Torbay Connected

Map Index

Torbay Connected is a cross cutting project that aims to promote and develop a system of natural legibility and place enhancement through promoting the role of creativity and culture within the main routes and lorem.

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Torbay Connected in action

This layer is dedicated to promoting current projects and initatives that we feel promote some of the values of good natural legibility and place enhancement we talk about in the Toolkit. The layer also contains our ambitions for key sites, that if integrated into projects as they are designed or enhnaced will support the principles of good natural legibility and so help make successful places. Please also see the Toolkit for further information.
 

Berthing Tales, Victoria Parade

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Torbay Council is transforming Victoria Parade overlooking Torquay harbour through a streetscape improvement programme including pedestrian prioritisation, road narrowing, upgrading of parking bays ...
 

Extended Cloister

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Extended Cloister was developed as a 'noisemaking' project as part of Torbay Connected to test and demonstrate some of the ideas of connectivity (or lack of it at Torre Abbey). OSA (Office of Subversi...
 

Four Walks

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The Torbay Connected Project worked on the legibility aspects of the Cockington regeneration project. A research project was followed by the installation of creative signage, specific intervention...
 

Legible Cockington

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As part of the renovation of Cockington court into a creative hub Legible Cockington seeks to reinforce the pedestrian route between the Court, Village and seafront. Artist Phil Smith undertooka re...
 

Royal Terrace Gardens

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The restoration of Royal Terrace gardens has at its heart the ambition to restore easy public access back to this magnificant cliff face gardens and promenade and to connect people to the vistas of T...
 

Three Pillars

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Stories from the past help to inspire the future Local residents and visitors to Torquay's seafront are being invited to delve into Torbay's history following the installation o...

Significant Buildings

This layer contains information about our key buildings and spaces that you will see whilst travelling through the bay. Information is contined here about those key buildings and spaces that contribute a better understanding of our walking environment.
 

All Saints' Church

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The current All Saints’ Church building in Lower Brixham is grade II listed and was constructed 1884-1906, and may incorporate parts of the original church of c1819-24. The south and north aisles, a...
 

Battery Gardens and Fishcombe Cove

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The Battery Gardens are an open space on the seashore at Brixham. The Gardens occupies a 14 acre site, and was first used as a battery in 1586 during the war with Spain. Although it was not permanen...
 

Beacon Terrace

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Beacon Terrace in Torquay is a grade II* listed terrace of seven houses built in 1833 to the designs of Jacob Harvey (also responsible for The Terrace). Pevsner and Cherry stated that ‘it is an in...
 

Berry Head Fort

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Berry Head is the site of an Iron Age hill fort which was mostly destroyed by the construction in 1794-1804 of fortifications to protect the Torbay naval anchorage against invasion by the French ...
 

Berry Head Lighthouse

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Berry Head lighthouse was built in 1906. It was automated and converted to run on acetylene in 1921, and was modernised in 1994 to run on mains electricity. The light has a range of 14 nautical mile...
 

Brunel Manor

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The Manor and its gardens were designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel as his retirement home. Unfortunately Brunel never saw the house or gardens finished due to his death in 1859. After...
 

Cary Estate Office

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This building was constructed around 1859 as the Devon and Cornwall Bank and became the Cary Estate Office in 1908. The Cary family, along with the Palk family, were responsible for the development ...
 

Chelston Manor

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Chelston Manor is a charming grade II listed house built c1867 and set in its own grounds, and now used as a hotel. The house is designed in an eclectic High Victorian style. Originally thatched, ...
 

Cockington Court

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Cockington Court is a grade II* listed building dating from the 16 th century (the south west wing dates from 1577) and has a long history of being extended and remodeled. The Cockington family...
 

Coffin House

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The Coffin House is a coffin-shaped building, probably constructed in the 19 th century, now a house and shop. A late 19th or very early 20th century photograph of the building is displayed in ...
 

Coverdale Tower

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From Saxon times until 1549 Paignton was an Episcopal manor, belonging to the Bishops of Exeter. The Coverdale Tower is Paignton’s ‘Manor House’, though never so described. The Palace has disapp...
 

Electric House

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Electric House is a grade II listed building in the Art Deco style built in 1935 as an Electricity showrooms and office, and now used as the Borough Council offices. The design drawings were signed ...
 

Greenway

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Greenway was the private holiday home of author Agatha Christie and her family. She bought the estate in 1938 and used it as her summer residence until her death in 1976. Greenway was given to the N...
 

Hotel Gleneagles

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Hotel Gleneagles overlooking Lyme Bay was the original inspiration for the now legendary 1975 BBC TV hit comedy Fawlty Towers, written by John Cleese and Connie Booth. The Monty Python team original...
 

Imperial Hotel

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The terrace of the Imperial Hotel in Torquay was the site for the finale of Agatha Christie’s 1932 book,’ Peril at End House’, her seventh to feature Hercule Poirot. The hotel was re-named the Maj...
 

Kents Cavern

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Kents Cavern is a spectacular natural cave on the coast of south Devon. The incredible geology and rich archaeological heritage of the cave has been astounding scientists and visitors alike for cent...
 

Kirkham House

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Kirkham House is thought to be late medieval (14th or 15th century). It was split into three cottages before being gifted to the nation by Mrs Ada Frances Jennings and restored in the 1960s. It h...
 

Lescaze Houses

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The Churston Development Company was started in 1933 by the Dartington Hall Trustees and Staverton Builders Ltd as an experimental housing development in Devon. It was to be the largest of Staverton'...
 

Lupton House

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Lupton House was originally built by Charles Mayne in 1772. In 1843 the house underwent extensive remodelling, its design changing to a neo-classic style. This work was carried out by George Wightwi...
 

Oldway Mansion

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Oldway Mansion is a large house and gardens in Paignton, Devon. It was built as a private residence in 1873 to the designs of G S Bridgeman for Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875), founder of the Singe...
 

Our Lady Star of the Sea RC Church

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Our Lady Star of the Sea was built in 1968 and is notable for being only one of the churches in existence with a car park on the roof. It also features stained glass windows by Moira Forsyth (who c...
 

Parkham Wood House

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Parkham Wood House is the first in a series of four private houses in the Torbay area designed by architect Mervyn Seal in 1960. While only a modest 3-bedroom house, it is located on a steep site and ...
 

Redcliffe Hotel

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The Redcliffe Hotel was built as a private residence in 1856 by Colonel Robert Smith who served with the Royal Bengal Engineers and styled his home with a distinct Indian theme. 'Redcliffe Towers' w...
 

Seaway Court

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Seaway Court is a prestigious coastal development in Torquay, originally built in the late 1970s. The apartments were constructed within the grounds of the Grand Hotel, with residents able to use t...
 

St John The Apostle Church

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St John’s Church was built 1861-73 to the designs of G E Street and is now grade I listed. The west tower was completed 1884-85 by A E Street to his father’s designs. The Lady Chapel was decorated i...
 

Stan Bolt house extension

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This bold extension to a 1930s Arts and Crafts style house with magnificent coastal views was designed by Brixham-based architect Stan Bolt and completed in 2009. The extension is characterised by a ...
 

Starcross Atmospheric Pumping Station

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed in 1843 as the engineer for the development of the South Devon railway between Exeter and Plymouth, and beyond. The line was to be single track, broad gau...
 

Sunpark

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Sunpark is a Grade II listed detached residence in the Art Deco style designed by architect Melville H Aubin in 1935. It was intended to be the first house of a Modernist estate, although no furth...
 

The Drum Inn

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The Drum Inn at Cockington was designed in 1936 by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to replace the old alehouse. Lutyens designed the pub as the focal point of the village and today his beauti...
 

The Grand Hotel

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The Victorian Grand Hotel in Torquay was purpose-built in 1881 as the Great Western Hotel with only 12 bedrooms (it now has 132) and a main entrance on the north. It was approached by a carriag...
 

Torbay Picture House

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Torbay Picture House is a currently disused cinema in Paignton. It was open in at least 1914, making it what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built cinema in Europe. In its early days it featu...
 

Torquay Pavilion

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Today used as a shopping centre, Torquay Pavilion was originally built in 1912 as a ‘Palace of Pleasure’ to attract visitors to the town and provide a venue to accommodate 2000 people for music, pla...
 

Torre Abbey

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Part-gallery, part-museum, and part-historic house, Torre Abbey was the subject of a £6-million restoration project completed in July 2008. Since its foundation in 1196, Torre Abbey has witnessed,...
 

Torre’s Mysterious Chapel

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St Michael’s Chapel is probably 13th or 14th century. Much later came the cross which was erected by order of the Marchioness of Bute early in the 19h century. Oddly, the floor is uneven bedrock. No ...
 

Town Hall

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Torquay Town Hall is a grade II listed building in two phases, the first phase being the Carnegie Public Library (1906-7), and the second the town hall with committee rooms (1910-11), both by the sa...
 

