The Devonian Year Book, 1912

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol.  VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 79-80.



Prepared by Michael Steer

National pride in the industrial might of Britain and its growing Empire during the Victorian and Edwardian eras generated an increased public awareness of regional identity. Devon literature of that period became no longer just of interest to antiquarians or tourists. There was a growing market for it among Devonians, including those expatriates who formed Devonian associations in London and elsewhere. The London Devonian Association published a yearbook for many years, of which this is a typical example. This review, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 58. THE DEVONIAN YEAR BOOK, 1912. - We heartily congratulate Mr. R. Pearse Chope, the Editor, on the production of this volume, which maintains the high excellence of the two previous issues. In the report of the "Year's Work," the London Devonian Association records, with deep regret, the loss it has sustained by the death of Lord Northcote, its late President. In having secured Lord Halsbury, as his successor, the Association is to be congratulated. We also notice that the objects of the Association have been extended: - "(a) To encourage the spirit of local patriotism, 'that righteous and God-given feeling, which is the root of all true patriotism, valour, civilization ' - the spirit that animated the great Devonian heroes who defeated the Spanish Armada, and laid foundations of the British Empire and (b), to form a central organization in London to promote Devonian interests and to keep Devonians throughout the world in communication with their fellows at home and abroad."

Also, under a new regulation, all Devonians by birth, marriage or descent, resident in any part of the world (except London and district where ordinary membership subscriptions are payable) are now eligible to become associates.

Among the other contents of the volume are reports of the First Annual Dinner, and of the result of a fund raised under the auspices of the Association for the relief of the sufferers through the Brixham Fleet Disaster on the 16th December, 1910.

It will be remembered that this Association also opened a subscription list to assist Capt. Scott, R.N., in his quest for the South Pole. This fund now amounts to £222 12s. and further contributions are invited by the Committee, as funds are still urgently required for the needs of the British Antarctic Expedition. Colonel E. T. Clifford, V.D., contributes a paper on "The Federation of Devonian Associations" in which he advocates "(1) A Central Federation of Devonian Associations, (2) an Anniversary - Armada Day (say 31st July), on which all Devonian Associations might meet, and be invited to send messages or wreaths in honour of Drake and other heroes of that day; (3) the Devonian Year Book in which every Devonian Association should have a record of its officers and its meetings; (4) a Song "Drake's Drum" (a copy of which is given in the volume) to be sung on Armada Day celebrations; (5) the erection of a public Memorial Statue to Drake in the heart of the Empire for which he strove not in vain."

The literary portion of the volume is of high merit. There is an interesting account of the Gifford family, followed by a second instalment of the "Worthies of Devon"; the report of a very interesting lecture on "Eden Phillpotts, Poet and Novelist," to which is appended a useful bibliography of that author, by Mr. W. H. K. Wright of Plymouth; and another of a Lecture by Dr. E. A. S. Elliot, in that writer's facile style, on the "Coasts and Forests of Devon and their Birds." Mr. Chope's own contributions are: - "The Historical Basis of Kingsley's Westward Ho!" in which he analyses that famous novel, differentiating the portions that are pure romance and historical fact; and Part I of the "Mythical History of Devon - The legend of Brutus the Trojan." Mr. Tapley-Soper furnishes a further list of "Recent Devonian Literature." The volume is well illustrated, an excellent portrait of Lord Halsbury being given as the frontispiece.