Voices of Exmoor: Helping to Unlock the Stories of Our Past

As part of our joint event with the North Devon Record Office and Barnstaple Local Studies Library, Voices of Exmoor and North Devon, Inca from The Plough Youth Theatre writes about working on their new film Listening to Lynmouth (the Rising of 1952)’. The film, which tells the story of the devastating flood that hit Lynmouth in 1952, will be shown at the North Devon Record Office during our joint event on Saturday 18 September as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.

It has been an amazing experience working with the archives. There was so much to learn and so many stories to tell and be told.  When listening to these stories being told from someone’s point of view, it is amazing to think that what we are listening to happened.

We started the project by learning and listening to a few characters from the archives, then improvising scenes after listening to the hour-long clips on each character. From doing this we found connections between characters, whether they were related or were in the same building when the flood started.

After doing this for a few weeks, we picked out characters that were a main part of the flood. I chose Ada Richards, the Post Mistress from the Brendon Post Office. Now we could focus our attention on these characters and learn more about their stories.

After listening to more of the archive, we found ideas that we wanted to use; like the hotel collapsing and candles going out one by one in the windows, and Ada Richard’s piano having pickled eggs spilt in it during the floods.

We then started filming our characters’ monologues straight to the camera, telling their stories. The next week we filmed action and acting, parts like the candles and piano.

I’m looking forward to seeing the finished film, I have loved being part of this project and helping to unlock the stories of our past.


The film will be given it’s first screening on 18th September and be available to view online afterwards. You can also read this blog and find more information about the Unlocking Our Sounds Heritage Project on the South West Heritage Trust Website.

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