Wellswood Park

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Arranged around a 3-acre private park, Wellswood Park was built in 1853. It consists of three terraces of five Grade II* listed houses, built to the design of the Harvey Brothers and inspired by the...

Culture spots

This layer contains information, facts and stories about past and popular culture and events. We hope you you enjoy discovering some hidden or little know associations about the Bay.
 

A Lifelong Affinity - Brian Carter

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"It is the thread of poetical embroidery that makes the book so readable" (Western Evening Herald) Local writer Brian Carter is a regular columnist for the Herald Express, but he has also ...
 

Babbacombe Theatre

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The grounds on which the Babbacombe Theatre was built have always been a performance site - bands used to play there during the summer season for holidaymakers before a bandstand was built in 1920. ...
 

Banksy art

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The Grosvener Hotel became national news when it was reported that it had been tagged by infamous urban graffiti and stencil artist Banksy. The Bristol-based artist was rumoured to be in the area for...
 

BATS in the Brixham Theatre

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Brixham Arts and Theatre Society were formed in 2008, to promote local use of the Brixham Theatre and its associated multi-use facility, Scala Hall. The Society states that their aim is: 'to enco...
 

Bijou

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As a sort of cooperative company, Bijou Theatre performs to a 'members-only' audience. A yearly membership subscription is £30, and it admits the holder for free to the four annual productions which...
 

Bike Nights & the BMAD Festival

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Bikers take over the Paington seafront every Wednesday evening from June through September. The 'Bike Night' is a popular cultural event, bringing bike enthusiasts from near and far to mingle, compar...
 

Blue Walnut

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This small cafe is cosily situated in Chelston, near the Torquay train station. With a small rear garden and an equally petite cinema, the Blue Walnut is a unique arts venue. The cinema is ...
 

Brixham Library

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Built in 1993, the Brixham Library is host to a variety of community events, including Rhythm and Rhyme sessions for little ones, poetry events put on by 'Poetry for Pleasure', coffee mornings, and 'g...
 

Brixham Museum

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Currently located in the former Police Station and Sergeant's house on New Road, the Brixham Museum is a source-point for researching local history and family genealogy. Founded in 1958 at a site ...
 

Brixham Operatic and Dramatic Society

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BOADS, as it's commonly known, has been established since 1922, and began inauspiciously as a 'small group of friends' known as 'the Orange Bubbles'. Rapid expansion resulted in a period of Gilbert ...
 

Buccaneer's World Record

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The Brixham Buccaneers host the Pirate Festival every year in May. Last year's Festival saw a puppet show, a rat-throwing game, juggling and belly dancing workhops and a world record for the 'Bigges...
 

Buckingham Dance Studios

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Founded by Pollyanna Buckingham, these two studios (one in Torquay, one in Paignton) offer daily classes for everyone from two year olds to adults. Dance forms include ballet, modern, tap,, jazz, ...
 

Catching Light

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Halfway down the entrance to the nature trail at Occombe Farm, a sculpture by Suzanne Redstone catches the late morning sun. Entitled 'Lightcatcher - Tree', the piece is truly alive when the sun ...
 

Century of Playtime

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Nestled into Winner Street's eclectic mix of shops is a little-known treasure. Once known as the 'Doll and Toy Museum', this little spot is a shrine to the emblems of childhood. A heady mix of n...
 

Chill'd Out Youth Centre

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A charitable youth project that works together with Torbay Youth Service, Chill'd Out provides drop-in and booked sessions for young participants around drama, dance, arts, sport, leisure and health....
 

Churston Library

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Host to the Red Fox Club for 8-10 year olds and Music, Rhythm and Rhyme for toddlers and parents, the Churston Library in an important resource for the community. A petite space, it is nestled ac...
 

Community Garden

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Says Occombe Farm Grower, Emily Vevers: "What was once a four acre field lived in by Occombe's pigs is now home to an inspirational and busy community garden! And we have over 50 volunteers kindly g...
 

Curiosity Boxes

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In the summer of 2008, a group of young arts students from Torbay - Anne-Marie Alexander, Ryan Biercewicz, Mike Marchlewski and Estin Micklewright - made a series of short films about artists from th...
 

Dancers Gathering Place

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The extensive Torquay Leisure Hotels Resort, which is made up of five separate hotels is well known as a Torbay-area accommodation... but what may be less well known is that it is also a gathering pla...
 

Edgar Wallace

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' Gonsalez leaned back in his chair, his hands in his pockets. "Well, whether he committed that murder or not," he said after a while, "he is certain to commit a murder sooner or later. I rem...
 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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The face, which, duly as the sun, Rose up for me with life begun, To mark all bright hours of the day With hourly love, is dimmed away— And yet my days go on, go on. (Elizabeth Barrett Br...
 

Epicentre

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Part bookshop, part vegetarian cafe, part community arts venue, the Epicentre is the brainchild of Bryce and Hannah Dumont, and is located in the heart of Paignton. Defining the word 'epicentre' ...
 

Film Site: Blackball

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Made in 2003, this sports film was actually a re-make of an Australian film called Crackerjack , based on the real life of bowls player Griff Sanders (called Cliff Starkey in the film and played by P...
 

Film Site: Churchill, the Hollywood Years

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This spoof film used the Brixham Harbour and Oldway Mansion as double sites (pretending to be Plymouth Docks and Buckingham Palace, respectively.) Cockington was also used as a filming site, under ...
 

Film Site: The Last Summer

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George Bird : 'How do you keep smiling with a stiff upper lip?' This bittersweet 1950 film follows Sir Alec Guinness in one of his first starring roles, as a man who is given only a few weeks to ...
 

Ghosts of the Past

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David Harbott's work places yesterday's images of reality next to our daily experience of a place. In his installation on Market Street, in Torquay town centre, the work leaps out at passersby, crea...
 

Harold Pinter at the Pavilion

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Playwright Harold Pinter was working in reperatory as an actor at the Pavilion Theatre over the 1956-57 season. Under his stage name of David Baron, Pinter was acting in several shows, inclu...
 

Hidden Garden with Recycled Art

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Tucked away off Westover Close in Brixham is a hidden garden, filled with recycled art. The Adult and Community Learning centre are part of South Devon College, offering informal learning to all ...
 

Marldon Apple Pie Fayre

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Once thought lost, this village fete was revitilised in 1955 by locals, led by Fred Westaway, who uncovered the legend and reinvented it for the present day. The Fair is generally attributed to G...
 

Marldon Village Hall

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The social and cultural hub of the village of Marldon is this community centre, home to a thriving number of groups and societies. These include country dancing, art club, Music with Mummy classes...
 

My Brixham

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Over a 12-month period, Newton Abbot-based artist Kate Green asked the people of Brixham to take photos and make digital artwork about 'their' Brixham. These pieces, developed through workshops w...
 

Nicky Swann Acoustic

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Here, in the summer of 2009, at the Transition Festival, Nicky Swann headlined the Acoustic Stage. Devon-based Nicky Swann is an acoustic performer and songwriter with ties to folk, blues, and co...
 

Palace Theatre

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The Palace Theatre in Paignton is a thriving home for local artists and a space for Torbay-area companies to create theatre. As a regular venue for school shows, community theatre groups, it is a poc...
 

Potter turned Scriptwriter - Peter Draper

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Brixham-based writer Peter Draper (1925-2004) co-owne d a Brixham pottery for eight years before becoming a full-time writer in 1958. Television credits included scripts for drama series’ ...
 

Princess Theatre

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The Princess Theatre is a hub of cultural activity in Torbay. Now host to a range of events, from concerts to pantomimes, touring theatre shows and comedy acts, the Princess also has a rich history. ...
 

Professor Mark Poulton's Puppets

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Mark Poulton is a full-time puppeteer and puppet maker who specialises in Punch & Judy. ‘Poulton’s Puppets’ was formed in May 1989, and since then he has performed his show on a plethora of Bri...
 

Pulp Fiction - Rex Hardinge

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Rex Hardinge (1902-1990), was a freelance writer for boy’s comics Wizard , Adventure and Hotspur and for thirty years part of a team of authors including Leslie Charteris (creat...
 

Queen Anne's Hall Community Centre

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Hosting everything from a Ukelele workshop at the Babbacombe festival to CREATE workshops for children based on Dr. Seuss, this community hall is home to an array of organisations and groups. The...
 

Renaissance Man - Beverley Nichols

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A s the years go by, an old house gathers an aura of pride ... Even the chimneys, I fancy, have a jaunty tilt to them ... like the bonnets of old ladies who have had hard lives, but have conquered...
 

Riviera Stones and Path by Juliet Haysom

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Devon’s limestones, such as those from Ashburton, Petit Tor and Ipplepen, have been prized historically for their distinctive, marble-like qualities, but are now only quarried to be crushed for aggre...
 

Sean O'Casey

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The New York Times suggested he was writing of himself: “Here with whitened hair, desires failing, strength ebbing out of him, with the sun gone down, and with only the serenity and calm warning o...
 

