a new memorial stone in memory of patients and residents of the former Royal Western Counties Hospital. Prayers were said for those buried in St Paul's churchyard.
This was a part of the Starcross Past & Present celebrations, which took place between   24th and 26th May.

Memorial stone 2014 in memory of patients and residents of the Royal Western Counties Hospital

  The celebrations included many displays about life in Starcross; past, and present.

  • The SS South Coaster

  • SS South Coaster; a wartime Cardiff coaler

    On 13th December 1943, to avoid the Uboats, the SS South Coaster hugged the coastline a bit too close. Here she still sits, on Pole Sands; a reminder of the wartime Christmas when coal was plentiful in Starcross :-)
    Here's the story of the boat from Peter Mitchell, on the website about diving and wrecks around the world;  Submerged - She was built in Holland, and called Ooostvoome. Later she was rechristened Cwea, and then Martin, and finally, she became the SS South Coaster. On that fateful December day, she was chartered by the admiralty to carry coal from the Yorkshire coalfields to Exmouth.
    • In the 1990s, The Wren Trust   came to Starcross Primary School The children recreated, with music, the moment the SS South Coaster ran aground. As well as playing their own string, brass, percussion and woodwind instruments, the children played lots more drums, and bashed a steel cylinder (hanging from a music stand, bottom left of the first photo) with a steel stick, to make ENORMOUS clanging noises - just like the noises the boat would have made as she grounded. Ropes and the gym equipment came into play to set the scene for a terrific performance. Here's photos of the rehearsals.
    SS Southcoaster rehearsal Starcross School Wren Trust 1990s
    SS Southcoaster rehearsal Starcross School Wren Trust 1990s

     Great fun. History brought to life.

    Thankyou Steve Nosworthy for this photo of Brunel's Atmospheric Railway Tower

    The last remaining tower of Isambard Kingdon Brunel's atmospheric railway was saved despite the railway authority's notice on its door which promised its demolition. The late Dick Forester bought the tower and moved in with his family. He published a pamphlet 'What was an Atmospheric Railway?' N4742P1

    Here's a link to the story of the atmospheric railway  The atmospheric railway by Gary Keeting

    • A traditional cob build

    • In 1989, Teignbridge District Council built a traditional cob&thatch shelter on land owned by Starcross Parish Council. Here's a link to 'The Cob Buildings of Devon' published by the Devon Historic Buildings Trust.  The Cob Buildings of Devon
    and here's their photo of our cob shelter

    • Celebration of Country Living
    • Currently, Starcross resident Alison Miles is coordinating a wonderful project to make a wall hanging titled, "Starcross Celebration of Country Living". This is planned 'to be a colourful record of life in Starcross for people in future years to look at and enjoy'. On request, Alison will deliver a blank panel for you to complete with your unique design. Designs need to be completed before the first week in May. They have to fit within the marked square foot, and any type of permanent work is acceptable. For example:
    • Cutwork
    • Appliqué
    • Embroidery
    • Tatting
    • Dying
    • Crochet
    • Knitting
    If you would make a panel for this, please contact Alison Miles on bayleafandco {@ } sky {dot} com
    The email address is published like this to combat spammers. The actual email address is in the form ***@***.com
    Creation of a panel about the memorial to the hospital

    • Starcross History group
    • The next project on the Starcross agenda is to form a Starcross History group. Its first meet will be in the brand new Starcross Pavilion on TUESDAY 10th MARCH at 8:00pm

    STARCROSS PARISH COUNCIL have kindly allowed the use of the pavilion FREE OF CHARGE.

    Details of this first meet are also in the EVENTS on Starcrosss News on Facebook   Please can Facebook users share the event. Thanks.

    The Swan of the Exe. Launched 1860. Destroyed by fire inbetween 1918 and 1939
    Thankyou Tony Dunlop on Devon Perspectives for this image of The Swan Of the Exe

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