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A Torbay Century

John Pike and Mike Thompson
In association with the Herald Express

The story of Torbay's three towns – Torquay, Paignton and Brixham – is vividly told in this new history by John Pike and Mike Thompson. The authors recall the contrasting development of each town over the last 200 years and describe how, 30 years ago, they were amalgamated to become the thriving centre of the present day. With the help of a wonderful selection of illustrations from the Torquay Museum and the Herald Express newspaper, they give a fascinating insight into the history of each district and Torbay as a whole.

In a sequence of short, lively chapters John Pike records the origins of each town and describes the nineteenth-century expansion that transformed them. He gives a vivid account of the unspoilt Torbay coastline and the beaches, from Watcombe to Man Sands, which attracted visitors in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The influx of sightseers and the building of hotels, guesthouses, promenades and other facilities changed forever the character and economy of these Devon villages.

The strong relationship of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham with the sea plays a vital role in the story. Social developments and changes in working life, methods of transport and ways of spending leisure time are vividly related. The narrative is packed with incident – smuggling expeditions, wartime exploits, landslips and royal visits are recalled. Also included is a detailed chronology of Torbay's history and an invaluable appendix explaining the derivation of Torbay place-names.


About the Authors

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