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Whimple History Society currently has around 70 members. The Society runs the Whimple Heritage Centre, which comprises a museum and archive dedicated to recording and displaying the history of the village of Whimple. Some members sit on the Heritage Centre management committee, and others act as stewards when the Centre is open to the public. There are opportunities to volunteer to help with curating, archiving, marketing, fundraising and many other activities.
Members of the History Society meet regularly through the autumn and winter for talks given by a mixture of members and professional speakers. There is an annual summer cream tea, a Christmas lunch, and fundraising events such as a summer treasure hunt, autumn apple pressing, and the famous Whimple Wassail.
Whilst giving a lecture at Whimple Primary School in 1976, local historian, Dr R Sellman, stated that the parish records for Whimple had been lost in mysterious circumstances. This prompted some villagers to start a "Parish Chest", in which records of Whimple could be kept for the future.
The chest was donated by village resident, Frances Pratt, in 1978, and it was kept in the vestry of St Mary's Parish Church. Villagers donated deeds, photographs, postcards,newspaper cuttings, and a variety of other documents relating to the village. Volunteers interviewed older residents and recorded their memories of village life. By 1989 the chest was almost full, and that summer a Mr Radford donated a sampler made by Mary Ann Pollard Harris in 1806 while she was at school in Whimple. He wanted it to be seen by local people, and so it was hung in the village art shop. It was at this time that one of the custodians of the chest, Daphne Rastall, and a keen local amateur historian, John Shepherd, decided to form the Whimple History Society.
The Whimple History Society was formed on 27th September 1989, and it became a registered charity in 1991. Its object is to advance the education of the public in the history of the village of Whimple. By 1995 the Society's collection was being stored in the homes of nine of its members, who started fundraising with a view to the Society acquiring its own premises. In 2000, thanks to a lot of fundraising and some generous donations, the Society purchased a derelict linhay, Lockyers Linhay in the gounds of the New Fountain Inn, for £28,000.Further fundraising and donations financed the restoration of the linhay and its conversion into the Whimple Heritage Centre, which opened to the public in May 2003, and was extended in 2005.
Renovation of the Linhay
Building the extension. Opened April 2005.
Opening the Heritage centre. May 2003
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