Embellishing the Sewers

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In 1911 the catalogue of William MacFarlane & Co. of Glasgow featured a particularly elegant form of ironwork sewer vent, near identical specimens grace various parts of Bideford. MacFarlane & Co were leading producers of decorative ironwork and several of Bideford’s vents are now listed as ancient monuments. One may…

At the Turning of the Century

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With the beginning of the 21st Century seeing Bideford awash with new developments, it is interesting to reflect that the Book of Fair Devon published in 1900 stated that “The modern streets are wide, and the houses well built, especially those being constructed in the extensive building operations now going…

The Bridge Gains a Bust

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In 1893 East-the-Water gained another of its enduring landmarks. A bust of John Richard Pine-Coffin was erected by public subscription in the open space to the south of the Long Bridge. A distinguished military officer, a Deputy Lieutenant, a Justice of the Peace, Vice-Chairman of Bideford Board of Guardians, and…

Shamwickshire

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As the old shipyard sites at East the Water closed down a substantial new quay wall was built extending from the Cross Park goods yard to the Long Bridge. By 1891 the Long Bridge was already familiar with spectators amassing on it to watch the annual Bideford regatta, but in…

New Churches and a New Cemetery

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Restarick’s Chapel was not the only one that sprang up during the late 19th C. In 1880 an ‘Iron Church’ was established in Barnstaple Street and 1888 saw a Port Mission Chapel opened at Bank End. The Bank End chapel was founded by the Rev Roger Granville, the minister of…

A Shipyard and a Mission

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The 1871 Census shows a single man by the name of Henry M Restarick lodging at Ridgeway cottages in Northam. In 1871 he gave his occupation as “Ropemaker, employing 3 men and 3 boys.” In 1877 this same Henry Morgan Restarick (1833-1899) took over Johnson’s East-the-Water Shipyard (the Brunswick Wharf…

A New Station and a New Water Supply

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In 1872 a new Bideford railway station was opened, coinciding with the extension of the line to Great Torrington. The position of the existing tracks ensured that this lay in East-the-Water.The Station Hotel, formerly in Barnstaple Street, relocated to Torrington Lane. Whilst the railway carried clay and culm out, people…

Picturing the Town

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On 1 Jan 1856, Thomas Honey (whose surname adorns a close in East-the-Water) published the first edition of his Bideford Gazette. It is still in circulation and serves both sides of the water, but now as the advertising-financed Gazette. Henceforth, the Gazette would provide later historians with a far clearer…

Turning the Town White

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In 1850 the town was battling outbreaks of cholera and, in the hope of combating the disease, the council ordered its houses to be lime-washed and the street’s to be spread with lime ash. These measures may have been ineffective, but almost overnight they transformed Bideford into Charles Kingsley’s “little…

Gas Arrives in Bideford

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In 1853 the Torrington Lane potteries gained a new neighbour, for, just downhill from them in Nuttaberry, a gasworks opened in East-the-Water, with the gas main running across the river underneath the Long Bridge.