A patchwork of history


A group of writers prepares to boldly go...
What do writers do all day?

When they're not writing, they're imagining, and sometimes they go on outings to fascinating places, which is what a group of Exeter Writers did yesterday.





We went to Poltimore, which some of you might remember from the BBC's Restoration series. Alas, Poltimore didn't win, so it's still waiting for a zillionaire with a stack of cash to happen along.




Do we need hard hats?

No, we're writers - we're hard enough!

As a nation, we're practically buried under the layers of our history. Devon is particular rich in history, featuring the Jurassic Coast charting the birthdays of the world from aeons before human beings came along to, more recently, some astonishing buildings in various states of magnificence or - sadly - decay.

Poltimore House near Exeter is in a state of decay and needs millions spent on it. Well, if it's to be restored to anything like its former glory it does. When it was sold by the Bampfylde family in the early years of the 20th century, its decline had already begun, and its subsequent tenants did little to preserve its beauty. It became a girls' school, then a boys' school, then a private hospital, then an NHS hospital, and finally a private nursing home. But, as costs mounted, its resources diminished and  finally it was abandoned. The vandals moved in, stealing, stripping, looting, scavenging and burning. It's now home to a very vocal flock of jackdaws, lots of pigeons and a few bats. Some of its former magnificence still remains, however, and there are many features worth preserving.




The Tudor Tower and Courtyard




The Georgian Plasterwork




The Entrance Hall


Nowadays, several teams of volunteers, who are determined the place should be magnificent once again, are working on its restoration. We salute their efforts and can assure you Poltimore is well worth a visit. Anyone who is interested in volunteering to get involved in the restoration project can get in touch via Poltimore's website -  http://www.poltimore.org/

(Margaret James)

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