Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

Last updated

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life
Tiverton , TIverton Museum - geograph.org.uk - 1282693.jpg
The museum entrance
Devon UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
The museum's location in Devon
Location Tiverton, Devon
Coordinates 50°54′04″N3°29′17″W / 50.901°N 3.488°W / 50.901; -3.488 Coordinates: 50°54′04″N3°29′17″W / 50.901°N 3.488°W / 50.901; -3.488
TypeLocal history
Website www.tivertonmuseum.org.uk

The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is a local history museum in Tiverton, Devon, England, to the southwest of Gotham House. It features various exhibits relating to the social and economic history of the Mid Devon region, one of the most popular being a steam locomotive known as the "Tivvy Bumper". Founded in 1960 and initially located in rooms in a local pub, the museum is now housed in a Grade II listed former National School. [1]



The museum was founded in 1960 and initially housed in two rooms of the former Old Bell Inn on Angel Terrace. In 1962, the exhibitions were moved to Chilcott School. In 1969, as a result of the growth of the collections, the museum was moved to its own building, a former National School, where it has remained since. [2] This move was funded by Lord Amory at a cost of £6,000. During the 1970s, the exhibition space was expanded with the construction of new galleries. [3] Further redevelopment took place at the beginning of the 21st century, and the museum reopened with an expanded exhibition space in 2001, after an 18-month, £800,000 refurbishment. [4] Half of this money was provided by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, and the rest was obtained through fundraising efforts in the local community. [4] In 2012, the museum was among 20 national institutions longlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Awards. [5]

Collections and exhibitions

Station sign and locomotive on original site at Blundell's Road in 1968 Tiverton museum artefacts, 1968.JPG
Station sign and locomotive on original site at Blundell's Road in 1968

The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has one of the largest museum collections in the West Country, and contains various exhibits relating to the economic and social life of the region. [4] One of the most popular exhibits is the Great Western Railway steam locomotive number 1442 of the 1400 Class, known as the "Tivvy Bumper". The locomotive was in operation between 1934 and 1965, with its latter years spent transporting passengers between Tiverton and the old Tiverton Junction station at Willand; the engine serving this route was known by locals as the "Tivvy Bumper". The locomotive on display was originally located outside on Blundell's Road in Tiverton, having been purchased by Lord Amory in 1965, but it was moved to the museum in 1978 to protect it from the weather. [6] [7] It is now housed in the Authers Gallery, which was constructed around the engine. [4] This gallery features other exhibits related to road and rail transport in Mid Devon, including bicycles, a Mini and signalling equipment. [4] Museum visitors can stand inside the locomotive's cab. [6]

Other galleries include the Alford Gallery, featuring various items of agricultural equipment, including two of only three surviving examples of Devon spindle-sided ship wagons, [4] and the Heathcoat gallery, named after lace-maker John Heathcoat who owned a factory in Tiverton, which contains a lace frame patented by Heathcoat. [4] There is a restored waterwheel outside the museum's entrance. [4] The museum also has a temporary exhibition space, which has housed a variety of exhibits in the past, including exhibitions on the history of teddy bears, [8] historic photographs of the region [9] and "childhood treasures". [10]

As well as its museum exhibits, there is a library with a Devon Record Office Service Point, assisting visitors with research into local family history. [4]

Virtual Victorians

The museum runs the Virtual Victorians website, which provides an exploration of life in the Victorian era through the experiences of the Poslett family who lived in the town in the 19th century. It contains various digital artefacts, including archived editions of the Tiverton Gazette from the 19th century and extracts from the logbook of the Heathcoat lace factory. [11] The site was launched in March 2000, and received 27 million visits from 142 countries within its first four years. [11] The website is particular aimed at schoolchildren and is used in schools throughout the United Kingdom. [12]

Related Research Articles

Science and Industry Museum Science museum in Manchester, England

The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, England, traces the development of science, technology and industry with emphasis on the city's achievements in these fields. The museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, having merged with the National Science Museum in 2012.

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum Science museum in Bangalore, India

The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, (VITM), Bangalore, India, a constituent unit of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, was established in memory of Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya. The building, with a built up area of 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft), was constructed in Cubbon Park. It houses various scientific experiments and engines, and was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on 14 July 1962. The first gallery set up at VITM, on the theme of 'Electricity', was opened to the public on 27 July 1965.

Mid Devon Non-metropolitan district in England

Mid Devon is a local government district in Devon, England. Its council is based in Tiverton.

Tiverton, Devon Human settlement in England

Tiverton is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon and the main commercial and administrative centre of the Mid Devon district. It has become a dormitory town for Exeter and Taunton. The estimated population in 2019 was 20,587. The total area of the two County Council Divisions had a population of 38,191 in 2019.

Derick Heathcoat-Amory, 1st Viscount Amory

Derick Heathcoat-Amory, 1st Viscount Amory,, was a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords.

Blundells School Public school in Tiverton, Devon, England

Blundell's School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school in Tiverton, Devon, England. It was founded in 1604 under the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and moved to its present site on the outskirts of the town in 1882.

<i>John Bull</i> (locomotive) British-built railroad steam locomotive

John Bull is a British-built railroad steam locomotive that operated in the United States. It was operated for the first time on September 15, 1831, and it became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operated it in 1981. Built by Robert Stephenson and Company, the John Bull was initially purchased by and operated for the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the first railroad in New Jersey, which gave John Bull the number 1 and its first name, "Stevens". The C&A used the locomotive heavily from 1833 until 1866, when it was removed from active service and placed in storage.

Museum of the Great Western Railway Industrial museum

STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway, also known as Swindon Steam Railway Museum, is located at the site of the old railway works in Swindon, England – Wiltshire's 'railway town'. The museum opened in 2000 and replaced the former GWR Museum, which was located on Faringdon Road in Swindon, which had opened on 22 June 1962.

