Saturday January 12th 2019

Jenny Ridd

View of Georgian Devon: George Rowe, Artist and Printmaker”.

Saturday Snippet Archive

Further reading for current, future and past Snippets is available on our research resources pages.

Past topics covered were:


Saturday December 1st 

Eden Phillpotts 

Peter Wingfield-Digby spoke about the life and works of Eden Phillpotts. Eden was born in India. His father Henry – who was a nephew of the famous Bishop of Exeter Henry Phillpotts – was in the Bengal Infantry, but died when Eden was only 3. His mother came back to England, and the three boys went to Mannamead School, now part of Plymouth College. Eden worked in an insurance office in London for ten years before becoming a full-time writer and moving to Torquay. He lived there for 30 years, and then moved to Broadclyst, where he lived another 30 years.

Eden was a prolific and (at the time) popular author over seven decades, with some 250 publications to his name: novels, non-fiction, plays and poetry. He is best known for his 18 novels about Dartmoor, each one centred on a particular village.


The Librarian has a complete list of his publications, with an indication of where in Exeter each publication can be found; the DEI itself has 93 of his publications.

Other publications worth consulting:

Waveney Girvan (Ed.), Eden Phillpotts: An Assessment and Tribute, Hutchinson, 1953

Kenneth Day, Eden Phillpotts on Dartmoor, David & Charles, 1981

Adelaide Ross (his daughter), Reverie: An Autobiography, Robert Hale, 1981

Dartmoor Magazine (in purple binders upstairs at the far end of the inner library) did a long run of articles covering all the novels in the Dartmoor Cycle – ask the Librarian for the Index.

James Dayananda, Eden Phillpotts – Selected Letters, Rowman & Littlefield, 1984 (there is a copy in the Old Library at the University)




Saturday November 3rd

Richard Buscall

‘Jane Marcet’s ‘Conversations on Chemistry’: the books that introduced Michael Faraday to science’.


Shelf Number Author Title Date
J 22 24 Accum, Frederick Culinary Poisons 1820
J 21 18 Accum, Frederick Theoretical and Practical Chemistry 1803
J 22 18 Bancroft, Edward Philosophy of Permanent Colours 1794
J 18 1 Boyle, Robert The works of Robert Boyle Vol 1 1772
J 21 25 Chaptal, M J A Chemistry app to Arts & Manufacture 1807
J 22 27 Chenevix, Richard Remarks on Chemical Nomenclature 1802
J 22 30 Cullen, Edmund Physical and Chemical Essays 1788
J 13 10 Dalton, John Meteorological Observations & Essays ?
J 18 20 Davy, Humphrey Elements of Agricultural Chemistry 1813
Bay 68 Davy, Humphrey Elements of Chemical Philosophy 1812
J 22 6 Fourcroy, A F Chemical Knowledge 1804
J 22 25 Gren, Frederic Charles Modern Chemistry 1800
J 23 5 Henry, William Epitome of Chemistry 1803
J 23 18 Miller, William Allen Elements of Chemistry 1860
J 18 18 Nicholson, William Natural Philosophy, Chemistry & the Arts 1802
J 12 5 Nicholson, William Natural Philosophy Vol 1 1805
J 22 32 Nicholson, William First Principles of Chemistry 1796
J 23 7 Parkinson, James Pocket book of chemistry 1803
J 23 6 Skrimshire, Fenwick Series of Chymical Essays 1804
J 14 11 Tyndall, John Faraday as a Discoverer 1870
I 14 13 Whewell, William Rev English   University Education 1857
J 22 23  Conversations on Chemistry Vol2 1806
J 22 22 Conversations on Chemistry Vol 1 1806
I 2 20 Conversations on Political Economy 1816


Saturday October 6th 

Clare Maudling

Towns of the Future: Discovering town planning and development in the DEI

The major post-war plans of Exeter and Plymouth are well known, but did you know there was an equally radical plan for Exeter mooted in 1913? Or that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has its roots with Plymouth’s post-war planner, Patrick Abercrombie, and the rise of ribbon development? From the development of garden cities to the future of Devon, the DEI has as range of sources for examining urban development and change, which will be presented in this Saturday Snippet.


