CREDITON Area History and Museum Society’s summer exhibition “The Great Fire of Crediton in 1743” is open at Crediton Museum (at The Old Town Hall) until October 31, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 11am to 2pm.

The exhibition includes a variety of items and scenes relating to a detailed map of Crediton from the 18th century and portrays the way people lived.

There is also a section upstairs with a display of work by pupils from both Hayward’s Primary School and Landscore Primary School.

There are also some impressive model displays, pictures and mock newspaper reports about the fire, all by the children.

Students from Queen Elizabeth’s School wrote about a highway robbery which is featured in the exhibition.

Tony Gale, project lead at Crediton Museum, told the Courier: “Everybody loves maps and not only is this map very detailed: it’s unusual in other ways, too.

“The map shows all the buildings as they would have appeared from across the street – giving us an amazing opportunity to see what the town looked like at that time.  There are grand Georgian townhouses standing alongside rambling old cob-and-thatch buildings, market stalls straggling along the High Street and fine details like sundials and weathervanes on some of the houses.

“Several personal names appear on the map – giving us extra information about people living here at the time.  The map was completed a few months before the Great Fire of Crediton.

“So it’s a time capsule, portraying a town largely destroyed nearly 300 years ago.”

Tony continued: “What’s more, annotations about the fire were then added to the map and it is, arguably, among the best 18th century maps of Devon.

“The map is not the only source of first-hand information about the Great Fire.

“There were newspapers in 1743, and they carried dramatic reports of the fire and news about how the community worked to get back on its feet. 

“Another novel feature of the times was fire insurance – local policies give us lots of details about the properties which were insured and the occupations of people who lived and worked in them, along with occasional glimpses into the world of poor families living in the courts lying behind the main streets.

“The exhibition pulls together information from all these sources and more, presenting a picture of life in Crediton before, during and after the fire.

We have unearthed some fascinating and unexpected stories about people, places and events which will surprise many of you.”

The museum has also published a book “Crediton and the Great Fire of 1743” to accompany the exhibition, priced at £15 in paperback or £25 in hardback.

Copies are available at the museum or can be ordered from: [email protected] .