A book bound in human skin is one of the exhibits at Devon’s annual Local History Day this month.
On display for the first time from the archive of the Westcountry Studies Library, The Poetical Works of John Milton is bound in the skin of George Cudmore, who was hanged on March 25, 1830, for murdering his wife, Grace.
This year’s ‘crime and punishment’ themed event is being held at the Westcountry Studies Library on Saturday, February 26 between 10am and 3.30pm in conjunction with Exeter Local History Society.
Residents in Devon will be able to explore the county’s heritage through a series of talks and exhibitions about Devon’s villains, witch trials and executions in Exeter and a mysterious murder at Branscombe.
The fifth annual ‘Location? Location? Location?’ challenge will also form part of the exhibition when it arrives at the library on February 12.
Eagle-eyed Devon residents will be asked to turn detective and help identify 50 mystery old images from its collection in the hope that their locations will be identified and the stories behind the photographs will become known.
The photographs have all been donated to the library, which has over 100,000 images dating back to the early 17th century and one of the most extensive public collections of printed materials, photographs and illustrations in the South West.
All of Devon’s libraries are promoting this year’s challenge, and will be helping the public to view images and record any suggested locations.
Tickets for the talks cost £1 each or at the special price of £3 for all four sessions. Tickets are available from the Westcountry Studies Library or Exeter Central Library.
The programme for the talks is as follows:
10.30am: The Exeter Witchcraft Trials by Frank Gent.
11.30am: Shooting at Branscombe Old Pit by John Torrance and Barbara Farquharson.
12.30pm: Executions and the sites of the Gallows by David Cornforth and Sue Jackson.
1.30pm: Devon Villains by Mike Holgate.
Refreshments will be available all day, as well as a local book stall. For more information contact the Westcountry Studies Library on 01392 384216. View the exhibition online at the Devon County Council microsite.
(From a press release – library picture)