The General Election

This time next week we will all be voting in the General Election – unless we have already done so by postal vote, or decide not to bother about doing so.

Our campaign group is non-political as we have supporters from all the political parties, but we have asked all the candidates to give us a statement about their position on Manning’s Pit.

You can read them on our website at this Link:

We have presented them in the order in which the candidates names will appear on your ballot paper, which is alphabetical by surname. There is no other significance in their order.




The Golden Lion

This Inn, in Boutport Street, Barnstaple, was next door to the Fortescue Hotel, when Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) and his family went down to see the exciting events that took place on the polling day of the famous and important By-Election of February 1880.

They sat upstairs in rooms above what is now Youing’s shop on the corner of the High Street and Boutport Street, looking across at the Golden Lion. It is highly probable that  they saw Lord Lymington give his victory speech from the Balcony of the Fortescue (you can just spot the edge of the balcony, in the illustration that we show.)

The Golden Lion is no longer there, but the building remains and is the premises of “The Bank” restaurant (the Golden Lion Tap which is around the corner, in the Square, is still a pub)

Fuller details of that day’s events, to include Ethel M Munro’s comments, a report from the North Devon Journal, and other information, can be found on our website at this page:

You can also find more about our Museum Exhibition here:




What is happening next?

Quite a few people have been asking us what is happening next, after the end of the consultation period. We do not know as yet when the application to build on Manning’s Pit will go before the Planning Committee, but it seems virtually certain now that it will not be before June at the earliest.
Meanwhile – if there is anyone out there who has not written a letter of objection, they can still do so, and the chances are it will be looked at, even though the deadline has passed.


The Exhibition at the Museum will be open until May 20th, so if you have not seen it yet, we hope you will manage to do so.  Our researches are ongoing – as we had very little time to prepare for the Exhibition – and we are adding more information in a number of folders to expand on the stories that are up on the walls.

Frederick Richard Lee

The Exhibition includes two paintings by Frederick Richard Lee, plus a portrait of him and information about his life and his family.   The portrait is a large and impressive one, by Briggs, R.A.  and when the Broadgate Estate was sold in 1919, on the instructions of Lee’s daughter, Mrs. Hibbert, this portrait was purchased by Mr C E Roberts on behalf of the North Devon Athanaeum.


This isn’t the best of photographs, but if looks mean anything, he looks a kindly man.  He was remarkable not just as an eminent landscape artist but also as a yachtsman – in later life he sailed to Australia in his yacht Linda.

From J M W Turner to Zodiac Mindwarp

Our Exhibition at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon opens today. As there is another small Exhibition in the adjacent space, a few people have seen it already,  but it opens officially today, and will run until May 20th.  The other Exhibition closes on April 20th and from that date we will have more exhibits on show.

Mark Manning, also known as Zodiac Mindwarp of the band Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction,  lived very close to Manning’s Pit at one time, and we are thrilled that he has supported our Exhibition with one of his paintings that feature Rupert bear, titled Childhood’s End.  Do come and see it – it is quite stunning.

Damien Hirst, who of course won the Turner Prize, is one of many to recognise Mark’s talents as an artist. and has bought over forty of his paintings.

The link to Turner in our headline concerns something more tenuous, but interesting – we will say more about this in our next post, which will be about the eminent Victorian artist Frederick Richard Lee, whose works are also featured in our Exhibition.


Zodiac Mindwarp