News reports from the early 20th century indicate a growingly diverse population in the town, including Phuman Singh, a silk merchant from India.

A news report from the Western Morning News describes a series of events surrounding a silk merchant named Phuman Singh who lived in Tiverton in 1933: further evidence that workers were coming to Tiverton from places such as India. 

The article reads as follows:

From the Western Morning News, Monday 9 October 1933:


Amazing Tale of Ill-luck

Fateful Sunday in October

Indian residing in Tiverton

An Indian silk merchant named Phuman Singh, residing in Tiverton, cannot deny misfortune. Every second Sunday in October for the past six years he has experienced ill-luck.

The extraordinary ‘run’ commenced in India in 1928, when one of his cows died. The next year on the fateful second Sunday of October his baby girl fell and seriously injured her arm.

In 1930 burglars entered his house and stole a sum equivalent to £50.

In 1931 he came to England, and on the second Sunday of October was attacked in London by an Indian native, receiving head injuries which confined him to bed for a considerable time.

Last year he collided with a motor car when riding a bicycle near Penzance. He was thrown to the ground, and afterwards discovered that he had missed a wallet containing a large sum of money.

Yesterday, again the second Sunday in October, he had a most miraculous escape from death.

Amazing escape

He intended motoring to Camelford in a small car, and left Tiverton about 7am. As he approached Burn Halt about five miles from Tiverton, the car skidded across the road, mounted a low hedge, and somersaulted twice before landing in a field 10 feet below.

The car was extensively damaged. The radiator and bonnet were smashed, the driving side door wrenched completely from the body, the right hand side of the car torn away from the chassis, and the back of the car dented.

Yet the occupant was uninjured, except lacerated hands for which he was treated at Tiverton hospital.

Phuman Singh, who has been at Tiverton for the past eleven months, told this unusual story to a ‘Western Morning News’ representative yesterday shortly after the accident occurred.