The Beaford Centre

DATE: 1965-1990

LEVEL: Series

Records of The Beaford Centre, later known as The Beaford Arts Centre. Records cover the conception and planning by Dartington Hall trustees for a rural community arts centre in North Devon and the purchase and conversion of Green Warren House in Beaford, North Devon as its base. Included are documents relating to: the appointment of the first Warden, John (Michael) Lane, and subsequent directors of The Beaford Centre; the setting up of residential courses in co-operation with the Local Education Authority; the Beaford Photographic Archive, including photographers Roger Deakins and James Ravilious; community projects; the Orchard Theatre; and the North Devon Arts Association.

Records include correspondence, law and finance papers, minutes and reports, press, programmes and publicity.

Correspondents include: Charles White (estate steward); Acland, Barron & Smith, architects; John (Michael) Lane (warden, later Dartington Hall Trustee); Leonard Manasseh & Partners, architects; Peter Sutcliffe, Michael Young; Maurice Ash, A O (Pom) Elmhirst, Christopher Zealley, John Pontin (Dartington Hall Trustees); A G H Gardner-Brown; Leonard Elmhirst; McKenna & Co (solicitors); The Arts Council of Great Britain; W Elmslie Philip (Chief Education Officer); John Piper (artist); Eric de Mare; Bernard Leach (potter); Colonel J N Oliver; Dorothy Elmhirst; John Moat; Jean Carr (journalist); Irving Wardle; Wilkinson & Cross Ltd (Doll manufacturers); British Broadcasting Corporation; Gerald Whitmarsh (Devon County Council); Jeremy Thorpe (MP); Harland Walshaw; Gareth Keene (Trust Company Secretary).

The Beaford Centre opened in August 1966. It was initiated by The Dartington Hall Trust to serve the rural area of North Devon in order to enrich community life through cultural involvement, and particularly public performance. In 1968 the Orchard Theatre was set up as an experimental mobile theatre company to serve North Devon, with a base at the Beaford Centre. In 1980 the Beaford Centre was established as an independent charitable company (The Beaford Arts Centre Ltd), which continued to receive support from the Dartington Hall Trust and local authorities. In 1989 The Dartington Hall Trust endowed a new charitable company, The Dartington North Devon Foundation, in order that it could continue to fund both The Beaford Arts Centre and Dartington North Devon Trust.

Dartington Hall trustees Maurice Ash and Leonard Elmhirst were the first chairmen of the Steering Group. John (Michael) Lane was the centre's first Warden (later Director), leaving to become trustee of the Dartington Hall Trust in 1974 but continuing to be the chair of the Steering Group, and subsequently the Council of Management until 1987, when Gareth Keene became chair. John Lane was succeeded as Director by Norman Turner (1974-1975), Harland Walshaw (1975-1980), Paul Hyland (1980-1981); Diana Johnson (1981-1989); Rick Bond, Acting Director (1989); Paul Hyland, as Interim Director (1989); Bob Butler (1990); Jennie Hayes (1998-2001); Chris Fogg (2002-2003). Lisa Warren Clarke became Director in 2004.

Information for Researchers

All papers belonging to The Dartington Hall Trust Archive (with the exclusion of Dartington Hall School pupils individual records) are held at the Devon Record Office. All enquiries relating to research should be made to Devon Records Office, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NL
+44 (0)1392 384253
+44 (0)1392 384256

The following requests should be made direct to the Archives & Records at The Dartington Hall Trust as shown below:
Copies of images as seen on The Dartington Hall Trust online catalogue with appropriate reference number (Ref No.)
Permission to publish or quote from any document held in the Dartington Hall Trust Archive
Former pupils of Dartington Hall School wishing to view their records
Archives & Records
The Dartington Hall Trust
Dartington Hall
Totnes TQ9 6EL
01803 847201

This information is copyright The Dartington Hall Trust