The Butterwalk, Duke Street, Dartmouth TQ6 9PZ 01803 832923

Holdsworth Room

This room is themed on the social and physical development of the town. It is named after the leading family of the town during much of the 19th Century. On show are a uniform and a lady’s dress which belonged to the family. Also in the large display case, on loan from Blackawton Church, is a 17th Century silver drinking vessel of simple design but impressive volume.

In the corner to the right is a dolls house representing part of Oldstone Manor near Blackawton. This unfortunate building burnt to the ground in 1895 following a notorious murder there a few years earlier. [The body of the daughter of the house was found standing upright and fully clothed in a pool on the estate, with her hat still on her head, just below the surface of the water. The murder was not solved.] or, less gruesome [The standard of modelling in miniature is particularly high; the Singer sewing machine and the birdcage being noteworthy.]

I suggest the WWII alcove is renamed

The stocks on display were at the medieval centre of the town at the junction of Smith Street and Higher Street, together with the pillory. The old lock and key were from the Town Gaol, which stood in the now wider part of Anzac Street fronting St Saviour’s Church. In the Henley Study there is an accomplished drawing made by Henley himself of the pillory with a miscreant held therein.

‘Welcome Home’

Dartmouth’s own Sedan Chair has now come home to the Museum.  At the start of the 19th Century the Newmans – one of several important local families trading across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean and bringing wealth and jobs to the town – owned this Chair.  This has remained with them throughout about two centuries with a brief break of 5 years in the 1930s.  Sir Geoffrey has now given it to Dartmouth Museum.

The timing is particularly special as this year the lucrative trade in fish and its products is being researched and celebrated throughout Devon.  Dartmouth – with its sheltered, deep harbour was one of the principle ports involved.  The ships from Devon sailed to Newfoundland and frequently called in at Ireland on the way, with people, tools and clothing to help set up bases from which the fish processing could be undertaken.  The products, dried cod and ‘Trayne oil’ (pressed-out fish oil) were then taken to the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean and the ships then went to Oporto in order to top up their holds with Port – that lovely red stuff!  This became known as the ‘Triangular Trade’.

The Holdsworth Room houses further collections contained in ‘The Drawers’


The paintings held by the Museum are catalogued in the Art UK web site .

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On the site enter ‘Dartmouth Museum’ in the search window