As the Telling Our Stories project crosses its halfway point, volunteers in Ilfracombe are eagerly digging up a range of intriguing stories revealing layers of the town’s diverse history.

As well as seeking fresh evidence about the long-mused-upon fate of HMS London which sank in stormy weather off Rapparee Cove in 1796, their research is revealing stories of people of colour who have lived in the town, as well as records of numerous European families who have contributed to the community over the years, such as Luigi Cavello, who ran the steam laundry around 1901.

Of particular interest is the Samale family, of Indian origin, who settled in Ilfracombe around 1920. Do you or any of your relatives know anything about this family? Do you have any photographs or records to show where they lived or how long they lived in the town?

If you can help with this, or if you have a story to tell about Ilfracombe’s diverse history, we would love to hear from you. Just email Abi on or