Ipple-Pen Diary. Memories


Like many of the Devon Villages and communities in South Devon, Ipplepen has had to adapt and change with the times.

At the monthly film show in the Village Hall the pre-start film regularly shows events from the past much to the pleasure of many and concern to others when it shows some in the audience what they looked like twenty or thirty years ago.

What is strange is that even to those present when the film/photographs were taken the images are already of a different time that is now somewhere in the dark and distance past.

Photographic images of yesteryear reveal and are so much more than grainy black and white images.

They reflect a past time that has been recorded by photographers who had time on their hands (and the money) to capture on film the images and moments that remain to this day.

It must have come as a shock to the wealthy landowners and aristocracy who delighted in showing off their portraits painted by some of the world’s most renowned artists to find that everyone was able to be accurately portrayed on celluloid.

To the Ipplepen newcomers (which means anyone who has lived here for less than 30 years) the photographs show a different time.

A time when there was a bakery, a second public house, a garage and even an undertakers.

The photographs show matronly women going about their business wearing ‘pinnies’ and if walking out wearing an obligatory hat with the men almost invariably in jacket and wearing a tie.

I wonder if those who are now the subject of photographic historical interest wondered at the time if the photographer also thought their work would raise such interest in the future.

The great thing for the photographer was that unlike the artist who focussed their attention on the wealthy and their acquaintances they were able to concentrate on everyday life in Ipplepen.

To me as a new comer to the village it is fascinating tinged with an element of sadness to look back on an Ipplepen and the people simply going about their everyday business.

I wonder if the bakery, the corner shop, the garage and the other small independent business owners smiling for the camera ever thought that in less than a century their businesses would no longer exist.

It used to be a standard joke that every Village had its very own village idiot who each year was entered into the village idiot of the year award.

Sadly once Donald Trump became the President of the United States of America it was decided here in Ipplepen that whatever the cerebral challenge faced by any of our residents they could never match Mr Trump and therefore it was decided not to enter again.

We have now that the “bar” has been set so low taken a more humane attitude towards anyone who in the past was considered cerebrally challenged.

And just as Ipplepen has adapted to change over the years so has the art of the photographic recording of events with the introduction of digital cameras that are affordable to all and even more the rise of the ubiquitous (some may say disastrous) mobile phone that appears to be used more for photography than communication.

What the future will bring is anyone’s guess but just for now looking back at the village of yesteryear is a joy.