Floating a boathouse down the River Exe - a rare copy of a century-old book donated to Exmouth Museum
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:58 10 July 2019
Picture: Roger Stokes
A 119-year-old book about holidaying along the River Exe has been restored and has a new home at the town's museum.
Historian Roger Stokes has enhanced the diary - 'A Fortnight's Beachcoming in Devonshire' - after it was discovered in a 'bad' condition eight years ago by the family of memorabilia enthusiast George Pridmore.
Williams and Lindsay Beaton, who found the book, presented Patricia Johnson, of Exmouth Museum, an enhanced copy of the book to go into its collection.
Mr Stokes said: "The diary was brought back to almost 100 per cent condition.
"A limited number of copies were printed at a slightly enlarged size, which made it far easier to read.
"The whole 105 page story represents a good insight of holiday life in Exmouth in 1900, and is well worth a look if you get the chance."
The diary, which is handwritten in pencil by an unnamed author, tells the story of a couple of Topsham families who built a boathouse and floated down the River Exe in sections to be put up in Dawlish Warren.
In the book, there are a number of pictures, paintings and tales of what the families got up to on their subsequent holidays which including transporting a large piano across the River Exe in a small boat.
The book was found in 2011 by William Beaton and his wife Lindsay while clearing out her dad, the late Mr Pridmore's, home.
According to Mr Stokes, Mr Pridmore was an 'ardent' historian with a collection of Exmouth memorabilia, mainly in the form of old photos.
He offered to restore it by scanning the book and slightly enlarging the print to make it more readable.
A copy of the book is now available at Exmouth Museum.
Trustees are currently in the middle of a fundraising campaign to save its traditional town centre home.
The museum needs to raise £150,000 to meet the asking price set by landlords South West Water by September this year.
To date, they have raised £60,000.
A 'museum market' is being held, in The Strand, on Saturday, August 10.
Anyone who can help with their fundraising efforts should go to the museum appeal website