The Devon and Exeter Institution is an Independent Library and Educational Charity in the heart of Exeter, founded in 1813. We welcome new members and visitors of all ages. In March 2020 we were awarded a major grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our development project 'The Next Chapter'.
Sonnets to Eliza was published in London by John Murray in 1790. The anonymous work, written ‘by her friend’, is extremely rare. The English Short-Title Catalogue lists only one copy (T207964), held at the National Library of Wales. No contemporary sources offer a clue to its author – but an inscription on the copy at the Devon and Exeter Institution suggests it was written here in Devon.
Join us here in the Institution garden or online, for Heritage Open Days. This year's theme is 'Hidden Nature' and we invite you to view the Institution from a different perspective.
From his home in London, John Cooke Bourne (1814-1896) witnessed the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway, the first main-line railway to enter London. The London and Birmingham Railway Company was founded in 1833 and work soon began on a London terminus. Engineers George and Robert Stephenson chose a site on the edge of the city; a station with two platforms and two hotels was designed by Philip Hardwick (1792–1870) with a huge 70-foot Doric portico marking the gateway to the north. London Euston station officially opened on 20 July 1837. The following year a temporary terminus opened on Bishop’s Bridge Road in Paddington heralding the expansion of the railways to the west.
Discover brand new ways to support our conservation programme and become part of the history of the Institution
The Institution is a very special place in the heart of Exeter and we need your support now more than ever to ensure that it continues to thrive for generations to come. Watch the video to find out how you can get involved and become part of the fascinating history of the Devon and Exeter Institution.
Our phased reopening plans for the Institution - July and August 2020
Originally from Barnstaple in Devon, John Gay (1685-1732) became one of London’s most renowned dramatists. His satirical ballad opera, The Beggar’s Opera, opened at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre on 29 January 1728 and ran for 62 nights. Gay’s assault on the topsy-turvy morals, double-standards and self-interests of 18th century politics and aristocratic society remains one of the few 18th century plays still performed today.
Friedrich Christian Accum (1769-1838) popularised the study of chemistry in the early years of the 19th century. Originally from Germany, Accum moved to London in 1793. There he met William […]