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Mount Dinham, Exeter (IA Section)

Thu. 31 May 2018 at 11:00 am

£5 – £7

Note: a second visit has been arranged for 22 November 2018. See here for details.

At short notice we have been able to arrange a special meeting on Thursday 31 May 2018 to visit Mount Dinham Cottages / Almshouses and St Michael’s Church in Exeter. It is a Conservation Area, and the Church is Grade 1. This area is almost unknown, just beyond the end of the Iron Bridge, with St Michael’s Church beside it. OS grid reference 905928.

Mount Dinham and St Michael’s Church from the Iron Bridge

Meet at Mount Dinham at 11.00 outside the Church. Try to limit the number of cars please, though it will be possible to park a small number of cars around the cottages and church, beyond the end of Mount Dinham Road. There are car parks in Mary Arches Street and Richmond Road, both very close.

The Devonshire Association has only a brief chance to make this visit while the building works on the Cottages are in progress. They are part way through a major programme of work, so if we want to see inside both an original house and as rebuilt while they are being worked upon and unoccupied, we have to make a visit soon. The DA Building Section is not able to fit this into their programme, but we felt that many of you would not wish to miss this chance to contrast Victorian and modern building techniques.

As this is an active building site, we are required to wear hard hats and a yellow waistcoat. They may have a few to lend, but please try to bring your own (only a few pounds from a builder’s merchant).

The Mount Dinham Cottages / Almshouses were built in 1860 and are currently being completely refurbished by Cornerstone Housing, the renamed Exeter Housing Society. There are 44 houses, in units of 4 houses, set in a quiet green.

They are gutting each group of cottages completely, and rebuilding inside to modern standards. They are creating extra drainage around the walls outside, removing the floors, all the lath and plaster on the walls, re-slating and insulating the roofs, fitting insulated walls, damp courses, new floors and windows and making a small extension out the back for a nice light kitchen. New plumbing, heating and electrics of course. Yet outside they look as original. (I have asked if I can be put down for a place as a resident in ten years time in the hope that there may be a vacancy by then!)

The Chief Executive of Cornerstone Housing, Rick Williams, will give us a short talk on the history of Mount Dinham and the activities of Cornerstone. He has requested a party not exceeding 20.

After lunch, there will be a talk and tour inside St Michael’s Church led by Richard Parker, the historic building archaeologist. Meet at 2.00 back outside the Church. It is a Victorian High Gothic church, financed by William Gibbs of Tyntesfield and Clyst St George, as the main Tractarian Anglo-Catholic church in Exeter. It is said to have the tallest spire west of Salisbury, and some fine furnishings and an interesting heating system. There are also peregrine falcons nesting in the spire. There is a camera on the St Michael’s web site showing the nest. Though rather an intrusion on the privacy of the birds, I think.

For lunch, I suggest we go to the City Gate pub on the Iron Bridge. It helps them if you warn them on 01392 495811. Or bring your sandwich to eat on the green. It is a lovely peaceful place with a view over the western edge of Exeter.

As numbers are limited to 20 and time is short, registration is required, taken in order of receipt. Details are below. The fee of £5 (£7 for non DA members) will be collected on the day and the church would welcome any additional donations you may care to make.

Please be aware that if you book and then don’t come, it will mean someone else will have missed out and the DA will be out of pocket on the event.

Bill Nichols

Image from Wikimedia Commons – click on it for details


Thu. 31 May 2018
11:00 am
£5 – £7
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Industrial Archaeology Section (Bill Nichols)
01392 860695