Seaside Sonnet

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Torre Abbey Sands: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), the famed war poet was inspired to write the sonnet Seaside during a visit to Torre Abbey Sands. Swiftly out from the...
 

Seats of Learning

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Welsh artist Neil Fitzpatrick-Reeves installed three artworks for the exterior of the new Paignton Library in August 2010. Fitz-Patrick Reeves carves wooden sculpture in both traditional and cont...
 

Smile and a Wave

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Sometimes cultural icons emerge out of innocuous beginnings. For residents of Torbay, the daily sight of a bearded and headband-wearing man with a wooden staff sitting on a bench and waving at ev...
 

South Devon Players

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This small 15-member theatre company specialises in original works which honour the history and heritage of Torbay and the Southwest of England. Drawing inspiration from area myths, legen...
 

Spiral of Knowledge

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Kelvin Halloran's Spiral of Knowledge is made of aluminium sheets, painted with the same water-based paints which are usually devoted to auto painting. It proudly sits on the front of the new Paignt...
 

Storytelling Bench

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In the words of artist Olly Orbach: The commission was to create an interactive bench for the garden of the new library. I got together with interaction designer Nela Brown and we thought of how we ...
 

TAPA

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The Torbay Academy of Performing Arts is a collective of all Torbay Council funded music opportunities. They provide both in-school and extracurricular activities such as a summer concert series, s...
 

That Summer 1979

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The 1979 film 'That Summer', directed by Harley Cokeliss, was filmed in Torquay. The plot follows two Leeds factory worker girls, Angie and Carole (Julie Shipley & Emily Moore) who come to Tor...
 

The Acorn Centre

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The Acorn Centre is a community centre which provides services to the communities of Barton and Hele in Torquay. Established in 1963, the centre runs a range of activities for young people - from th...
 

The Big Noise Chorus

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Founded on the notion that everyone CAN sing, the Big Noise Chorus is a series of community choirs across Devon - with groups flourishing in Barnstaple, Plymouth, Exeter and Torquay. Created by C...
 

The Big Tree

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Sculptor Mic Chambers' work stands at the intersection of Fisher Street and Dartmouth Road, where there was once a 140 year old Monterey Cypress tree, standing 92 feet tall. It was one of...
 

The Box

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A travelling bus, stock full of film/media equipment and youth workers to help out, The Box provides young people access to Apple Mac computers (with internet), still and film cameras, Wii, Playstatio...
 

The Deep Sea - Francis Brett Young

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Francis Brett Young (1884-1954) was a poet, composer and novelist. He started practice as a physician in Brixham in 1907 and the town formed the backdrop for his first novel Deep Sea (19...
 

The Fall Light

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Artist Georgia Scott's two lighting installations evoke sensations of looking upwards through a lacy curtain of spring leaves. Her wire mesh pieces have an organic, natural feeling, despite being con...
 

The Great Create

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Now in its fifth year, the Great Create Festival of the Arts has brought together some of the Southwest's finest artists in a public celebration held at the Greenway estate. Founded by...
 

The Lighthouse

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The Lighthouse is home to the Devon Music Collective, a group which was developed in 2007 and now works with area professional musicians and young people within a music and arts centre on the Pa...
 

The Little Theatre

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Although TOADS Theatre Company has been in existence since 1944, they have only been in their present home - a redundant church on St. Marks Road, Meadfoot - since 1988. This rehousing moved the prol...
 

The Pavilion

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In 1896, a competition was organised for designs for public building suitable for 'full-scale concerts or large assemblies' and it was won by Edward Richards, who received 50 guineas. The Pavil...
 

The System (or the Girl Getters, if you're in America)

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This 1964 film, starring a smoldering Oliver Reed, was set and filmed in Torquay, as well as several other southwest England coastal towns. Heavily edited in its USA version, 'The System' told th...
 

The War Poet - Robert Graves

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The great sun sinks behind the town Through a red mist of Volnay wine…. But what’s the use of setting down That glorious blaze behind the town? You’ll only sk...
 

Torbay Acting Factory

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Well-stuated at the Palace Theatre in Paignton, Torbay Acting Factory was begun in 1996 as a space for young people to 'learn performing, singing and dancing skills'. Using a weekly workshop fram...
 

Torbay Festival of Poetry

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'One long poetry party' (Martin Blythe) Based in Brixham, the Poetry Festival is in its 10th year, and describes itself as 'a place where like-minded people can meet and make friends.' Since its ...
 

Torbay Film Club

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Torbay Film Club is a not-for-profit group run by volunteers who want to see the finest independent and world cinema, in Torbay. Films are shown on a monthly basis and are open to members and non-me...
 

Torbay Picture House

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Originally named 'The Picture House' when it opened in March 1914 and renamed to 'Torbay Cinema' in 1968. This beautiful art deco cinema has been closed since 26th September 1999, when the opening ...
 

Torbay School of Dance

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Now in its 40th year, the Torbay School of Dance is still run by one of its founders, Jillian Webber. Classes include modern, tap, jazz, ballet and musical theatre. Students begin at age 3 and e...
 

Torbay Ukulele Club

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Begun by Dave and Linda Johnson in 2009, this Brixham-based group has about 20 members ranging from teens to seniors. They rehearse at Brixham Rugby Club, where beginners and seasoned players strum ...
 

Torquay Library

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Torquay Library (current site), Lymington Road, Torquay In 1933 the decision was taken to build an entirely new library in Lymington Road and the Borough Surveyor, Mr. P.W. Ladmore M.I.C.E., M.T...
 

Torquay Museum

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In addition to their usual exhibits, which include a section devoted to Agatha Christie's life and works, an area on 400 million years of the English Riviera's geology and ecosystems, and the very k...
 

Torre Abbey: Applied Artwork

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The manor house was reopened in July 2009 after a £6.5 million refurbishment made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Friends of Torre Abbey. As part of this refurbishment...
 

Underpass Art

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In hidden corners of Torbay, there are glimmers of an underground art movement. Graffiti artists tag the underpass of the Dartmouth Road, across from the pristine loveliness of the Churston Golf Club...
 

Victoria Park Youth Activity Centre

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Victoria Park is home to a new youth centre. The transportable facility, completed in March 2010, was commissioned by Torbay Council after consultation with young people resulted in the conclusion th...
 

View Point – September 2011

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A young artist, born and bred in the Bay has returned to her hometowm from London to design and install a work-of-art on Torquay harbouside. Torbay Council and the Torbay ...
 

Which is the real landscape?

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David Harbott was one of six artists commissioned to contribute to the Occombe nature trail in 2007. Painting on metal and using other materials associated more often with agriculture than lan...
 

William Oxley's Paradise

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PARADISE To climb a rust-barred gate From a meadow of pure green, To enter an enchanting wood Alone and unseen, With low flaming bluebells Smouldering in shadows Of tall crusty trees – Thei...
 

Willow-Woven Livestock

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Inspired by Occombe Farm's herd of Ruby Red cows, sculptor Serena de la Hey and students from South Devon College created this willow sculpture which now graces the lawn in front of the Occombe Bakeho...

Heritage and Local History

Torbay’s heritage is amongst the most diverse, fascinating and colourful within the United Kingdom. We have to thank the combination of our geology and geography for providing a strategically positioned coastal site within South Devon. A complex geology has helped to create a bay of immense beauty, geography has decreed the sitting of three distinct communities, ironically all linked to the sea but in strikingly differing ways. Each community has its own individual history and heritage but the bay also binds them into one story of 6,000 years and more, an extraordinary story of continuity. The bay’s heritage is identified through it geology, its geography, its landscape and its buildings. In addition its heritage is identified through its people, ordinary folk as well as those of distinction, and the part they have played in the story of our country. Torbay’s geography has time and time again put its communities on the European and World stage. On the one hand, combating Viking raiders, a Spanish Armada, a Napoleonic invasion to looking outwards to the four corners of the World in exploration and trade. The communities of Torbay have been an integral part of the story of the World and we have the heritage to prove it.
 

Watcombe Common 1853

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Watcombe Common, often referred to as ‘The Valley of the Rocks’ is today an undulating, tree covered area of land that runs down beneath ‘Giant Rock’ to the sea. Traversing it is the South West Coast...
 

Coverdale Tower

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Named after Bishop Coverdale of Exeter 1531-3, the origins of the tower and associated curtain wall, constructed of local Permian red sandstone breccia, go back to Saxon times. From this early per...
 

Brixham Breakwater

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Buy mid 19 th century Brixham had become the most successful fishing port in the United Kingdom, thanks to the development of ‘trawling’, initiated at Brixham. The Brixham sailing trawler (or smack...
 

Broadsands Neolithic Chamber Tomb

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The ancient site of Torbay’s oldest remaining ruined structure has remained unknown to the majority of, even the local population. Constructed around 5,000 years ago as a Neolithic chamber tomb, it w...
 

