New exhibition lifts the lid on Tiverton's multicultural history

Workers remove the glass case to allow us a closer view of some of the exhibits at Tiverton Museum. Credit: ITV West Country

A new exhibition that delves into Tiverton's multicultural heritage has opened at the Museum of Mid Devon Life.

'Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots' uncovers and celebrates the vital contributions that people of different heritages have made to local communities throughout history.

It focuses on Tiverton, Okehampton and Bideford - with stories right up to the present day.

Over the centuries, people have come to Tiverton from all over the world to work. Some of them have put down roots. Credit: Tiverton Museum

The exhibition marks the culmination of an 18-month project run by Devon Development Education and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lizzie Mee, Community Heritage co-ordinator for Tiverton, said: "They're emotional stories and they're stories of families and they're stories of refugees and heartbreak and coming together and safety and creating a home. There are lots of stories."

When we invite people from different diverse backgrounds they will bring those stories forward and they will challenge the narrative that Devon is all white.

Sandhya Dave, Devon Development Education
18th Century baptism records have revealed part of Tiverton's role in slavery. Credit: ITV West Country

Centuries-old stories sit alongside the experiences of people living in Tiverton today.

Kumari Northam runs a catering business in Tiverton, giving people a chance to try her Sri Lankan cuisine. Credit: Tiverton Museum

Kumari Northam was born in Sri Lanka and came to Tiverton after meeting her now husband in Hong Kong.

She wanted be a part of her local community and now runs a catering business sharing her Sri Lankan cuisine with the people in her new home town. She wanted to tell her life story so that people have a greater understanding of their community.

Kumari said, "These children they have a very comfortable life compared to my life. I say everybody needs to help each other. I hope the young generation can understand this is my experience".

The exhibition runs until the end of October. Find out more here.

Some of the artefacts and documents that have shed light on Tiverton's multicultural heritage. Credit: ITV West Country

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