Literary works associated with the Wharves

Charles Kingsley put Bideford on the map with his descriptions of 'The Little White Town' in the opening passages of his Victorian adventure blockbuster Westward Ho!, which is reputed to have been written, at least in part, in The Royal Hotel, East the Water. The Royal, then a private home, housed the notable library of Richard Heard.

Heard's library was also consulted by eminent, but controversial, historian Anthony Froude (who married Kingsley’s sister-in-law), who published a multi-volume History of England from the fall of Wolsey to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, in 1893.

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 numerous collections of old photographs of Bideford and also written several books about Bideford and North Devon history.

In 2012 Rowen Mackenzie sbmitted an MA thesis, entitled The Overseas Trade of North Devon in the Late Seventeenth Century to the University of Bristol. Her work involved analysis of trade from Bideford and Barnstaple.

Bideford Library (devonlibraries.org.uk) has a reference area for local books and information.

Documents providing further background on the Wharves

Historical Notes Relating to Bideford’s East-the-Water Shore, Volume 1 (Prehistory to 18th C.), R I Kirby, 2021, 95 pagesView

Historical Notes Relating to Bideford’s East-the-Water Shore, Volume 2 (19th C.), R I Kirby, 2021, 86 pagesView

Historical Notes Relating to Bideford’s East-the-Water Shore, Volume 3 (20th C. to present), R I Kirby, 2021, 38 pagesView

Ships launched from East-the-Water, R I Kirby, 2018, 110 pages revised updated version available soon

Census data for northern wharves area, R I Kirby, 2018, 16 pages, A3.View

Census data for southern wharves area, R I Kirby, 2018, 17 pages, A3.View

Lyrics to "I'm a mortal unlucky old chap", by Roger Hopkins' Grandfather, undated, six versesView

Cover of deeds to Bideford Gasworks, courtesy of D Fulton, photoView

Weird Wharves, "Sculpting the Wharves" Lesson Plan, Taz Pollard, 2018, 1 pageView

Weird Wharves, "Slime Kilns" Lesson Plan, Anthony Burt, 2016, 1 pageView

Notes on the wharves, Alan Wilkinson, 24 Aug 2016, 1 pageView

Annotated Peter Christie article, mentioned in the above A Wilkinson notesView

letter of support for the project from residents, May 2017View

I. Baker & Son advertising, inside, courtesy of the Baker family, 1 pageView

I. Baker & Son advertising, outside, courtesy of the Baker family, 1 pageView

A Concise History of Bideford, scan of postcardView

Advertisement for the Royal Hotel, Bideford, 1940, 1 pageView

I. Baker & Son letterhead, courtesy of the Baker familyView

Montage of advertisements for traders baed on the wharves, 1 pageView

Anthracite Mine flotation - London Daily News 22 December 1852 p1 c4-5View

Railway opening - North Devon Journal 01 November 1855 p8 c1-4View

Lyrics of "Shamwickshire" Jubilee song, courtesy R Hopkins, 16 versesView

Poetic reflection on bridge collapse, calligraphy by Celia J. Colwill, courtesy of Baker familyView

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