Chelston Cross

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Chelston Cross was built in 1867 by William Froude. William was a close friend of the Mallocks of Cockington. This mansion was the first, very dominant dwelling, to be erected on this totally undevel...
 

Cockington Court

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A dwelling has stood on this site since Saxon times, initially for the Lord of the Manor and then by Victoria’s reign, for the squire and his family. The original structure would have been a modest ...
 

Cockington Village

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The village has been in existence for over 1000 years, since Saxon times. Its very name, ending in TON, indicates it started life as a Saxon farming community. The nucleus of the village develope...
 

Livermead House (Hotel)

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The original house was built for the Mallock family, being on the Cockington estate, circa 1820. In those days, prior to the turnpike road being constructed, it was even more open to the excesses of ...
 

Paignton Promenade & Green

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It is extraordinary to realize that only 200 years ago Paignton’s sea front area consisted of a 2 mile stretch of beach and sandunes, behind which lay large areas of salt-water marsh. The onl...
 

Torquay Pottery, Hele

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Red clay of a very fine quality was first discovered in the grounds of Watcombe House in 1869 by its owner,Dr Allen. He, realizing what he had found, started the Torquay terracotta industry. The Wat...
 

. Mallock Memorial Clock Tower

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The Mallock Memorial Clock Tower was dedicated in 1903 to celebrate the life and popularity of Richard Mallock, Squire of Cockington and late Member of Parliament for Torquay from 1886 until his d...
 

.The Pavilion

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The Pavilion was opened in August 1912, built on a concrete raft on land reclaimed from the sea. It was built mainly to attract more visitors to Edwardian Torquay, a place to listen to music, see pla...
 

16. The Church of St. John the Baptist (The Parish Church)

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Positioned in the centre of Torbay’s crescent, Paignton’s Parish Church provides one of Torbay’s most ancient, most gracious and most utilised buildings of continuity. The origins of ...
 

21. Paignton Harbour

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A harbour has existed at its present site under Roundham since mediaeval times. In those days access around the edge of the salt-water marsh from the town was along Fishers Str...
 

Belgrave Road

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Belgrave Road is a Victorian replacement of the original ‘Sandy Lane’ that made its way from the village of Torre, down to the sea shore. That lane, or simple track, was an immensely important piece ...
 

Brixham Town Hall

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Built on a site adjacent to Bolton Cross it is difficult to imagine that up until Tudor times, the tide flowed this far up the valley. In fact a small ferry plied its trade across the tidal creek at ...
 

Buffalo Bill on the Newton Road

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William F Cody (1846- 1917), better known as Buffalo Bill, pioneered the Wild West Show as a form of popular entertainment on an international scale, laid the foundations for the birth of rodeo, and ...
 

Castel a Mare: Torquay’s Amityville

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In 1920, the writer Beverley Nichols, his brother and a friend, Lord Saint Audries, visited Castel a Mare in Middle Warberry Rd. The house was said to be haunted by footsteps and terrifying shrieking...
 

Churston Church

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The origins of this church of St Mary the Virgin go back 900 years. Originally it was simply a small private chapel of the Lord of the Manor of Churston, or his tenant, residing in his Manor House nex...
 

Coral Island

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Familiar to Victorian visitors was the Marine Spa, a monument of grand architecture built in 1857. Visitors flocked to hear readings by authors such as Charles Dickens or for exotic treatments called ...
 

Edward Vivian & Chartist Land Reform

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Edward Vivian (1808-1893) was the joint proprietor of the Torquay Bank, a hotelier, magistrate, writer and public speaker, member of the Local Board and editor of the Torquay Directory. Together with...
 

Elbury Bathing House

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12 Elbury Bathing House Quite possibily this building originated as a smoke house for processing the miriad of pilchard that were once caught in Torbay. By 1839 though, the...
 

Galmpton Warborough

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The name’Warborough’ originates from the Saxon word ‘burgh’, a defensive position. This area of land sits strategically on a plateau overlooking, and equidistant from, the sea and the Dart estuary...
 

Hookhills Railway Viaduct

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This beautiful viaduct is one of a pair constructed during the building of the Dartmouth & Torbay Railway. Both continue to provide a Victorian engineering backdrop to Broadsands Beach. Work on t...
 

Princess Pier

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The Princess Pier was constructed in conjunction with the Princess Gardens and was the final link in enclosing the new outer harbour. Completed in 1895 at a length of 500 metres, as well as being a...
 

The Yacht Hotel

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At one time the Yacht Hotel was one of the most famous pubs in the country. To remember the Yacht’s glory days, this is from the Herald of July 3 1976: The juke box at the Yach...
 

Tithe Barn, Torre Abbey (The Spanish Barn)

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Probably the first building to be erected at Torre Abbey in the 1190’s, the tithe barn held the tithes, in kind, payable by the tenants of lands held by the canons of the Abbey, grain, wool, salted f...
 

Torquay at War 2

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According to a log kept at St Marychurch Fire Station, between 1939-45 Torquay suffered 21 German raids. The largest attack involved 23 enemy aircraft of which 11 were destroyed. ??161 bombs of vario...
 

Torquay Harbour

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Developed originally to serve the village of Torre, the quay began to play its part in mediaeval times. There was a natural inlet that provided shelter. To the East was situated the high land of ...
 

Torquay Station

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Torquay railway station was opened to traffic on 11 th July 1859. For two weeks it was the end of the line before the extension to Paignton was completed. Right from the start there was controversy ...
 

Torquay's Prostitutes

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Torquay has always had its prostitutes. In the 19th century the town was described as the wealthiest in England for its size, and the affluent needed a large servile class. By 1901 18.5 per cent of t...
 

Torquay's Victorian Vegans

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During the 19th century, England was home to a committed and active vegetarian movement, the most prominent advocate being the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who visited Torquay in 1815. Vegetarian restaur...
 

Torre Abbey

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Torre Abbey began in 1196 as a Christian monastery for the Premonstratensian canons. They were known as ‘canons’, not monks, as they were all ordained priests who followed a monastic way of life but ...
 

Turnpike Gate, Torbay Road.

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The first coast road from Torquay to Paignton was constructed as a Turnpike road, completed in 1842. Tolls collected at the various turnpike gates along the length of the road paid for its constr...
 

Victorian Youth Justice

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In 1941 Torquay’s court records were pulped as part of the war effort. Before they were destroyed, some of the reports were copied. Here are a few from around 1850 relating to Torquay’s young offende...
 

When an incident on Torre Abbey Meadows changed the technology of war

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On a day of festivities in 1910 a wood and canvas Farman III biplane took off from an area of level ground adjacent to Torre Abbey and rose over the yellowy red strip of Torre Abbey Sands. The tid...
 

William of Orange Statue

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William, Prince of Orange, landed at Brixham on 5 th November 1688 at the head of an army of some 24,000 men of varied nationality, and so began ‘the glorious revolution!’ Legend has it that...

GeoQuest narratives

Welcome to the Geo-Quest layer of the Torbay Connected website. On this layer you can re-trace the journey of the Geotrio (Tony ‘Uncle Tacko!’ Lidington, Aeolian Hugh Nankivell and Phil ‘The Crab Man’ Smith) as they travel in a circuit around Torbay for the English Riviera Geopark’s GeoQuest 2010. You can do all your travelling online or you can use this layer as a map and re-trace the journey on foot. Or use the icons on the main map to bring up stories and factoids garnered by the Geotrio or read reflections on the area’s geology from people met by the Geotrio along their route. The English Riviera Geopark is no ordinary park. When he first heard of the Geo-Park, the Geotrio’s ‘Crab Man’ got quite the wrong end of the stick: “When I heard the name I rather imagined something like the park in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ with fences and large entrance gates. But the Geopark is far more interesting than that – because in a way it is everywhere. Not just in the spectacular cliffs of folded limestone at Berry Head or Hope’s Nose, or in the layers of fruit-cake breccias around Goodrington and Paignton, but in sandcastles, in the walls of buildings, in front gardens and in the pink mud on the coats of sheep.” The journey of the GeoQuest was one of real discoveries for all who came along; of obscure patterns hiding in plain sight, of unexpected symbols and rarely visited nooks. But perhaps the biggest discovery of all, was about ‘geology’ itself – far from being only about the chemistry or the physics of the rocks, the Geotrio came to feel that it was also about the way we use the landscape around us, and the way our lives are affected by it and the rocks and soils that make it up: determining what we grow and what we eat, where we walk, what we drive, where we play, where we hide. It is in the minerals we wear, in the dirt under our fingernails, in the colours we ignore and in the reflections that distract us. This geology can be ‘new’ and alien – like the sculptures of acid-bathed limestone and computer-cut Carrera marble at the foot of the new Royal Terrace Gardens - or it can evoke aeons of time – like the dumpling shapes on Triangle Point at Meadfoot, fossilised corals that lived 400 million years ago; there we can place our hand on the ancient past million years! The Geotrio welcomes you to their layer and hopes that you will use the routes and stories here to make your own discoveries – we believe that, like us, once you begin to look you will begin to find. To watch a short film of the 2010 GeoQuest find and open the pin in the middle of the Bay.
 

