Charles Kingsley put Bideford on the map with his descriptions of 'The Little White Town' in his book Westward Ho!, which is reputed to have been written, at least in part, in The Royal Hotel, East the Water.
In his book 'Tarka the Otter' Henry Williamson describes the old bridge from Tarka's perspective. The Tarka Trail, which occupies the old railway line and is now a cycling/walking trail, runs through East the Water and immortalises the book and Tarka. A bronze otter statue was installed on Bideford Quay in 2017 (northdevongazette.co.uk).
In the nineteenth century, Edward Capern (the postman poet) became a bestseller with his poems and songs about local Devon life. Recently Liz Shakespeare, who writes historical fiction set around Bideford (lizshakespeare.co.uk), has written about Edward Capern and republished a selection of his poems.
Peter Christie has published collections of old photographs and written several books about Bideford and North Devon history.
Bideford Library (devonlibraries.org.uk) has a reference area for local books and information.
Peter Christie articleView
I'm a mortal unlucky old chap words 1, Roger Hopkins GrandfatherView
Fulford, D gasworks deedsView
Alan Wilkinson notes Aug 24thView
Alan Wilkinson notes 2 Aug 24thView
letter of support from residentsView
Bideford Concise History card sc 070115View
Bideford Royal Hotel advert 1940View
Anthracite Mine flotation - London Daily News 22 December 1852 p1 c4-5View
Railway opening - North Devon Journal 01 November 1855 p8 c1-4View
Ode to ShamwickshireView