As a young reporter I discovered the dramas playing underneath the calm
Dartmoor in the early 1970s may have seemed like a picture-postcard place, but all sorts of dramas played out underneath the calm. This I discovered when I was transplanted from suburban Wimbledon to deeply rural Tavistock, where I served as an indentured trainee reporter on the local newspaper.
My talk reveals why I was threatened with being impaled on top of the Maypole, how the churchwardens managed to keep their sheep rustling quiet, and why the asssistant postmaster refused to say whether he enjoyed his job. I also explain how these and other events turned me from a callow sociology graduate into a fully fledged reporter heading for Fleet Street.
In these days of 'fake news' and few local newspapers, there are some interesting lessons to draw .
The talk is illustrated with photographs taken by Jim Thorington, for many years photographer at the Tavistock TImes. My thanks to the Thorington Archive, Tavistock Museum.