‘Abide With Me’

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The Reverend Lyte lived just below Berry Head, at what is now the Berry Head Hotel, and here he was inspired to write the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ in 1847, as he was dying of tuberculosis. He finished it ...
 

A bread riot

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Under Fleet Walk in Torbay run the waters of the Fleet river, occasionally erupting in floods, such as those of 2007 when shops were flooded out and the road briefly became a river again. There wa...
 

A spaghetti junction of geological trajectories

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Saltern Cove is a spaghetti junction of geological trajectories, anomalies, missing eras, and faults. On the beach, among the diversity of rocks, reflected in the multiple life forms in the rockpools,...
 

I am in the belly of the earth

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We sleep where people slept for hundreds of thousands of years. Only recently would it have been regarded as unusual to sleep here. It is cool and dry – when the lights are off, I wander to the heart...
 

Thousands of houses and hotels....

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The great currents of tourism that succeeded the arrival of naval families around Torbay in the early nineteenth century, and threw up thousands of houses and hotels, almost obliterating what had been...
 

‘A Human Document’

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At Torre Abbey there is a poignant echo of ‘A Human Document’ by Tom Phillips (a ‘book’ created by cutting up and illustrating a novel written W. H. Mallock, who was born at Cockington Court), but thi...
 

‘Palæologia Chronica’

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“…all (the manor houses of his acquaintance) looked out, as though it were the unquestioned order of things, on wooded seclusions pricked by manorial chimneys or on lodges and gray park walls, while s...
 

‘standing stones’

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The three small ‘standing stones’ at the bottom of the Front Lawn mark a now hidden spring. But are they the diminutive remnants of what was once a much larger landscape feature?
 

‘Tree of life’

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At Torre Abbey is a coffin stone engraved with a ‘tree of life’ insignia (within the stone fossils of sea creatures are clearly visible); this design includes an ingenious interweaving of four circles...
 

A fantastical, exotic and illicit shrine to romance.

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There is a grotto of limestone in the gardens of Oldway Mansion – a fantastical, exotic and illicit shrine to romance. A landscape echo of the sauciness and naughtiness of the ‘seasidiness’ of Torbay....
 

A Human Document

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At Torre Abbey there is a poignant echo of ‘A Human Document’ by Tom Phillips (a ‘book’ created by cutting up and illustrating a novel written W. H. Mallock, who was born at Cockington Court), but thi...
 

A journey, a circuit - A Geotune

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On their Geoquest, the Geotrio walked from the Valley of Rocks to Brixham and then completed the circuit with a boat trip across the bay, back to Torquay. They sang this song to everyone they met alon...
 

A place of performances and concerts.....

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The Valley of the Rocks at Watcombe was once a place of performances and concerts and public events in the nineteenth century. Today it is overgrown, ‘privatised’ by nature. On their GeoQuest, the Geo...
 

A sea serpent

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By Shoalstone pool, there is a dyke of red stone just by the high water line – it looks like a sea serpent. Is it Nidhogg or Morgawr or a Plesiosaur? A Leviathan or g**** or a Kraken? Shoalstone ...
 

A Vampire

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My father used Berry Head as a navigational tool while flying a Vampire.” Phil ‘Crab Man’ Smith(Photo courtesy of the ERTC)
 

Aeolian Sandstone

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Much of the sandstone around Paignton is known as Aeolian Sandstone. That is to say it was originally sand dunes that had been shifted and moved by the wind, before being compressed into stone. “Aeoli...
 

An experiment about time

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At Berry Head are the remains of a Cold War nuclear observation bunker, once manned by the Royal Observer Corps. It was stood down in 1991, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2004 an artist named...
 

Basic Rock Song

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Chorus There are three different kinds of rock Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic If you use three chords, you can’t go wrong This is a basic rock song 1 Igneous rock comes from under th...
 

Best sand for making sandcastles in the country!

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Torre Sands in Torquay, the beach immediately in front of Torre Abbey, has a reputation for having the best sand for making sandcastles in the country. However, there is one serious disadvantage: at h...
 

Concrete embarkation ramps

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Beacon Quay has the concrete embarkation ramps from D-Day still in place. (Beacon Quay, Torquay)
 

Continental drift

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For those with a basic grasp of the idea of ‘continental drift’, there is a temptation to imagine that Pangea was the united starting point of the drift, and after that it is all fragmentation. In fac...
 

Crisis of the biblical deluge

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Before the modern era of geology (pioneered at Kents Cavern and in the caves at Brixham) the orthodox view of the world was that of catastrophism characterised by the crisis of the biblical Deluge. Ar...
 

Dare you look though dead men’s eyes?

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Dare you look though dead men’s eyes? Can you see the shy forests? What is the W.O.R.M. of Torbay? The answers to these secrets can be found on the information plaques researched and written by The C...
 

Ear-to-Ear............

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Occombe Farm the audience and Geotrio devised a ritual for participants at each gateway – they touch ear-to-ear. It is an amusing and gentle marking of the shift from one landscape to another... At...
 

Erratic and distant priorities

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At the bottom of Fleet Walk – and perhaps on any High Street in the country – a story can be read in the material construction of the shops and banks. The older ones are often made in local stone,...
 

Figures on the frieze

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On the side of the old School of Arts and Science, an aeolian erosion of the once proud murals there has created certain ironies: the section for Painting is mostly a blank abstract, the figure repre...
 

Five Go Mad In The Geopark

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Where the rock formations are wild and recently fallen. I walk the dog there most days (eat your heart out those who have to make do with a walk in the park). She trots in and out of the waves and exp...
 

Fossilised shark’s tooth

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A fossilised shark’s tooth was found in the limestone at Kents Cavern. It comes from a shark that lived during the Devonian period, when the stone that now makes up the cliffs at Berry Head and Hope’s...
 

Friday night drizzle

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At some time in the distant future the same forces that once made the pattern of two limestone arms and a soft sandstone concavity will tear up that map. It was Friday night drizzle On the drin...
 

GeoQuest - The Movie

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A lovely short film made during the GeoQuest 2010.
 

Guns on Berry Head

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The guns on Berry Head point backwards, inland – in case the enemy lands behind the point and attacks across country. Photo courtesy TCCT
 

Happy Birthday

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The Geotrio and their walking audience encounter an eighteenth birthday party at Torquay Harbour. It is an opportunity to play with the teenagers, sing “Happy Birthday” and clash cultures and generati...
 

High-and-dry mackerel

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“On my first day living in Torquay I went running, to the front and then along the prom. Written in soft (but now long hardened) concrete on the prom just in front of the Grand Hotel were the words 'I...
 

I found a beating heart

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I I found I found a I found a beat I found a beating I found a beating heart I I found I found a I found a breath I found a breathing I found a ...
 

If you put your ear to some of the manhole covers

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If you put your ear to some of the manhole covers (take care of buses, pedestrians and cyclists!!) in Fleet Walk you can hear the river flowing beneath. Listening to the culverted river is a little li...
 

Inn on the Quay - A Napoleonic war naval hospital

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Anyone who strolls around the coastal paths of Torbay will soon become aware that this has long been a military landscape. Limestone and sandstone cliffs alike have been used as lookout posts and art...
 

John Barleycorn

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On a bench, Uncle Tacko sings “John Barleycorn” and enacts the story of brewing and rebirth. This is one of England’s most ancient songs.
 

John Lee was accused of murdering his employee

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In the 1884 a man named John Lee was accused of murdering his employee, a wealthy lady, who lived on the coast at Babbacombe, Torquay. The following year he was convicted of the offence and was sent t...
 

Kittiwakes

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Berry Head’s cliffs are the most southerly nesting places for Kittiwakes. Kittiwakes, the ‘gulls/penguins’ who lay elliptical eggs on ridiculous ledges (elliptical so if they roll, they do not roll ov...
 

'Lemuria’

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The Geotrio walked past a building site where a large house, possibly two houses on one site, was or were being built. On the builders’ billboard there were two house names, one of which suggested tha...
 

Limestone Bones - A Song

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LimestoneBones - a song 350million years ago as sea creatures died Their shells fell to the bottom of the seaThey piled up on top of each other Piled up on top of each other Crushed upon crushed Squa...
 

Magnetic Anomalies

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There are “magnetic anomalies” in the Torbay area – but then there are magnetic anomalies all around the Earth. There is no strict ‘North’ and ‘South’ in geo-magnetism, but rather there are domains wi...
 

Neanderthal bones

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The Neanderthals, evidence of whose presence has been found at Kents Cavern, were assumed to have long (30,000 years long, in fact!) disappeared from the face of the earth. Instead, recent analysis...
 

Oldway Mansion

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There is a riddle of messages in the architecture and landscaping, in the marble and limestone of Oldway Mansion. This is epitomised by the Sphinxes. Before allowing their audience to leave the Mansio...
 

