This project has been developed by The Burton Art Gallery & Museum, with thanks to Torridge District Council and The Friends of The Burton

Friday, 22 February 2013


‘The Tale of Bideford Black’, a song written by local musician John Purser, has been kindly sent to us as a lively addition to our archive with a short explanation of how he came to write it. It is exactly this kind of original and diverse response to our local history that will make this project such a genuine and personal archive of our local community. Enjoy…

“Basically the song started with the account of anthracite mining in "The Book of Bideford" by Peter Christie and Alison Grant - my late mother-in-law, who lived in Bideford had a copy.  I was intrigued by the thought of mining paint and caught out one or two geography teachers where I taught in Hertfordshire.

On moving to Barnstaple I became an active member of Bideford folk club and many local singer-songwriters became friends.  This inspired me to start writing. "Bideford Black" was the first song I wrote (in 2003). I am not a prolific writer – my latest song "Bideford Witches" emerged last year after about three years in the writing.”

Many thanks John :-)

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