Looking back from lockdown – Devon summers of the 1920s

Devon History Society has just awarded three prizes of £30.00 in its competition for pictures that evoke life in Devon in the 1920s – and summer shines through them all.

The recent explosion of pictures of the past on Facebook pages and local history websites shows that albums and attics have been raided during lockdown and new treasures brought to light.

Devon History Society asked local history groups to look into their own archives and come up with photos from 100 years ago that really encapsulated what life was like in Devon in the 1920s.

The panel of judges had a wide range of entries to consider – everything from a giant salmon taken from the Exe at Topsham to the road widening of Bideford Bridge.

The three they finally selected as overall winners were:


• The Sunday Schools’ seaside outing setting off from Newton St Cyres

• A fine day on the beach at Dawlish

• Harvest Home in Teignbridge


Click on each of the  images to view full size and for further information.


Julia Neville, Devon in the 1920s Project Manager, praised the way in which the winning images evoked the atmosphere of the 1920s.

She said: ‘The Harvest Home image shows us how much of the traditional way of life survived the First World War with relatively little change. The Sunday School outing and the beach at Dawlish remind us of the growing importance of leisure to people in the 1920s – locals as well as holidaymakers.

‘We’ll use these images throughout the project. But by sharing them now we hope to attract the attention of people who had family in Devon in the 1920s. We’d love to know who the family in the Harvest Home photograph was. We’d also like to hear from anyone else who remembers the stories their parents and grandparents told them about the 1920s’.

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The Devon in the 1920s project is a joint venture between Devon History Society, Devon Family History Society and the South West Heritage Trust. Due to launch in Spring 2020 its opening event has been postponed but on-line work on research material and the collection of family histories continues.