Playing 2 stones

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Playing 2 stones: pick up two pebbles from Brixham Breakwater beach - two fattish, flattish stones. Hold one flat in the palm of your hand and use the other to tap against the first. As you tap (a st...
 

Playing such fantastic tricks before high heaven, As make the angels weep

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Stand on Corbyn’s Head and look across to the cliffs of limestone at Hope’s Nose or Berry Head, and contemplate the oceans in which those cliffs were formed from the silt of billions upon billions of ...
 

Plethora of wildflowers

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Entering the watermeadows along the footpath parallel with Cockington Lane, you may soon become aware of two things – immersion in the green valley (with occasional reminders, in glimpses of houses at...
 

Sex and sauciness are a rich and vital seam

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Flo, at the old people’s home, grabs my backside as I sing ‘The Basic Rock Song’ and cries “Nice bum!” We all laugh. Sex and sauciness are a rich and vital seam.” (Tony ‘Uncle Tacko’ Lidington) ...
 

Sheela Na Gig .....

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The human form is rarely sculpted in stone nowadays. But there are still plenty of nineteenth examples about: Pan in Oldway Mansion, children’s heads above doors, angels on churches, the occasional ne...
 

South-East corner of the Bishop’s Palace

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In the South-East corner of the Bishop’s Palace, an old red sandstone square building, there is a hole in the wall. About the size of a regular house brick and about 5 feet and 6 inches above the grou...
 

The Arcadian Shepherds

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In the grounds of Occombe Farm there are a number of paintings placed alongside the footpaths. They each reference a different landscape artist, such as Samuel Palmer and John Constable. But one of th...
 

The beach was our life...

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“Even the sea is different to how it used to be When we were younger We haven’t been down the seaside since we’ve been here Not like when we were younger The beach was our life then We had a lot of l...
 

The Bishop’s Walk

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The Bishop’s Walk is a footpath that runs from Anstey’s Cove to the edge of Torquay. Careful observation of the constituency of the path beneath the walker’s feet reveals a changing geology of limesto...
 

The Crystal Cave

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The Crystal Cave is a wonder – all the more exciting for having to clamber over rocks to get to it. Great seams of calcite run through the sandstone cliffs and into the cave, crystal shards litter the...
 

The Devon Pedestrians

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The group of enigmatic statue-figures behind the Torquay Tourist Information Centre are partially covered in green and yellow mould. The figures may seem somewhat familiar – they are one of four ...
 

The dorsal fin .....

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“I saw a piece of broken slate in the gutter of a church. It looked like the dorsal fin of a tiny shark swimming along the gutter.” Phil ‘Crab Man’ Smith A woman, after discussing with the Ge...
 

The eccentric genius ....

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Oliver Heaviside, the eccentric genius of electromagnetism, exchanged his conventional furniture for blocks of granite.
 

The Geotrio sang ‘The Basic Rock Song’

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The Geotrio sang ‘The Basic Rock Song’ for the Creative Torbay website - with Aeolian Hugh eagerly playing the guitar, Crab Man earnestly doing the actions and words, whilst Uncle Tacko! performed out...
 

The Premonstratensian Rite

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The Premonstratensian Rite of the canons proper at Torre Abbey, celebrated at Cockington Church, was partly characterized by the emphasis it placed on the Paschal Mystery (the suffering or passion, de...
 

The statue of Pan...

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The statue of Pan in the gardens of Oldway Mansion shows the great god that died, not only as an old goat, but also as a nascent poet. Pan is the origin of Pan-ic but not of all things. For his name d...
 

The Sticklepath Fault

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The Sticklepath Fault is a fault in limestone and runs along the Royal Terrace Gardens in Torquay, behind the former Palm Court Hotel and up through Dartmoor, beneath the village of Sticklepath, up to...
 

The underwater lawns

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Seagrasses are not seaweed. They are plants that just happen to grow under seawater. They get their name because their leaves are long and narrow, they are very often green and they grow in large unde...
 

There is a house...

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Somewhere near Elberry Lane and Green Lane . Among the shadows of trees that fall across its long front lawn is a grouping of stone or plaster neo-classical pillars, and then a statue of Diana, or Ven...
 

These gardens were once salt marshes

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The ‘white carpet’ placed over Torre Abbey Gardens for the opening of the ‘Tamed’ exhibition at the Spanish Barn was appropriately monochromatic, for these Gardens were once salt marshes
 

This is just how volatile life is!

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Where have 250 million years gone to? After the Permian period nothing much remains in Torbay of the 250 million years of geology that should follow. There are no dinosaur fossils. It is possible that...
 

Walking on Daddyhole Plain

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A man walking on Daddyhole Plain told the Geotrio about his friend’s back garden – he waved airily towards Lincombe Slopes – it had a capped entry to its own caves. Benches are labelled on their plaq...
 

We shall fight them on the beaches

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There is a lectern above the minewatchers’ tower, perfect for delivering speeches, like Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches”. This is where the Torbay Home Guard kept watch over the bay an...
 

Were we morphing?

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“The Crab Man’s claw got stuck on his hand and he fought to remove it as we crossed the road. My hat was adorned with flowers. Hugh was humming constantly… were we morphing, evolving and fusing with o...
 

Wonky barometer of the state of the world

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The ships on the sea horizon off Torbay may look as if they are queuing up, perhaps for entry to Teignmouth docks to the North, but in fact they are tankers waiting for the price of oil to change so t...

Your Place: User Generated Content

This is the place where you can add your own 'pins' to the interactive map. The success of the site depends on you revealing your knowledge and information about places in the Bay that will help other understand more about its rich social, cultural and historical heritage. So please add your text and images here. We are particularily interested in knowing about facts and associations that will add to the enjoyment by visitors and residents alike of the routes, buildings and places so our walking routes can become more enjoyable.
 

A Torquay soup kitchen

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Torquay experienced severe distress in the Long Depression of 1873–96. In 1895 the officer of the Torquay Mendicity Society, a local charity, estimated that: "There are at least 200 men who have no w...
 

The Kings Gardens & Haifa's Baha’i Shrine

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Haifa in Israel is the international headquarters for the Baha’i Faith, which began amid persecution in Persia in the mid-19th century. Baha’is believe in the unity of all religions. They hold that me...
 

‘Justice for Animals’ at Torre Abbey

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In 1911 the Council of Justice to Animals (CJA) was formed by people concerned about the methods being used to slaughter animals for food and the ways that cats and dogs were being destroyed. Initi...
 

‘Why not give women the vote?’

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In January 1914 a public meeting titled ‘Why not give women the vote?’ was held at St Marychurch Town Hall. It was organised by the ‘Torquay Branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societie...
 

Aleister Crowley: the Bond villain from Torquay

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Aleister Crowley (1875 –1947), also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential mystic and magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. Widely see...
 

Amelia Warren Griffiths's Seaweed Collection

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One activity for Torquay’s visitors was to acquire souvenirs of their holiday – either by purchasing a gift or by collecting shells or minerals. A popular pastime was the collection of varieties o...
 

Aqualand

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From the 1950s to the 1980s, visitors to the Bay were invited to visit four must-see attractions. They were: Paignton Zoo, Kent’s Cavern, the Model Village... and Aqualand. Aqualand was an aquarium ...
 

Artizan

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Gallery, Cafe, Venue Space. At Artizan our aim is to support local artists by offering them affordable fully stewarded exhibition space. In addition there is workshop available for hire.We also want t...
 

Audley Park School's Attic Club.

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In 1968, the fifth form of Audley Park School – now Torquay Community College – converted the space above their classrooms into the Attic Club. According to the senior boy, the club aimed to ‘bring co...
 

Aunt Belle's Diaries

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Canadian Isabella Cowen she and her sister Jeane travelled to England in 1892-3 where she wrote diaries about her experiences. From November 1892 to March 1893 she was in Torquay and Aunt Belle’s Diar...
 

Babbacombe Model Village

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Babbacombe Model Village was the brainchild of Tom Dobbins a Lancastrian who came to Torquay in 1962 with the specific aim of creating the country's finest Model Village. The Village opened in 1963 an...
 

Beatrix Potter at Kent’s Cavern

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Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an author, best known for children's books featuring animal characters. Beatrix was from an affluent family which had the resources to travel extensively. The Potters ...
 

Beatrix Potter visits Kents Cavern

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Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an author, best known for children's books featuring animal characters.Beatrix was from an affluent family which had the resources to travel extensively. The Potters wou...
 

Blacksmith

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Traditional blacksmith Rex Latham decided to follow his dream about fifteen years ago, and gave up his position as a fruit and veg wholesaler to work in a forge. Having originally passed up h...
 

Carnations & optimists at the Palm Court

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In September 1938 the Palm Court hosted the annual conference of the Florists Telegraph Delivery Association. Over 200 people were present, including the Mayor and Mayoress of both Torquay and Plymout...
 

