Torquay Museum Society

Torquay Museum Society

Dr. Rosemary Harris MB, CHB, DCH

It is with great sadness that we report the death of (Dr) Rosemary Harris, who passed away peacefully at Torbay Hospital on 17th June 2017 aged 80 years. 
What to be said of Rosemary? Well, the first things that come to mind are kindness, generosity and generosity of spirit. Secondly, a no-nonsense attitude and at times very forthright – a forthrightness that was always for the perceived benefit of the Museum and/or her friends and colleagues. 
She was an ardent supporter of (and wonderful ambassador for) Torquay Museum and the Torquay Museum Society. A lady who was just as likely to be getting her hands dirty, planting up the window boxes at the front of the Museum, as she would be chairing a meeting, quizzing a speaker or expertly applying for large amounts of funding for Museum Projects during her time as President. She was responsible for encouraging many new members and was always welcoming.
Rosemary was President of Torquay Museum from 2007 to 2009, but remained totally committed to the Museum and its aims, whether a Trustee, President or prominent member. She was a GP in Torquay for many years, as was her partner George (another person of generous spirit) – they made a formidable partnership. She was a regular plant-swapper and plant collector.
A kinder and more thoughtful person than Rosemary you would be hard-pushed to find – likewise a tougher opponent when she was on one of her (many) crusades! Her strength and loyalty saw the Museum through some difficult times and safely out the other side. She was tough when necessary and yet kind and caring when it was needed.  
Rosemary will be sorely missed, not only by the Museum and the Museum Society, but also by her many friends. 

A Service to Celebrate Rosemary's life will be held at Furrough Cross United Reformed Church, Babbacombe Road, Torquay on Wednesday, 5th July at 12 noon. No flowers please by request but donations for Torquay Museum may be given by retiring collection or sent care of Vanessa Loram, Funeral Director at T. & I. Stockman, 230 Torquay Road, Preston, Paignton TQ3 2HN.

The photo below shows Rosemary (left), doing what always came naturally to her - helping.



We are a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the history, natural environment and cultural heritage of Devon. At the moment there are around two hundred and fifty Torquay Museum Society members. We organise the Annual Lecture Programme and provide voluntary support to the work of the Museum. New members are always welcome.

The programme is in two series: the Autumn Programme, which runs from October to December, and the Spring Programme, which runs from January to April. Lectures are on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and are open to Society members, and for a £5 fee, to members of the public. The lectures cover a huge array of topics and cater for a wide variety of interests.

The Spring lecture Programme is now available, please click January, February, March, April - or call in to the Museum to pick up a copy.


During the summer months, between the spring and autumn lecture series, we run weekly conversazione, informal meetings involving presentations by members, e.g.short talks, poetry readings, and discussions initiated by members, often around the display of interesting objects and artefacts.  This years series of conversazione starts on Tuesday 25th April at 10:30 am. 

We are the proud custodians of an historic book collection begun at the founding of the Torquay Natural History Society in 1844. This collection is a key resource for specialist researchers from far afield as well as for local people interested in exploring aspects of our common heritage.

There are many volunteering opportunities for Society members wishing to support the running of the Museum, from helping out with day-to-day practical tasks to assisting at the Museum’s regular educational activities for children and young people; these include outreach events at local schools and the ‘Young Archaeologists Club’. Volunteers are also responsible for the cataloguing and care of the Society’s book collection.

As a democratic organisation we encourage members to participate at all levels of the Society. The governing body of the Society, known as the Board of Trustees, consists of up to ten members, who meet bi-monthly to oversee the work of the Society. All members have an automatic right to be elected to the Board and are encouraged to put themselves forward for election to the Board or any of its sub-groups. Members are also encouraged to put themselves forward for roles within the five subject sections of the Society, i.e. Geology, Archaeology and Astronomy, Local History, Zoology and Ornithology, Botany, Literature and the Arts.

Torquay Museum Society was founded in 1844 as the Torquay Natural History Society (TNHS). In 2003 the TNHS was reconstituted as Torquay Museum Society (TMS). On April 1st, 2015, TMS reformed as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Charity Number 1161126). Ownership and responsibility for the Museum, the building and its collections, now lies with the Torbay Museums Trust (Charity Number 1025390)  
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