Tiverton Town F.C. Association football club in England

Tiverton Town Football Club are an English football club based in Tiverton, Devon. The club are currently members of the Southern League Premier Division South and play at Ladysmead.

Knightshayes Court

Knightshayes Court is a Victorian country house near Tiverton, Devon, England, designed by William Burges for the Heathcoat-Amory family. Nikolaus Pevsner describes it as "an eloquent expression of High Victorian ideals in a country house of moderate size." The house is Grade I listed. The gardens are Grade II* listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

John Heathcoat

John Heathcoat was an English inventor from Duffield, Derbyshire. During his apprenticeship he made an improvement to the warp-loom, so as to produce mitts of a lace-like appearance. He set up his own business in Nottingham but was forced to move away to Hathern in Leicestershire, and after this new factory was attacked by former Luddites in 1816 he moved the business to Tiverton in Devon where it became most successful and established the Tiverton lace-making industry.

North Carolina Transportation Museum Transport museum in Spencer, North Carolina, United States

The North Carolina Transportation Museum is a museum in Spencer, North Carolina. It is a collection of automobiles, aircraft, and railway vehicles. The museum is located at the former Southern Railway's 1896-era Spencer Shops and devotes much of its space to the state's railroad history. The museum has the largest collection of rail relics in the Carolinas. Its Back Shop building of nearly three stories high is most notable for its size of two football fields long.

GWR 1400 Class

The GWR 1400 Class is a class of steam locomotive designed by the Great Western Railway for branch line passenger work. It was originally classified as the 4800 Class when introduced in 1932, and renumbered in 1946.

Kitson and Company was a locomotive manufacturer based in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.

Tiverton railway station

Tiverton railway station served the town of Tiverton, Devon, England. It opened in 1848 as the terminus station of a broad gauge branch line from the Bristol and Exeter Railway main line: the main line junction station four miles away had originally been called Tiverton Road but was renamed as Tiverton Junction when the branch opened.


Locomotive 3642 is a two-cylinder, simple, non-condensing, coal-fired superheated, 4-6-0 36 class express passenger steam locomotive built for the New South Wales Government Railways in 1926 by Clyde Engineering. It is one of three 36 class locomotives that were preserved.

Chevithorne Human settlement in England

Chevithorne is a small village near Tiverton, Devon. It lies three miles to the North East of Tiverton. 'Chenetorne' is identified in two entries of the Doomsday Book: The first entry tells us the manor of Chevithorne, had a taxable value 0.6 geld units, and worth £2.3 to the lord in 1086. The holding was populated by 4 villagers. 2 smallholders. 8 slaves. There was enough ploughland for 2 lord's plough teams. and 2 men's plough teams and had, in addition, 0.12 lord's lands. 8 acres of meadow. 15 acres in pasture. and 3 acres of woodland. There were also 10 cattle and 60 sheep. The 'Lords' of this holding in 1086: are named as Alwin, and Beatrix . Ralph de Pomeroy was Tenant-in-chief, He was a large land holder in Devon, and his brother William held several properties as both lord and Tenant-in-Chief.

Nottingham Industrial Museum

The Nottingham Industrial Museum is a volunteer-run museum situated in part of the 17th-century stables block of Wollaton Hall, located in a suburb of the city of Nottingham. The museum won the Nottinghamshire Heritage Site of the Year Award 2012, a local accolade issued by Experience Nottinghamshire. The Museum collection closed in 2009 after Nottingham City Council withdrew funding, but has since reopened at weekends and bank holidays, helped by a £91,000 government grant, and run by volunteers. The museum contains a display of local textiles machinery, transport, telecommunications, mining and engineering technology. There is a display of cycles, motorcycles, and motor cars. There are examples of significant lace-making machinery. It also houses an operational beam engine, from the Basford, Nottingham pumping station.

Rewari Railway Heritage Museum railway museum in Haryana, India

The Rewari Railway Heritage Museum is a c.1893 railway museum in Delhi NCR at Rewari city in Haryana, India. Built in 1893, it is the only surviving steam locomotive shed in India, and houses some of India's last surviving steam locomotives as well as the world's oldest still-functional 1855-built steam locomotive the Fairy Queen. It is located 400 m (1,300 ft) north of the entrance of the Rewari railway station, 50 km (31 mi) from Gurgaon and 79 km (49 mi) from the National Rail Museum at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi.


  1. Historic England. "The Museum (1384896)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  2. "Museum turns the spotlight on itself to celebrate jubilee". Mid Devon Gazett. 8 June 2010.
  3. "Museum's half century of celebrating mid Devon life". Mid Devon Gazette. 12 January 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Robinson, Matthew (10 July 2001). "District's history is brought to life". Western Morning News.
  5. Wevill, Richard (21 February 2012). "Tiverton matches far bigger museums on family appeal". Mid Devon Gazette.
  6. 1 2 "Full steam ahead for collage to mark the bumper's 75th". Mid Devon Gazette. 28 July 2009.
  7. Crump, Amyas (13 April 2010). "Tivvy bumper tank engine celebrates 75th birthday". Mid Devon Gazette.
  8. "Display for 100 years of teddies". Western Morning News. 11 August 2003.
  9. "Photo show exposes 150 years of history". Mid Devon Gazette. 27 May 2008.
  10. "Model railway at museum". Exeter Express and Echo. 6 August 2008.
  11. 1 2 "Museum is web leader". Western Morning News. 3 February 2004.
  12. Committee, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Lords: Science and Technology (16 November 2006). Science and Heritage: Report with Evidence; 9th Report of Session 2005-06. The Stationery Office. p. 1. ISBN   978-0-10-400955-0.