Charles Kingsley in Livermead

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“No wonder that such a spot as Torquay, with its delicious Italian climate, and endless variety of rich woodland, flowery lawn, fantastic rock-cavern, and broad bright tide-sand, sheltered from every ...
 

Charles Radclyffe Hall: enemy of Mesmerism

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Mesmerism (sometimes known as animal magnetism) was a theory invented by Franz Mesmer in the 18th century. Mesmer believed that there was a fluid or energy which was the source of life and health. It ...
 

Charlotte Winsor: Baby farmer and murderer

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One practice that led social reformers to introduce regulations into child care and adoption was baby-farming. This was the taking in of an infant or child for payment. However, particularly in the ca...
 

Christabel Rose Coleridge & the first magazine for teenagers

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Christabel Rose Coleridge (1843-1921) lived in Bridge Road and was a novelist who also edited girls' magazines. The granddaughter of the poet, Samuel Coleridge, Christabel’s writing career spanned ove...
 

Cloudlands - South Devon Centre of the Order of the Temple

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The building of Cloudlands was completed in 1881. On 1 November 1882 the 'Torquay Directory' recorded entry for Cloudlands read - "Principals of the Order of the Temple - Staff in attendance", and in ...
 

Community and Voluntary Action Torbay

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We are a local support and development organisation for voluntary and community groups and charities in the Bay We have been in the Bay since 1895.We offer information, support and strategic partnersh...
 

CREATE

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CREATE workshops was started by Samantha Boughton and Joanna Hennessy. Based at South Devon College, they deliver a wide variety of creative workshops using a hybrid model of visual art and drama. ...
 

Eden Phillpotts at Torre Marine

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Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960) was an author, poet and dramatist. Born in India and educated in Plymouth, he worked as an insurance officer for 10 years before studying for the stage and becoming a Londo...
 

Edward Bulwer-Lytton at Argyll Hall, and the man who brought you Bovril

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ON JANUARY 18 1873 Edward Bulwer-Lytton died in his Torquay home Argyll Hall on Warren Road, having lived there since 1867. Built in 1849, Argyll Hall became the Roseland Hotel and is now an apartment...
 

French composer Prince Edmond Melchior Jean Marie de Polignac.

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A Lavender Marriage is a marriage between partners of differing sexual orientation. One example of a Lavender Marriage is that of Winnaretta Singer (1865-1943) and Prince Edmond de Polignac (1834-19...
 

Gallows Gate: Death in the Landscape

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At the top of Torquay’s Hamelin Way, at around 495 feet above sea level, is a small area called Gallows Gate. As the name suggests, this was known as a place of public execution. The site is on an...
 

Gatsby's New Wave Club & Punk at the Town Hall

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Torquay’s first punk venue was the short-lived Gatsby’s New Wave Club in 1977 (now the EF Centre on Castle Road). Local punks could see bands such as Plummet Airline, Avent Gardener, Cherry Vanilla an...
 

George Bernard Shaw at the Hydropathic Hotel

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George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. While also a journalist, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Mos...
 

George Eliot: critic of Torquay's overdevelopment

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Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880) is better known by her pen name George Eliot. She was a leading Victorian writer, the author of seven novels, mostly set in provincial England, including The Mill on the ...
 

Georgina Baroness Mount-Temple

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During the early nineteenth century, there was a growing sympathy with animals. This reassessment of the natural world can be seen in the exaltation of nature found in Romanticism – Shelley’s poem Qu...
 

Gilbert Vinter at the Town Hall

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During the Second World War new aircrew trained at an Aircrew Reception Centre and then the Initial Training Wing before actual flying experience in the UK, North America or Africa. In their spare tim...
 

Glass blowing

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Formed in 1995 around the talents of brother and sister Mark Tranter and Patricia Tranter-Edmonds with Lee James. Mark (BA Hons) and Patricia (MA) both graduated in 3D Design in Glass. Lee, a gradu...
 

HG Wells & the Sea Raiders

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Herbert George Wells (1866–1946) was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other fields, including contemporary novels, his...
 

I love....

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I love Thatcher Rock - no humans about, it’s just for the birds. And a red beetle.” (Anne)
 

I remember.....

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“I remember doing a flower quiz on Berry Head with grandparents in the 1960s. I swam at Shoalstone Pool as a child. I collected bottles on the beach, the Breakwater, to get money back. Rockpooling too...
 

In Treliving Colour

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Deborah Treliving studied at Bath Academy of Art, and f ollowing graduation she moved to Torquay in 1983, becoming printmaking tutor at South Devon College and a Member of The Devon Guild of Craftsme...
 

Jack the Ripper suspect in Abbey Road

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In 1888 a series of murders took place in the East End of London and were blamed on an unidentified killer known as Jack the Ripper. Since then, the identity of the Ripper has been long debated and a ...
 

James Joyce at the Imperial

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In May 1927, while James Joyce was living in Paris, he received a letter from Stuart Gilbert, a former judge in Burma’s British Colonial Civil Service. Stuart had noted some translation errors in the ...
 

John Dickson Carr & the 'Punch & Judy Murders'

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John Dickson Carr (1906-1977) was an American author of detective stories, who also published under the pen names Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn.The son of a US congressman, Carr liv...
 

King's Gardens, Torre Gardens and Torre Abbey - Devon Gardens Trust Local Register

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Torquay has a large number of ornamental public parks, but those along the sea-front, between Torre Abbey and the Pavilion at the harbour, form an attractive ribbon group. From west to east, they c...
 

Kitchen Gallery Andrew Lacey exhibition

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'stunning and inspiring exhibition" & " is that tree really growing in here?" These are just some of the comments that were overheard at launch of the Andrew Lacey exhibition in The Kitchen Galler...
 

Leave your Klackers at home

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In the days before the X Box, young people entertained themselves with a variety of toys and games. One of these was the Klacker, which became a Torquay fad in 1971. Also known as Klik-Klaks, Whack...
 

Local Landscapes

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Based at Cockington Craft Centre, watercolour painter Craig Long began painting in 2001, shortly after his move to Torquay. He draws inspiration from the seasonal changes, and his work takes in some...
 

Malcolm Lowry & Under the Volcano

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Malcolm Lowry’s 1947 novel Under the Volcano is the basis for the author’s reputation as one of the most important novelists of the twentieth century. He was hailed as the successor to James Joyce. Un...
 

Manor House Gardens - Devon Gardens Trust Local Register

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The Manor House (the Royal Institute Blind Rehabilitation Centre but closed in 2004), built in 1862-4 by J.W.Rowell for the younger Sir Lawrence PaIk, who had inherited in 1860. No longer stucco, bu...
 

Mary Shelley in Torquay

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Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was a novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosophe...
 

Nelson (1918)

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The first Torquay film production was the full length 90-minute film ‘Nelson’, filmed in the second half of 1918. It has a wartime propaganda theme and begins with views of First World War British war...
 

Old Views

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I am fascinated by old photos. This picture shows the American Army/Navy leaving Brixham for France. The current view shows how the landscape remains unchanged.
 

Oscar Wilde in Babbacombe

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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was one of the most well-known personalities of his day, regarded for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and sparkling conversation. He became one of the most successful playwri...
 

Paul Robeson at the Pavillion

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Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was an African-American concert singer, recording artist, athlete and actor who became known for his radicalism and activism in the US civil rights movement. Due to his commit...
 

Philip Henry Gosse: Creationist and Aquarist

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Philip Henry Gosse (1810–1888) was a naturalist and populariser of natural science. He wrote more than 40 books and 270 scientific and religious articles, including An Introduction to Zoology (1844) a...
 

RA Records, Swan Street Studios & Harry H Corbett

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Torquay’s RA Records produced a number of singles and albums in the early ’70s. Among them was a 1973 album by Steptoe & Sons’ Harry H Corbett, ‘Only Authorised Employees to Break Bottles: H...
 

Robert Louis Stevenson in Torquay

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Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh. In the next forty-four years, though being plagued by poor health, he made a tremendous contribution to English literature. The son of upper-m...
 

Rock Against Racism on Corbyn Head

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In 1981 the National Front announced that it was going to hold a rally in Torquay. In response local anti-racists organised a Rock Against Racism Festival on Corbyn Head. 6 local bands played throug...
 

Rocking Horses

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Jack Bowman brings to life a Victorian childhood with his handmade rocking horses, constructed and restored at his studio in the Cockington Craft Centre. Situated appropriately within the Old S...
 

Ruby Murray

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Ruby Murray was a long-term resident of Torquay and a frequent visitor to harbourside pubs. She was one of the biggest-selling female stars of the 1950s, and she set a chart record in 1955 for having ...
 

Rudyard Kipling in Maidencombe

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Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was one of the Britain’s most popular writers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and is still its youngest r...
 

SANCTUARY POTTERY WORKSHOPS at Lupton House

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Sanctuary South Devon - the pottery and creative workshop charity is at Lupton House, near Brixham. The Grade 2* listed Georgian house is run by the Lupton Trust, and set within many beautiful acres o...
 

