Brian Carpenter of Devon Archives and Local Studies writes about a collaborative research project.

Scope of the Project

‘Devon in the 1920s’ is a research collaboration hosted by Devon History Society in partnership with the South West Heritage Trust and Devon Family History Society. It aims to explore the distinctiveness of Devon in the 1920s through a collaboration of individual researchers and organisations, and to share the findings widely through a range of media out and about in Devon during 2024-25.

The Lives of Devon People

The work will be grounded in individual family histories, representing the lives of people in Devon during the 1920s. These are being contributed by members of Devon Family History Society and others, but will also include those otherwise recorded in earlier projects or memories. The availability of the 1921 census from early 2022 will provide further information about the background of those living in the county during the 1920s.

The Distinctiveness of Devon

The collection of family histories will be complemented by an exploration of the 1920s’ histories of different Devon communities undertaken by local heritage groups.

These projects, and more specialist Devon-wide research e.g. into smallholdings or secondary education, will feed into a series of overall themes, enabling the project to identify the distinctiveness of Devon. These themes are:
• The Legacy of the First World War
• Growing up
• Rural Life
• Progress and new technologies
• Holidays and Leisure

Project Launch

The project launches at the end of March 2020 and, following that, a number of initiatives in specialist research areas will begin during the course of the next eighteen months.

The project manager is Dr Julia Neville of the Devon History Society. She would welcome any information that individuals have about their Devon families in the 1920s, or contact from people who have researched or would be interested in researching the histories of Devon in the 1920s. Please contact Julia Neville at or via the Devon History Society website contact form.

The Westcountry Studies Library Collection

Click here to see books relating to the 1920s which are part of the Westcountry Studies Library collection at the Devon Heritage Centre.