Talks 2019

24 January 2019
Goodbye to Salmon Netting on our River
by Ed Williams-Hawkes
Local resident, yachtsman and hotelier Ed Williams-Hawkes has also been an Exe salmon fisherman for 30 years. Against a background of the Environment Agency’s recent ban on Exe salmon netting, Ed will talk about this ancient tradition.

21 February
Not Quite One of Us: Exeter’s Mobs and Their Targets
by Dr Todd Gray
Dr Gray is an honorary research fellow in the History Department of Exeter University. His main research interests have focused on Devon, particularly Exeter. He has published widely on the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and has pursued a wide range of topics which help to determine some of the ways in which Devon was both alike and dissimilar to other parts of the country. His national work has mainly focused on the late Medieval/early Modern carvings on church bench ends.

He has recently published a book – Not One of Us –  about Exeter’s most noteworthy non-conformists from the last 500 years, which provides the basis for his talk.

21 March
This Is My Life
by Cllr Olwen Foggin
Olwen Foggin is Devon born and once lived in Topsham’s Lockkeepers Cottage. She is currently Labour councillor for Heavitree Ward, Exeter. She was Lord Mayor of Exeter in 2015/16 and is the present Lord Mayor Consort. She is a member of the Annual Council, Audit and Governance Committee, and People Scrutiny Committee. She will talk about her life growing up in Devon, then move on to how she became a councillor and Lord Mayor, their duties and her interests.

Our talks secretary resigned eighteen months ago, and the Society has not been able to find anyone to take on the role. The Committee feels that it should concentrate its resources at present on responding to planning applications, etc.

Consequently there will be no evening talk in September and October.

If there is a member (or members) out there who would be willing to take on organising speakers for the talks we would be very pleased to hear from you – contact myself, José Northey or any committee member. Don’t feel that you have to be brimful of ideas to start with – we have a list of potential speakers and topics, and previous Talks Secretaries have also said that they will be happy to help out with ideas and processes.


Informative walking tours of the town are run by Topsham Society guides every Wednesday and Saturday from May to September. These free tours start from Holman Way Car Park at 2pm, with no booking necessary. You can download the Walks flyer here.
Call Gill Yates on 01392 875276 for group bookings.

Planning Group

The Society’s committee includes a Planning Group. This group of local residents and co-opted experts, including architects and environmental consultants, regularly scrutinises Exeter City Council planning applications for matters of concern to Topsham and responds accordingly.