Teignmouth Seafront And Harbour Devon.
Teignmouth is a large seaside town, fishing port and civil parish in the English county of Devon, situated on the north bank of the estuary mouth of the River Teign about 12 miles south of Exeter. It had a population of 14,749 at the last census. In 1690, it was the last place in England to be invaded by a foreign power.
From the 1800s onwards, the town rapidly grew in size from a fishing port associated with the Newfoundland cod industry to a fashionable resort of some note in Georgian times, with further expansion after the opening of the South Devon Railway in 1846. Today, its port still operates and the town remains a popular seaside holiday location.
In the late 18th century, privateering was common in Teignmouth, as it was in other westcountry ports. In 1779 the French ship L’Emulation with a cargo of sugar, coffee and cotton was offered for sale at “Rendle’s Great Sale Room” in the town. Teignmouth people fitted out two privateers: Dragon with 16 guns and 70 men; and Bellona, described as carrying “16 guns, 4 cohorns and 8 swivels”. Bellona set sail on her first voyage in September 1779, and was “oversett in a violent Gust of Wind” off Dawlish with the loss of 25 crew members.
The Newfoundland fisheries continued to provide the main employment into the early 19th century (e.g. Job Brothers & Co., Limited) and, fortuitously for the town, as the fisheries declined the prospect of tourism arose. A tea house was built on the Den in 1787 amongst the local fishermen’s drying nets. The “Amazons of Shaldon”—muscular women who pulled fishing nets and were “naked to the knee”—were an early tourist attraction for male tourists.
By 1803 Teignmouth was called a “fashionable watering place”, and the resort continued to develop during the 19th century. Its two churches were rebuilt soon after 1815 and in the 1820s the first bridge across the estuary to Shaldon was built; George Templer’s New Quay opened at the port; and the esplanade, Den Crescent and the central Assembly Rooms (later the cinema) were laid out. The railway arrived in 1846 and the pier was built 1865–7.
A version of the legend of the Parson and Clerk dating to 1900 tells the tale of the Bishop of Exeter visiting Teignmouth and whilst being guided by a local priest, the devil turns them both to stone, which is seen in the form of two stacks.
The First World War had a disruptive effect on Teignmouth: over 175 men from the town lost their lives and many businesses did not survive. In the 1920s as the economy started to recover, a golf course opened on Little Haldon; the Morgan Giles shipbuilding business was established, and charabancs took employees and their families for annual outings to Dartmoor and elsewhere. By the 1930s the town was again thriving, and with the Haldon Aerodrome and School of Flying nearby, Teignmouth was advertised as the only south coast resort offering complete aviation facilities.
During the Second World War Teignmouth suffered badly from “tip and run” air raids. It was bombed 21 times between July 1940 and February 1944 and 79 people were killed, 151 wounded, 228 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 damaged in the raids. Teignmouth’s hospital was bombed during a raid on 8 May 1941, killing three nurses and seven patients. It was rebuilt and reopened in September 1954, making it the first complete general hospital in the country to be built after the formation of the National Health Service.
A US Navy plan existed which proposed to dam the harbour and set up a seaplane base, but it was abandoned as the war turned in favour of the allies.
Cinematic (Sting) by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)