Exmouth & District

Study Day March 2018

This day took place on 15 March 2018.

The Speakers were:

Mary Solway : Estuary Facts and Curiosities

Mary SolwayAs well as being a member of Exmouth and District U3A, Mary is also a member of the Committee.

She edits and produces our colourful and vibrant monthly Newsletter.

She is also the joint organiser for our popular Local History Group

Dr Todd Gray: The Exe in 1619: Sailors, Fishermen and Trade

Todd Grey giving a personal signatureDr Todd Gray is a historian based at the University of Exeter.

He works with the county history societies of Devon and is currently chairman of the Devon & Cornwall Record Society.

Dr Gray is the author of more than 40 books on the history of Devon

Ian Stuart, Stuart Line Cruises: Working on the River

Ian Stuart with JanThis family-run local company was started by Tony Stuart, with the cry of ‘Pay on the Boat!’, back in 1968. The original vessel of Stuart Line was called the “Seacrest” and was a basic open boat running from a landing stage opposite the Clock Tower. Since then much has changed, but it is still run by the same family today – Tony’s son, Ian. The future plans are moving in the same direction with the Company now moving over to Ian’s son Jake.

Ted Draper: Sailing on the Exe: Past, Present and Future

Ted DraperTed Draper is the Commodore of Exe Sailing Club.

Ted started sailing on the Exe, helming a cadet dinghy at the age of 11.

He now finds himself at the helm of the entire sailing club. Ted finds that the role of Commodore – ie managing director – is all about doing all the things no one else wants to do!

Geoff Perriam: History of the Pilots on the Exe

Geoff PerriamGeoff was our special guest at lunchtime. He was born in 1928 in Bicton Street. Geoff’s earliest traceable male ancestor was born in 1731; all of whom were born in Littleham parish.

His fourth great grandfather had two sons, both of whom became pilots. When his wife died he married a widow, Nancy Hopping. She then became the Nancy Perriam that we still remember.

All male ancestors were Exe pilots up until 1886 when Geoff’s great-great grandfather retired after over 50 years in pilot service. He had three sons, two of whom were apprentice pilots, but then went into the merchant service, eventually becoming Master Mariners. The third son, Geoff’s great grandfather, joined the merchant service and was working his way up the promotion ladder. He was 1st Mate on a vessel returning from Mexico in 1873 when he was washed overboard and lost. The family connection with the sea was then broken, at least until 1944 when at the age of 15 Geoff joined the Royal Navy and served for 14 years.

After naval service he went into the electronics industry in other parts of the country, returning to live in Exmouth 44 years ago, and has been involved in the Exmouth Museum for the past 21 years.

Myles Blood Smyth, Exe Mussels: Sustainable Mussel Farming on the Exe

Myles Blood Smyth - Exe MusselsMyles is one of a dozen-or-so fishermen in the south-west who catch and purify mussels. He loves the lifestyle, the salty sea air and being his own boss. But just as exciting is the fact that he never quite knows how much shiny black booty he will tease from the muddy bed of the Exe Estuary, in Devon, from year to year.

“Farming mussels is like being a treasure hunter,” says Myles, who made a living whelking in Wales until 1996, when the Sea Empress oil tanker disaster struck and before that, worked as a thatcher.

Peter Otley, Site Manager, RSPB: Birds of the Estuary

Peter Otley - Site Manager, RSPBPeter leads the Exe Estuary team with responsibility for the delivery of conservation and management objectives at the Society's:

Exe Estuary, Chapel Wood, Isley Marsh and Labrador Bay reserves.

He emphasized the interdependence of birds and other forms of wildlife on the estuary.

Neil Downes, Chair, Exe Estuary Forum: The Future of the Estuary

Neil DownesNeil has 30 years’ experience in fisheries management. He has worked in the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. More recently Neil was the Chief Fisheries Officer of Devon Sea Fisheries. During his time in office he was also the Chair of Chief Fisheries Officers of England and Wales for eleven years which gave him and overview of the management of coastal fisheries in England and Wales. Since retirement in 2007 Neil has been the Chair of the Exe Forum which is part of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership.

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