Peep at the Past

By Sam Acourt in Feature

100 Years Ago

Totnes Town Council. Devon Executive Food Committee have sent the following resolution: ‘That this Committee having considered the large depredation which is made upon the food crops by sparrows, which are largely bred in the towns and migrate to the country during the harvest, it is resolved that the Town and Urban Councils in this country be approached with a view to taking active steps for destruction of these pests, as indicated by the memorandum issued by the Board of Agriculture and Board of Trade.’

They have asked the council’s assistance in the matter.

Councillor Revell said he would like to see the house sparrows killed, but he did not see the use of Committee wasting paper in sending notices to people who knew so much as they did about the question. There was a difference of opinion. Some said the insects the birds killed more than compensated for the corn they consumed, but in his opinion the birds were very destructive.

Councillor Drennan said it was questioned whether the Board of Agriculture were well advised before they issued the memorandum. The only nests easily destroyed would be those of hedge sparrows which were considered to be of benefit. House sparrows did damage, but it would not be easy to deal with them as they did not nest in hedges.

The Surveyor said they did great damage to the corn crops.The Mayor observed that there were, unfortunately, not many corn fields around the town.

Councillor Revell said the birds rose in such numbers from the corn that a man with a gun and No. 7 shot would probably bring down 50 at one shot.

No action was taken.

50 Years Ago

Totnes Rural District Council: When the Chair­man, Mr Claude Bartlett, reported to Council on Friday on the meeting of 21 local authorities at Exeter on the plans to combat the danger of the Torrey Canyon oil slick, he commented that the danger was somewhat arrested for the moment.

Mr Stanley Hearn of Kingswear gave details regarding preparations on the Dart. After stating that two booms were ready, and that one had been towed down-river in a practice run, Mr Hearn said that the Government were wrong to state a reimbursement figure to local authorities of 75 per cent of their outlay, which would mean that the South West towns would pay a quarter of a million pounds.

‘It is a national disaster and ranks with the bombing during the war, damage from which was paid for nationally,’ Mr Hearn said.

‘It has been stated that the disaster will cost two million pounds, which means that the South West will be mulcted [fined or taxed] of half a million pounds, and that on top of Selective Employment Tax is making it a very serious matter for the towns in the South West.’

Mr Hearn said that at Dartmouth they had been fortunate enough to have the assistance of the Navy, and the Royal Naval College had supplied the labour of providing booms, and the total cost at the moment was roughly £100, and for each of the five authorities involved – Dartmouth Borough Council, Dartmouth Harbour Commission, the River Dart Navigation Commissioners and Totnes Borough and Rural Councils, the share of expense would only be a few pounds. The Council agreed to pay the share.

25 Years Ago

A town in the heart of a former Eastern Bloc country could become the second twin for Totnes.

Olomouc in Czechoslov­akia has been proposed by Totnes Community Office founder Norman Duncan who moved there last year.

If successful it would run alongside the Totnes – Vire Association, which linked with Normandy nearly 20 years ago.

Mr Duncan said: ‘I have many local and national contacts in both countries and envisage this holistic linking beginning through Totnes and Olomouc but then spreading between other towns and districts. It will enable exchanges of people, information and know-how.’

The first group was due to visit Totnes in May, and a return visit was planned for September. However, it was cancelled this week after lack of support from the Czechs.

To initiate the swaps, a handicapped Czechoslovak­ian, Michael Verner, aged 22, has been given a free place at the Totnes School of English.

Add Comment

Add Your Comment

You don't need an account to leave a comment

By posting your comment you agree to our T & C