Sequence of images from 19c Blacksmith to Eric Delderfield leading founder of the Museum.
L to R William Smerdon, Blacksmith; Sheppards Row cottages; the Council Yard c 1980; Adapting the end wall of the Stables to provide front door and walled forecourt; Eric Delderfield, one time Mayor of Exmouth and Chair of the Museum Society of Exmouth.

The fishing hamlet at the mouth of the River Exe has seen plenty of maritime activity over the years, but it wasn’t until the mid 18th century that Exmouth was fully on the map – as a scenic seaside resort.

In 1758, the town was popular enough with visitors to require a ‘Parade’ to the river.  A gravel bank was built down to Manchester Quay as the old river channel to Prattshythe ( Mona Island today) silted up.  William Hull’s ‘Mudbank’ was built in 1811. This further consolidated ‘the Marsh’ which stretched along the east side of Exeter Road, now the Colonies – a busy network of terraced streets. 

The 1838 Tythe Map shows cottages and gardens behind the Parade, which soon became a thriving area with blacksmiths, stables and workers dwellings.  In 1883 the new Local Board of Health built a cottage for their foreman next to the stables at their yard in Sheppards Row. It was here that they kept the dray horses used for refuse collection and road maintenance.  The town’s fire engine, also here, was drawn by coach horses from nearby livery stables.

In 1983 the horses had become a fading memory and the yard was full of old equipment. The Museum Society of Exmouth, led by Eric Delderfield, successfully raised funds to renovate and adapt the buildings opening The STABLES gallery in 1985, The HAYLOFT in 1986 and The COTTAGE in 1990.

We have bought our buildings!

Our landlords Exmouth Urban District Council, later Town Council, eventually transferred ownership of our buildings to South West Water (SWW), managers of the Pumping Station next door who had in due time became privatised along with all the nation’s water companies. In 2018 SWW put the buildings occupied by the Museum up for sale and offered us the opportunity to buy them. In March 2021 we finalised the purchase of the building!  We would sincerely like to thank our marvellous donors and all those who contributed over the last two years.  Every penny and pound in a collection box or spent on a raffle ticket has helped.

Our Trustees spent many long hours negotiating a good deal to buy the buildings and with the District and Town Council came up with a plan to pay for it.  A combination of generous donations and a loan proved to be the way forward.  However, this means that we need to fundraise more than ever to pay back the loan, maintain and improve our buildings and make them more accessible and relevant.

Future plans include rebuilding The LINK in order to increase space and accessibility for wheelchair users. The current structure was meant to be temporary… Converting storage space next to The COTTAGE into a study centre and at the same time making it weatherproof… providing online access to some of our inventory such as photographs and postcards … digital equipment to allow visitors to search our archives and see presentations… and more prosaic things like improving lighting and heating to reduce energy use. The buildings will be 150 years old soon and need a lot of maintenance.

How You Can Help


You can donate a one off sum, or you are welcome to set up a recurring monthly donation using the PayPal button below. You do not need your own PayPal account to do this.


We now accept card payments at the Museum and at Events including Coffee Mornings


Please make cheques payable to ‘Exmouth Museum’ and leave at Reception, post through the letter box or mail to Exmouth Museum & Heritage Centre, Sheppard’s Row, Exmouth, EX8 1PW.


You can send a donation directly to the Museum’s account if you have online banking:

The Museum Society of Exmouth A/c No: 12052140
Sort Code: 52-10-26


Donate securely by card through the Total Giving campaign page. We pay a fee for this.

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Gift Aid

You can boost your donation by 25p for every £1 by using Gift Aid. If you are a UK taxpayer please complete this form.

Alternatively, you can download a version of this form to send to us by post.

PLEASE NOTE when making a donation directly to the bank we will not have your details to acknowledge and thank you for your generosity. If you need us to do that please contact us and let us know.  If donating by cheque please put your address on the back or enclose a note so that we can acknowledge and thank you.