Dawlish


    Dawlish and the first settlers

    The people who first settled in Dawlish lived on the higher grounds such as Haldon. These were fishermen and salt makers who would venture down to the coast to net fish and gather salt. Salt was abundant in rock pools at the time but resources would have been limited. So eventually salterns were constructed to dry out saltwater or brine and produce salt. Salterns are clay huts with a hole in the roof to allow smoke to escape. Large fires are lit beneath clay troughs of brine to evaporate water leaving salt crystals. Seawater would not have been used in salterns, but rather, brine produced by passing fresh water over salt-rich sand collected from beneath the sea and packed into clay troughs. The high-quality salt produced was stored in sheds or saltcellars. Dawlish produced less salt than its neighbour Teignmough, most likely due to inhabitants being wary of Dawlish Water and its unpredictability when it came to flooding: Floods could easily wash a man out to sea.
     
      Dawlish at the time was spelt 'Deawlisc', a Celtic word meaning 'Devil Water'. Several other spellings and meanings are found later in the Doomsday Book and in documents from Exeter Cathedral.
    Salt making would have started before Roman times (55 BC) and continued until the withdrawal of the Romans in 400AD. Sometime during the Anglo-Saxon period (400 - 1000AD) salt making in Dawlish ceased, however Teignmouth continued its production. During the Anglo-Saxon period the number of inhabitants grew and some communities settled in the upper part of the valley where floods were less common and the land was fertile. Evidence of early farming settlements is found at Aller Farm, Smallacombe, Lidewell and Higher and Lower Southwood.

    When the Romans invaded Britain, the Celts of Devon and Cornwall, were left alone and continued to occupy the land throughout the Roman period that lasted until the Anglo-Saxons arrived. The Anglo-Saxons were more interested in trading rather than conquering and mixed with the Celts of Devon and Cornwall.  The majority of local people in this area would have descended from these Anglo-Saxons.. The Danish invasion of 800AD left Dawlish untouched, possibly because of the shallow sea waters and marshland, and suggests that there was probably nothing worth looting here. However the Danes destroyed Bishopsteignton (a nearby village) along with settlements at the mouth of the River Teign
     


    18th Century Dawlish

    By the beginning of the 18th century the industrial revolution was firmly in place. The Brunswick Mill built in 1717 was the first indication of its effect in Dawlish. Later the Town Mill was built in Church Street, and a further mill was in use at nearby Ashcombe. The Brunswick mill is the only remaining mill in Dawlish
    Until the reign of King George III, the 1000 plus residents of Dawlish were used to an insular existence and outsiders were usually associated with trade. Towards the end of the 18th century, George III thought that bathing in the sea and breathing fresh sea air contributed beneficially to ones life. George's influence is seen greatly in Dawlish. At a time where there were no railroads, visitors would flock to Dawlish. The visitor was not your average working person, but rather an aristocrat that would bring his family and servants for the summer season. The aristocracy was not impressed by the cob cottages of the 16th and 17th centuries for accommodation and so built their own holiday villas. These Georgian buildings are still in existence today, and are found along Park Road and High Street.
    At the time bathing was not considered suitable for women, and so the changing huts constructed along the beach were solely for men. Personal hygiene was not fashionable at the time, and so bathing would have provided a welcoming means of dispersing bodily odours.


    19th Century Dawlish

    The beginning of the 19th century saw the end of Exeter Cathedral's ownership of Dawlish. In 1802 the Dean and Chapter sold the manor of Dawlish for Land Tax to Richard Eales Esq. of Easton. The number of houses in Dawlish at the time was 291 and the population 1424 people. In the coming decades the land was split up and sold to further wealthy individuals.
    At about the same time, a local businessman was considering the benefits to the town of landscaping the land on both sides of the Brook to enable the construction of property closer to the beach. The businessman was John Manning, and in 1803 he started the process of draining the marshy land and straightening the stream.
    The landscaping proved costly, however, as in 1810, after 3 months of rainfall, the banks of the stream broke and severe flooding washed away the newly created lawns along with 8 bridges and 2 newly built houses in Brook Street, leaving John Manning poorer by some £11,000. Soon after, landscaping commenced again. This time weirs were placed at several locations along the Brook to prevent flooding. The Brook has generally remained the same since this time; however, the waterfowl were not introduced until sometime after.


    The coming of the railway

    In 1830 plans were drawn up for an event that would change the face of Dawlish forever. The plans were for a unique railway designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, unique since the design called for the train to operate by way of a pneumatic tube with a vacuum ahead and atmospheric pressure behind. The model for patent purposes worked, although the full-size model built in 1844 did not, and so the Atmospheric Railway was converted to conventional propulsion.
    The effect of the building of the railway on the town was great. Hundreds of 'navvies' arrived to work on the line and tunnels, and brought money to the town, the public houses seeing a lot of this money. The first passenger train ran on Whit Bank Holiday, Saturday 30th May 1846 and took 40 minutes to arrive at Exeter making Dawlish the first resort in the region to be served by railway.
    The original single track was later converted to double track


    20th Century Dawlish

    With the growth of the railway, shortening of travel times and the introduction of paid holidays for the working class, the growth of holiday makers to Dawlish rose steeply. Day tripping replaced the seasonal holiday stay of the upper class and many visitors wanted to move to the region. Because of this more lower class housing was built and many of the villas were turned into hotels and guest houses. During this century the population rose from 3000 to 12000

    The building of the railway station in 1905 at Dawlish Warren contributed to the increase in visitors to the region, and by 1930 Dawlish was seen as a low budget holiday resort with the opening of holiday camps with chalets and caravans. The railway brought most of the visitors so during the summer season the carriages would have been packed with passengers.

