Sidmouth in old picture postcards

Sidmouth in old picture postcards

:   Dr. G.H. Gerald Gibbens
:   Devon
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2740-0
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2 - 3 werkdagen (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Sidmouth in old picture postcards'

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9. A seaside resort's shop window is the Front. Ours, pleasant in itself, is made outstanding by the great bulk of Salcombe HilI as a backdrop. Before 1780, a massive bank of shingle filled the half mile between Chit and Salcombe, with not a single building on it. The first was Beach House, its double roof conspieuous in the first print of 1795 and the first sketch by Upham in 1802 (POH Hist. V, 24). Before 1820 the Vork Hotel was built (extreme left here) right on the top of the shingle bank, and was nearly destroyed in the catastrophic storm of November 24/25, 1824. The buildings started by being lodging houses; now almost all are hotels run by local families who are the backbone of the town: Hook, Fitzgerald, Prideaux, Foyle, Pickard - experts in their job, prominent in local government, Arts Club, rugby, sai1ing, golf. An architectural stroll along the Esplanade shows many Regency features.

10. There was far more shingle in the early 1800's and all the Prints show it plumped up like a cushion. The main sourees of shingle are the flint caps about ten feet thick on the clifftops; the Sid; and very little from the doop. It moves up and down in a compartment only a few miles long. Westerly winds 'rake it out' towards Branscombe, but easterlies rake it back more quickly, so that the two balance, more or less. About Spring, 1962, a visitor came down twice. At the first time there was practically no shingle at all, a scattering of stones on the sand. At the second time, after an interval of one month, we were astounded to find the shingle overtopping the Front. lt was not realised till the 1920's that the stock is limited, and the huge amounts that had been carted off would take very many years to be replaced. Here, what is the horse and cart doing? Bringing stone for the lifeboat slipway, or something to do with Dunning?

11. A terrifving picture for the ratepayer! The mechanism of destruction is weIl shown - the sloosh upwards, and the suekback on the right, undermining. A gloomy erowd watehes the inereasing hole. Within a few seconds one appreciates that a seawall is a mixed blessing, but ... Obviously the damage is occurring beeause the shingle level is low. If there is plenty, the pebbles absorb the bashing. A northerly gale is very different: the sea is like a miIlpond. On such a day in January 1873, fulliow tide, the shingle and sand had been stripped off the dark marl below, and th ere were the stumps of seven large alder trees, upright with roots in plaee, sixty feet out from the front, opposite Fort Cottage. They grew, our loeal piece of Neolithic submerged forest, at a time when the land stood mueh higher in relation to the sea. Two of several mammoth teeth were found opposite that spot.

12. Severe damage was done in 1925-1926. Here, the wall itself is still standing: the damage is clearly at the base. The repair work, with bulky machinery, was interrupted by more storms, making a much worse mess, for the work had reached a stage when all damaged material had been removed, and all was ready for rnaking-good, when new storms arrived. Luckily, there was a large Government grant, and the Minister of Transport came to open the new Front on 20 March 1926. ('Close it' would be better? ) It seerns to have lasted weIL The scene is rather different when the Folk Festival maniacs are here, full of colour and musie and strange talk and beer: or when the Red Arrows close-miss our ear-drums,

13. A peculiar thing is that, owing to the height of the shingle ridge, there is a hollow behind the Front. A tall man standing at the door of the London (both the York and the London hotels picked up their 'Royal' soon after this) can only just see the horizon on a calm day, So we get - as we probably got in ancient times - a Lagoon behind the Front. It is nearly pouring into the door of Ellis' cinema here, on the left. On that dreadful night (November 24, 1824), when a ship '[lew' over the Chesil Bank into calm water while everybody was at prayer, this town was in chaos. Mr. Wallis' billiard table was knocked through his back wall, and he and his family escaped through the hole as a 'runaway boat' rushed by. Lengths of brilliant silk were draped about when the new shop from Bond Street burst open, chimneypots and slates flying. In the morning the houses were full of shingle, everything smashed.

