Devon's Multicultural History


A new exhibition exploring and celebrating the multicultural heritage of Tiverton will open at the Museum of Mid Devon Life on Thursday 1st October 2020. The exhibition marks the culmination of an 18 month project run by Devon Development Education and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots focuses on the diverse communities of Tiverton, Okehampton and Bideford, aiming to raise awareness of the vital contributions that people of different heritages have made to the towns throughout history – including today.

In Tiverton, the project has involved over a year of work by a team of volunteers and Coordinator Lizzie Mee. The team used old newspapers, church records and photographs from Tiverton Museum archives to conduct research, unearthing little-known historical stories which connect Tiverton to important histories involving enslaved people, Bristol merchant communities and international travel.

The project has also been collecting and recording the voices of contemporary Tiverton residents, through conducting oral history interviews. Voices captured include Mac Ahmed, who runs the Nawab restaurant in Tiverton (pictured here with Lizzie Mee), Anthony Nderitu (Tiverton High School teacher) and Kumari Northam, the owner of Ceylon Curry House. 

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Listening to History

A talk exploring diversity in Tiverton’s history from its early medieval origins to later visitors and settlers.

Tuesday 20th October 7pm to 8:30pm on Zoom

The project team will share a collection of stories from different periods, using the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life archives to illustrate the wide range of people who have travelled to Tiverton from places such as the Americas, Indies, Slovenia, Italy, Vietnam, Kenya and Hon Kong.

Email for further details

Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots: Devon’s Multicultural History will focus on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME*) history of three very different Devon towns: Tiverton, a semi-industrial town near to Exeter; Okehampton, a rural market town and gateway to Dartmoor; and Bideford, a significant port in North Devon.

Through the project, we will support teams of local volunteers to explore and share the rich and diverse history of their communities. Through archival research and oral history, the project will uncover untold stories of BAME* residents past and present. This will include stories from European or other people from abroad who have moved and settled in the towns, and from Black British citizens and other British citizens who have a different culture, faith or ethnicity from the main population of the towns.

At the end of the project, we will share the stories we have discovered through public storytelling events in each town. A dedicated website will provide a permanent digital archive, making the rich and fascinating stories of our participants accessible to anyone, anywhere. We will also develop teaching and school resources, to share the project content with young people across Devon.


In July, we appointed the Project Coordinator, Nicole Redfern, based in the DDE office in Exeter. We also appointed a Community Heritage Co-ordinator in each of the 3 towns:  Lizzie Mee, who is based in the Tiverton Museum, Laurel Miller, based in the Ockment Community Centre in Okehampton, and Rose Young-French, with a desk at the CVS in Bideford.

Current opportunities:

Project Admin Volunteer

We are looking for an organised and dynamic person to help us with the admin and social media for the project. Please see the job description here.

Oral History and Research Volunteers

We are looking for oral history and research volunteers in Tiverton, Bideford and Okehampton. Please see the flyer here for more details.

The project will provide full training for volunteers in the required skills: research using archives and the internet, oral history interviewing and story-telling skills.

Other skills?

Do you have other skills you’d like to offer the project (eg. sound editing, video editing, transcription)?  Please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Please email Project Coordinator Nicole Redfern on if you have any questions regarding any of the roles above.

DDE will pay for travel and out of pocket expenses for volunteers.


This project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other funders. 

We are delighted to be working with community groups and museums in each town, including our heritage partners: Tiverton Museum, The Museum of Dartmoor Life in Okehampton, and the Burton Art Gallery and Museum in Bideford.

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For more information contact DDE or Nicole on

*We use BAME to mean members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, migrants from anywhere in the world, and British people with heritage from other countries, cultures or faiths.

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As part of the Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots (TOSFOR Devon) project, an exhibition exploring and celebrating the multicultural heritage of Tiverton opens at the Museum of Mid Devon Life on Thursday 1st October 2020.

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