Stephen Ward & the Profumo Scandal

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Stephen Ward (1912-1963) was the son of Arthur Evelyn Ward, Canon of Rochester Cathedral. He was educated at London’s Highgate School, and in 1920 the family moved to Torquay when Stephen’s father ...
 

Terracotta Army

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Peter and Vera Stride are both artists, and work from their studio, specialising in Raku and woodfired ceramics (sculpture and pottery ), mixed media, sculptures, paintings and drawings. The work e...
 

The Adverts at the Art College

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The Adverts were a punk band who were formed in 1976 and broke up in late 1979. They were one of the first punk bands to enjoy chart success in the UK. Their line-up included Gaye Advert, whom The Vir...
 

The ANZACS in Torquay

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During the First World War, the ANZACS (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) had a camp in the water meadows in Lower Cockington Valley. They used a lean-to single-storey wooden pub with a rear ...
 

The Blu Cargo Canteen Bar

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The Blu Cargo Canteen Bar, just off Fleet Street, was once the church of a 19th century religious sect known as the Starkites. It was built in 1839 as Salem Chapel by Robert Stark. Born in Chelston i...
 

The British Sex Comedy

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During the 1970s and 1980s Torquay lost several cinemas due to declining audiences. The Regal/the ABC ran from 1933 to 1971 at Castle Circus, demolished in August 1992, to become the Job Centre. The E...
 

The evil gangs of Babbacombe

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On February 4, 1931 the Torquay Directory told of a 'gang' that had terrorised the neighbourhood'' of Babbacombe. The newspaper wasn't that clear what the Torquay Gang had been up to, though they did ...
 

The Genesis of the 'Grockle'

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‘Grockle’ is a mildly insulting term for ‘tourist’. It became popular after its use by the characters in the 1966 Torquay-based film The System, which also has a soundtrack featuring the Searchers, t...
 

The Goodies '2001 & a Bit'

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During the 1970s and early 1980s, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie wrote and starred in a surreal British television series combining sketches and situation comedy. This was The Goodies...
 

The Great Gale of Brixham 1866 theatre show

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he Great Gale of Brixham 1866 - Theatre show On the evening of January 10th 1866, a great storm blew up across the South coast, and hit Brixham. Much of her fi...
 

The Great Gale of Brixham 1866 theatre show

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The Great Gale of Brixham 1866 - Theatre show On the evening of January 10th 1866, a great storm blew up across the South coast, and hit Brixham. Much of her f...
 

The Jack the Ripper hoax letters

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The 1888 Jack the Ripper Murders caused a wave of panic across the country. They also triggered a number of hoax letters supposedly from the Ripper. In 1888 a Torquay girl called Charlotte Higgins, a ...
 

The Marine Tavern

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The Marine Tavern was a one-storey pub situated in front of the Pavilion. In January 1893 the landlord was accused of assaulting a policeman and for being drunk and disorderly. However, the defence ar...
 

The Newton Road ‘Camper in the Suburbs’

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At one time Torquay experienced such a high number of tourists that there was not enough accommodation to satisfy demand. The beaches were packed with visitors and all the hotel and guest houses were ...
 

The Radio 1 Roadshow

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For three decades the Radio 1 Roadshow was an annual summer event. Hosted and broadcast by BBC Radio 1 from the 1970s through to the 1990s, it regularly came to Torquay's Torre Abbey Meadows. The or...
 

The Rocks of Valpre (1919)

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For a few years after the Great War it was hoped that Torquay would be the British Hollywood. We had the natural light and a range of scenery that could be utilised by inventive directors. Based on ...
 

The Rolling Stones August 1964

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In August 1964 the Rolling Stones performed theatre concerts every day across the southwest, including Weymouth, Weston-super-Mare, Exeter, Plymouth, and Torquay. For 5 days the Stones used the Grand...
 

The Royal Canadian Air Force head for home

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During the Second World War 1.1 million Canadians served in the armed forces. Of these more than 45,000 lost their lives and another 54,000 were wounded. At the end of the war, it was time to go ho...
 

The Saint & The Persuaders

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The Saint was a long-running ITC mystery spy thriller that ran on ITV between 1962 and 1969. It was based on the Leslie Charteris character Simon Templar. Due to the strong performance in Amer...
 

The Salvation Army Riots

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During 1888, Torquay experienced a sustained challenge to authority. Bizarrely, this followed the arrival in town of the Salvation Army. Torquay became a focus for Salvationist activity due to its pr...
 

The Skinheads come to Torquay

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Since May 1964, when Mods and Rockers started the tradition of rioting in south coast seaside resort towns, Bank Holidays had the potential for trouble. However, unlike Brighton or Bournemouth, which ...
 

The South Devon Players community theatre company

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The South Devon Players are an award winning, small, family-friendly, completely non-profit, community theatre / amateur dramatic group based in the beautiful fishing port of Brixham; Devon (in Sou...
 

The Torquay Charity Organisation Society

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In January 1886 a meeting was held at the Bath Saloons in Torquay presided over by the Mayor, Alderman EP Bovey. This meeting set up the Torquay Charity Organisation Society, which covered Torquay, ...
 

Tiles and Pebbles

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Clare Mahoney’s ceramics are inspired by her fascination with natural fauna. She captures this intimate world in a range of ceramics and printmaking. Ethereal moments are captured in time, often ...
 

Torquay Against the Poll Tax

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Torbay's largest ever demonstration was aginst the Poll Tax in 1990. The ‘Axe the Tax Rally’ on March 17 began with feeder marches from across The Bay. The Torquay March set off with 250 demonstrators...
 

Torquay at War

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According to a log kept at St Marychurch Fire Station, between 1939-45 Torquay suffered 21 German raids. The largest attack involved 23 enemy aircraft of which 11 were destroyed. ??161 bombs of variou...
 

Torquay sends the World the first Christmas card

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The World's first Christmas card was designed in Torquay. It all began with an English civil servant and inventor called Henry Cole - later to become Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882). Henry played a key ...
 

Torquay Unemployed Centre

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In 1982 unemployment reached a peak of 3,070,621, representing 12.5 per cent of the working population. As now, Torquay experienced high levels of joblessness. In response, Torbay Trades Union C...
 

Torquay’s Reform Demonstration of 1867

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The Reform Act of 1867 was a piece of legislation that gave the vote to the urban male working class. However, there was significant resistance to change and the Act only came about after a long strug...
 

Torquay’s Suffragettes at the Torquay Theatre

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In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union. Their motto was ‘Deeds not Words’, and in 1906 the Daily Mail coined the term ‘Suffragette’ to distinguish the militants from...
 

Torquay’s Suffragists at 19 Abbey Road

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In 1897 the various suffragist societies united into one organisation, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, led by Millicent Fawcett. By 1914 the NUWSS had over 600 societies and an estim...
 

Torquay's Beatniks and the Melville Inn

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In the early 1960s Torquay had a flourishing Beatnik and Folk scene. Donavon, Mac Macleod (‘the Hurdy Gurdy Man’), and John Renbourne of Pentangle all lived in the town. Indeed, Donavon wrote’ Catch t...
 

Torquay's Gay Community

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From its very beginnings as a town, Torquay had a significant gay population. As in many other coastal towns, the gay community had its roots in the presence of the Royal Navy and the local maritime t...
 

Torquay's Hippies in the Rising Sun

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The influence of the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967 and the Woodstock Festival in 1969 was heard around the world... including Torquay. The rise of alternative cultures in Torquay inevitabl...
 

Torquay's Quakers

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The Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, comprises a range of religious organisations which trace their origins to a Christian movement in the mid-seventeenth century. In contrast to many...
 

Torre's Odd Orangery

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On Torquay’s Lucius Street stands the Greek Orthodox Church of St Andrew. Overlooking the church on the other side of St Efrides Road is a series of arches, now overgrown with weeds. This terracing ...
 

Transition Festival 2009

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Hollicombe Park, usually a dog-walkers spot and an access point to Hollicombe Beach, provided the setting for a locally-produced music festival in September of 2009. The Transition Festival was...
 

When Torquay's Opium was cheaper than Gin

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There were more ‘hard drugs’ in Torquay in the 19th century than any time before or since. An estimated five out of six working class families used opium on a regular basis and many of Torquay’s famou...
 

William Pryor & The Survival of the Coolest.

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Author and poet William Pryor (1945- ) is the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin. He was also a heroin addict and then alcoholic for 12 years in the 60s and 70s. William grew up in Cambridge and...
 

William Scoresby at St Mary Magdalene Church

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William Scoresby (1789 – 1857) was an Arctic explorer, scientist and clergyman. He made yearly voyages to Greenland between 1803-22, at first on his father’s whaler, and then as the captain on other s...
 

Youthsploitation!

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One of the things I remember about Torquay in the early 70s was the, now mostly forgotten, cheap paperback novels that we used to pass around at school – Audley Park in my case. Featuring copious amou...
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