Saturday Snippet ‘Towns of the Future’ Bibliography   

Town Plans and Development Plans   

Devon County Council, The Household Questionnaire: An attitude survey of households in sample communities carried out for the Structure Plan (Devon County Council, 1978), AD 301 DEV (pamph) 

Devon County Council, Totnes Conservation Study: Part 1 – surveys and conclusions (Devon County Council, 1972), AD/TOT 711 DEV XX 

Devon County Council, Towards 2001: The future of the Exeter sub-region (Devon County Council, 1975), AD 309.25 DEV (pamph) 

Devon County Council & Cornwall County Council Towards 2001: The future of the Plymouth sub-region (Devon and Cornwall County Councils, 1975), AD 309.25 DEV (pamph) 

Exeter City Council, Housing: Opening of the 2000th post-war municipal house by the Right Honourable Sir Kingsley Wood MP, Minister of Health (City Council, Exeter, 1937), AD/EXE 711 EXE (pamph)  

Mawson, Thomas, H, Exeter of the Future: A policy of improvement within a period of 100 years (London, 1913), S 54.12  

Paton Watson, James, & Abercrombie, Patrick, A Plan for Plymouth (Underhill, Plymouth, 1943), AD/PLY 711 WAT X 

Sharp, Thomas, Exeter Phoenix: A plan for rebuilding (Architectural Press, London, 1946), AD/EXE 711 SHA  

Sharp, Thomas, Newer Sarum: A plan for Salisbury (Architectural Press, London, 1949), 914.231 SHA 

Thompson, W. Harding, Devon: Coast, Moors and Rivers (University of London Press, London, 1932), AD 03 THO X 

Wilson, Hugh, & Womersley, Lewis, Exeter: Central Area final report (Exeter City Council, 1970), AD/EXE 711 WIL   

Urban Development  

Barry, Jonathan (ed.), The Tudor and Stuart Town: A reader in English urban history 1530-1688 (Longman, London, 1990), 301 TUD 

Borsay, Peter (ed.), The Eighteenth Century Town: A reader in English urban history 1688-1820 (Longman, London, 1990), 301.07 EIG 

Chadwick, Edwin, General Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain (Clowes & Son, London, 1842), I 8.3  

Dyos, H.J, & Wolff, Michael (eds.), The Victorian City: Images and Reality (2 vols. Routledge, London, 1973), 301 DYO X  

Finberg, Joscelyne, Exploring Villages (Sutton Publishing, Stroud, 1998), AA 05 FIN 

Rowntree, B.S, Poverty: A study of town life (MacMillan & Co, London, 1902), 339.1 ROW 

Sennett, A.R, Garden Cities in Theory and in Practice (2 vols. Bemrose & Sons, London, 1905), N 17.11 

Simpson, M.A & Lloyd, T.H, Middle Class Housing in Britain (David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1977), 301.08 SIM 

Taylor, Christopher, Village and Farmstead: A history of rural settlement in England (George Philip, London, 1984), AA 05 TAY 

Taylor, James Stephen, Poverty, Migration and Settlement in the Industrail Revolution: Sojourners’ narratives (Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship, Palo Alto, 1989), 344 TAY  

Turner, Sam & Silvester, Bob (eds), Life in Medieval Landsapes: People and places in the Middle Ages (Windgather Press, Oxford, 2012), AA 05 TUR 


Mellor, Hugh, Exeter Architecture (Phillimore, Chichester, 1989), AD/EXE 720 MEL 

Portman, D, Exeter Houses 1400-1700 (University of Exeter, Exeter, 1966), AD/EXE 728 POR 

Summerson, John, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830 (5th ed. Penguin, Middlesex, 1969), 720 SUM  

Journals and Periodicals  

Council for the Preservation of Rural England – Reports, Bay 27 lower cupboard  

Deserted Medieval Village Research Group (see below for later title), Bay 25 lower cupboard 

Medieval Settlement Research Group (see above for earlier title), Bay 25 lower cupboard 

Urban History Yearbook, Bay 25 lower cupboard 


September 2018

Saturday 1st September 

 Jeremy Lawford      The Victorian Art of Persuasion 

 Jeremy spoke about the use of political propaganda in the 1868 General Election with particular reference to a series of Tory posters in the DEI collection which were influential in the Exeter campaign. 

 Other sources: 

Richard S Lambert                                                                            The Cobbett of the West    1939 

E H Coleridge          1904?  Life and Correspondence of John Duke Lord Coleridge

Punch                                                                                                1868-69 

Illustrated London News                            28 November 1868 

Annual Register                                      1868 

Western Times                                         Sept to Dec 1868 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette                    ditto 



April 2018

“Professor Mark Stoyle of the University of Southampton spoke about the way in which the books held at the Devon and Exeter Institution have, for many years, played a key role in inspiring his research into the history of the early modern West Country.
Mark picked out the following works as having been of especial interest to him in his work on the Western Rising of 1549, on witchcraft in Exeter and on the English Civil War of 1642-46, respectively.
F. Rose-Troup, The Western Rebellion of 1549 (London, 1913).
J and J. H Wylie, Report on the Records of the City of Exeter (London, 1916).
R.W. Cotton, Barnstaple and the Northern Parts of Devon during the English Civil War (London, 1889).”