14. The cliffs being made mostly of red marl are soft and they waste rather fast. (The rate is not at all even, so figures don't seem helpful.) Ta stroll along the sea-edge, best with binoculars, shows the causes clearly - mostly surface water secping down cracks which widen until, whether observed from top or bottom, several places are seen to be ripe for falling. Seen from the air, it is clear that many start quite near the top, with the soft greensand-fall aeting as trigger to the marl below. It is really stupid to try to climb anything as soft as marl, and even the apparently streng sandstone would not be touched by a proper climber except in emergency, Here the cliff is obviously about to fall. Queen Victoria's Jubilee flagstaff did not last long. Who could have put it sa close? It is just above the spot where couples seem to !ie under a tarpaulln etc. They could make a romantic finale to an opera Delius, perhaps; a crescendo on the tympani becomes deafening, a piercing clarnour of gulls, diminuendo ... Terribly sado

15. The cliff-falls to the West are more dramatic, because the road runs close. This fall nearly caught the district midwife. The road has been cut back by these 'rusings'. In the background is 'High Peak', a fine walk from the Peak carpark. The defences on the top show that only a lip remains of the big Neolithic camp, with little sign of occupation from 3000 B.C. until 450 A.D., between Romans and Saxons, the time of roman tic Arthur. Just where the outline of the far hil! here touches the near one is where the road runs straight towards us from Ottert on Priory, our bosses; a good banked road, running 'out over'. Where does it come back? Just by Fox's Corner to go down the sunken road past Peak House? Ronald Delderfield the novelist used to say that his Gazebo rests on a granite outerop but he probably meant it figuratively.

16. These are much the best-known Sidmouth fishermen, because Stephen Reynolds wrote 'The Poor Mari's House' etc. about thern, puffing Bob up (much against his will) into a natural philosopher. Here the WooIIeys are, left to right: Granf (George), Sam, !ittle Chip, Tom (Neebie), Stephen Reynolds and Bob. On January 2, 1907, these men in their 22 foot boat netted twenty thousand herring off Straight Point, with twenty-seven other drifters. They had to give away one net, and cut the last one adrift. But it was never re!iable. POH says that in one night in January 1877,30,000 were caught, mostly sent to London. 'Other nights, barely a bucketful,' Stephen Reynolds was an engineering graduate and fitted an engine into Puffin, and was astonished at the opposition. Worse, when he sadly abandoned the sea to serve the fishermen's cause in the Southwest, he was crushed between the miIIstones of fishermen versus Government, and died of the new Influenza.

17. At Ladram Bay, two and a half miles west of us, some levels in the cliff are hard, and the softer strata weather out to leave ledges for gulls to nest. But also - and far rarer - there are places that are hardened vertically, and as the cliffs wear away they stand out more and more, until they becorne Stacks, Iike Picket Rock and the famous Arches. It is possible to walk to Ladram at low tide, but the utmost care must be taken about timing the tide, for in several places the cliffs are virtually unscaleable, and even the great geologist W.A.E. Ussher was nearly drowned in 1874. The sea must be flat calm. Ifpeople take a boat (and only if) and two buckets, half the party can prawn while the others make a driftwood fire: marvellous. In the dig at the Romano British Villa at Holcombe large numbers of every kind of local shell - land or sea - were found. So trial can be made of any shell at all, cautiously!

18. The Sidmouth Directory of March, 1869, was certainly direct. Mrs. Rimington offered to provide a /ifeboat ... but there was general doubt of accepting the well-meant gift ... Mr. Balfour promised a site for the boathouse ... figures of tenders were known, whereby others were enabled to go be/ow them. September 25: Hasty preparations were made as thougb its services were immediate/y required ... foundations were on/y laid down a week ... countryfolk poured in by hundreds, but it was said that not a life had been lost that the lifeboat cou/d have been the means of saving ... During the ga/es ... it would be all but impossible to launch a boat or pass out to sea. December 1: Nine weeks in the rain ... it took nearly three months for a stranger to bui/d what any one of a dozen of our Sidmouth masons could have erected in half the time. This picture was taken when the lifeboat was paraded for the Queen's Jubilee, 1887.

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