All aboard for 1871 – celebrating 150 years of Okehampton’s railway
As work to reopen the Dartmoor Line between Okehampton and Exeter continues, a programme of events and exhibitions will celebrate 150 years since the railway first arrived in Okehampton on 3rd October 1871.
IN THE LEAD-UP
- Exhibition of historical photos in the town’s Charter Hall
- Displays in Okehampton shop windows and street banners, flags and bunting
SAT 2ND OCTOBER
9.30am-1pm: The Charter Hall will host a Victorian tea party to which all are invited. Refreshments will be provided. Victorian dress is encouraged.
There will be a humorous play (at around 11am) harking back to the House of Commons debate making the case for, and against, a railway to Okehampton. This will be followed by a video of schoolchildren reading specially written poetry.
Thanks to The Moorlander, you will be able to pick up a free copy of a meticulously researched Victorian newspaper reporting on the arrival of the railway in 1871.
10am-4pm: The Museum of Dartmoor Life will be free to enter. Come and see a new exhibition developed with local people, community groups and businesses. Called 'When the Train Came to Town', it includes photographs from the last 150 years, collection pieces from the Museum, the Station Museum and private individuals, and also the voices of the last station master and the last steam engine driver.
2-3pm: Wren music will be performing music of the era inside the museum.
SUN 3RD OCTOBER
On this, the actual anniversary, there will be a broad recreation of the events of 1871.
1.45pm: The Okehampton Excelsior Band will kick off proceedings outside the Town Hall in Fore Street, followed by a proclamation ceremony and then a processional walk up to the station where there will be a ceremony and the presentation of a Golden token/key to the “Station Master”.
10am-4pm: The Museum of Dartmoor Life will be free to enter. Come and see the exhibition (see Saturday's programme).