St Thomas Stories’ – A Pop-Up Exhibition – October 2019
With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we celebrated St Thomas through an exhibition of its history, its stories and its people.The exhibition took place in our home, Emmanuel Hall. There were cups of tea, archive photos, objects and stories to enjoy. As well as people contributing their own memories and memorabilia of St Thomas.
Through the stories told by members of the St Thomas community we have begun creating a digital archive as well as using the stories as inspiration for the performance event in May 2020, in which we will be collaborating with a number of Devon artists and transforming Emmanuel Hall.
The week exceeded all our expectations. We had over 1000 visits. We recorded 26 oral histories. More than 500 objects and photographs were contributed during the week meaning the exhibition could constantly evolve (with people coming back again and again to see what was new!).
The project started off as “The Exeter Project”, but once our writer, Daniel Jamieson, started looking at the history of St Thomas we realised we couldn’t move much further. With a propensity to flooding St Thomas has a fertile history. It was where a lot of the “less desired” industries were shoved to keep them away from the city centre. It was also where lots of the fun was had; the first Theatre in Exeter, the fair, the speedway… Its community welcomed the Black GIs during the war and housed most of the evacuated children. The place is bursting with stories.