January 2018

John Allan shared our collection of architectural drawings:

The DEI holds an extensive and important collection of architectural drawings, mainly of the 19th century, much of which is not well known.

In this session we will look at a selection of the most important holdings, including works by notable Victorian architects who were also fine draftsmen, such as Edward Ashworth; we will also look at the scrapbooks of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society including the life-size records of the cathedral’s medieval  window glass by John Loveband Fulford, and the miscellaneous collections of late Georgian details.

December 2017 

Dr David Parker will share insights into the Victorian era.

A critical look at the illustrations and accompanying articles in the Illustrated London News and some other prints in the DEIs collection.

This Saturday Snippets explored the vast array of contemporary illustrations and articles, many by famous artists, engravers and writers, to be found in the volumes of the Illustrated London News founded in May 1842.   Nearly everyone has heard of it, but few delve into its pages.  The annual volumes on the inner library shelves of the DEI run up to 1893 and provide the reader and researcher with an invaluable insight into Victorian aristocratic and working class society, technological advances and the various international exhibitions devoted to them, the growth of leisure and sporting activities, Imperial ambitions and the numerous wars caused by them, and the world that was expanding through exploration, colonialism and trade.    The illustrations – all hand drawn up until the first printed photographs in the 1890s – and the accompanying articles provided readers then, and now, with an engrossing insight and commentary (usually nationalistic but frequently caustic) into current affairs.  Often they provide an unusual, and thought-provoking, slant on emerging issues.

November 2017

Paul Auchterlonie shared books from the Geography collection.

The nineteenth century was the century of exploration and discovery and the proprietors of the DEI followed the adventures of these brave men  (and occasional women) all over the globe from the deserts of Arabia through the jungles of Equatorial Africa to the frozen wastes of the Arctic. 

The geography collection on the DEI (class G now shelved in the gallery) contains not only some of the most interesting books of the period but also some of the most beautifully illustrated, and Saturday’s talk will be an opportunity to explore the intrepid world of the great explorers.

October 2017

Dr Robin Wootton shared books from the Natural History Collection.

Saturday Snippet Summary – Robin Wootton

The D&EI was founded at a time of intense interest and activity in the natural sciences, and this is amply reflected in its library. There are early editions of many of the leading C18th naturalists: Gilbert White, Thomas Pennant, George Montagu, William Ellis, as well as Carl Linnaeus, the founder of modern systematic biology, and the Comte de Buffon, the great encyclopaedist. The spectacular advances in knowledge of the living world that resulted from expeditions and from the availability of good microscopes in the C19th are reflected in a fine collection of monographs on specific groups of animals, plants and Protista, often published by the still extant Ray Society. Among many others these include the splendid account of the stalk-eyed Crustacea by William Elford Leach, who was the prime mover in the foundation of the Institution, as well as Charles Darwin’s monograph of the world’s barnacles, published before The Origin of Species, and that of Philip Henry Gosse on British sea anemones and corals. Gosse, one of the greatest of all observational biologists, who spent much of his life in Devon, is also well represented by his popular writings.

The early years of the Institution saw one of the greatest of all human intellectual revolutions: the realisation that species were not created in their present form but have evolved from simplest beginnings through hundreds of millions of years. The library’s collections provide a fascinating insight into the progressive development of these ideas and the controversies that surrounded them, with works by several pioneering minor writers as well as those by Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace and Thomas Henry Huxley.  The most influential opponents of evolutionary ideas, the comparative morphologists Georges Cuvier and Richard Owen, are also well represented, and a remarkable early run of the Mémoires du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle with papers by Cuvier, Lamarck and St Hilaire in the thick of evolutionary controversy in Paris in the early years of the century is a rare resource for biological historians.

Since 1900, the library has increasingly concentrated on the South West, and natural history acquisitions have been largely limited to this area. The library would provide a useful resource for students of the changes in the flora and fauna of Devon and Cornwall in the last 200 years, should any such be undertaken.

July 2017 

Dr Robert Higham spoke on ‘The Domesday Book, Old English Charters and the Institution’s Library: studying 11th- century England’

Development of the Institution’s library in the 19th century coincided with a period of great interest in the primary sources for medieval English history. This interest continued, unabated, and the library went on to acquire many crucial publications in this field.

This brief talk will draw attention to items on our shelves, published between the 1780s and our own day, containing the texts of Domesday Book and Old English charters or containing scholarly discussions of those sources and what they reveal about late Saxon and early Norman England.

To these printed items can now be added internet resources which can be consulted from desks in our – indeed in any – library amidst the published output of more than two centuries. Past, present and future generations of readers – both professional and amateur – are thus connected.