Gail Crane
Gail Crane
Pb, 16 pp, The Moorland Mousie Trust and the Exmoor Pony Centre, Dulverton, 2012. £1.99, available from ENPA Visitor Centre, Dulverton or the MMT.
ISBN 978-0-9570453-1-6

It was both appropriate and witty that this splendidly restored building was re-named ‘The Green Room’.  As Gail Crane points out in her excellent text, the once-derelict building - the only surviving one of its style on Exmoor - was also known as The Music Room or the Ashwick Theatre.  It has been renamed by the Trust in memory of Frank Green, the man credited with its construction in the 1930s. However, the name also neatly refers to its historical use as a theatre - the ‘Green Room’ being the area behind the scenes in which actors prepare to go on stage.

Frank Green (1861-1954) was a successful business man who became a significant collector and antiquarian. After donating his house in York and its contents to the National Trust, he moved to Exmoor.  He built the original Music Room at Ashwick as a place of resort and entertainment for his staff and estate workers in 1930. It was a single story, timber-clad building standing on stone pillars, roofed with grey tiles. It contained a 30 x 15 foot auditorium with a sprung wooden dance floor, an 8 foot deep stage at one end, with a proscenium arch, a small dressing room, green room, and crash bar. There were murals of York and trompe l’oeil paintings dated 1924 representing royalty and senior politicians attending a performance of Oscar Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1895. These have now been restored by the artist Nikki Moore.

The restoration has been expensive but widely supported and expertly carried out under the supervision of the local architect Ross Campbell. The Green Room will offer an additional destination for visitors to Exmoor and for school visits. It will provide a venue for heritage and pony-focused events throughout the year and serve local groups too. Bravo!

Mark Haworth-Booth
Exmoor Ponies
Pascoe & Freddy
The book is available from the Pony Centre shop or by post.
To find out more about the Exmoor Pony Centre and the Moorland Mousie Trust, visit their WEBSITEFACEBOOK page or BLOG
My thanks to Mark Haworth-Booth who was kind enough to write this generous review of the book.
Registered Charity No. 1116710
Exmoor Pony Centre manager, Linzi, with foals Shandy, Rio and Tango