    In 1953, the year Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, Dawlish adopted the Latin phrase 'Pratum Juxta Ribos Aquarum' for its motto, which translates (word for word) to 'Meadowland by Running Waters'.
    The heraldic emblem of the town incorporates the arms of Edward the Confessor (top left: a cross patonce between five martlets, blue in colour), those of Leofric (top right: a dark cross with a bishop's mitre at the centre), and of the see of Exeter (bottom: an erect sword in pale argent surmounted by two keys).


    Dawlish a holiday resort

    Dawlish is a little Regency resort town, huddled between steep surrounding hills of Haldon, and enjoying a favourable mild climate.
    The railway sweeps along the entire seafront and beach.
    The town itself, particularly around the seafront, is a classic of Regency style and early Victorian architecture. Georgian and Victorian villas, narrow streets, bustling shops, cafes, restraints and little tearooms serving delicious Devon cream teas.
     The Strand – built 1803-1809 – still remains impressive, although mostly now converted to shops. It was here that Jane Austen stayed, as did Charles Dickens, who decided to make Dawlish the birth place of his fictional character, Nicholas Nicleby. Other notable buildings are the Manor House and Brook House, both built about the 1800`s, and some of the cottages in Old Town Street, which survive the old Dawlish fishing village.
    At the heart of the town centre lies a public park called The Lawn, an attractive extremely large grass lawn, with an avenue of mature chestnut trees, stunningly colourful flower beds, accented by exotic cacti, tropical plants and evocative tall palms. It has an outdoor bowling green, a bandstand for concerts, and it is here you will find the Tourist Information Centre.
    The Lawn is the ideal spot for the family, providing a safe environment for families to play, relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the park. This is the place to find a shady corner, where you can sit and relax in a truly spectacular spot. At night, a myriad of coloured lights running along the length of the water course are switched on, converting the area into a wonderland where you can enjoy a romantic evening stroll.



    The centre piece of The Lawn is 'Dawlish Water' or 'The Brook'.


    The Brook

    The Brook which starts its course at the little moor of Haldon, runs through Ashcombe, Dawlish Water, Dawlish Town before eventually reaching the sea at Dawlish Town Beach. On its journey through Dawlish it drops over weirs and under bridges, passing through the Manor Gardens and The Lawn. You can observe the town's famous black swans along with many other species of and walk around the exotic plants and flowers along the Brook.
    The Brook joins the sea on the eastern side of the main sea wall, by passing under the railway viaduct built by Brunel
    This river runs through the gardens, providing that extra special finishing touch to this splendid location. As you walk along the edges of the Brook, you can watch the large numbers of trout feeding in the river, as it gently flows towards the sea, cascading over a series of small waterfalls.
    The Brook is the home to a great variety of ducks, swans and rare wildfowl. Black swans, swim gracefully along the river, gently guiding their cygnets as they navigate the river, and feed from the small weirs which interrupt the water's flow. You can view hatchlings in the specially constructed pens on the edge of the park. The whole area has a special feel to it, refreshing and tranquil.
                                                                               
                                                              

                  

    The Famous Dawlish Black Swan

    The black swans have been here since at least the early 1900`s and were introduced to the town from New Zealand by John Nash, a Dawlish-borne man who emigrated during adulthood but paid frequent visits to the town. The swan has been the town emblem for over forty years.
    The black swan is native to Australia and is found throughout much of the south-eastern and south-western parts. It is found on most wetlands, ranging from small well-vegetated freshwater swamps to large, open waters, including bays and inlets. The black swan is fully protected in all states and territories of Australia. The black swan of New Zealand is not native but was introduced from Australia, and is now
    considered a pest.
    In flight, the black swan has a very long slender neck and white flight feathers along the edge of its wings. The flight is slow with slow wing beats, and a high-pitched bugle is often uttered. Male and female have a similar appearance. Juveniles are grey-brown with black tips to the outer white flight feathers, and cygnets are light grey, downy with grey-black bills and feet.
       


    The town has a comprehensive programme of entertainment and events through out the summer months, based around the band stand in the park. With a theatre, museum and art gallery, along with an obstacle golf course.  Dawlish offers something for everyone.
    Dawlish is unique in having not one, but three beaches, Coryton Cove, Boat Cove
    and the main beach. The main beach runs along the edge of the town. It stretches for over a mile, passing Langstone Rock leading into the large beaches at Dawlish Warren. The main access to the beach is under the railway line. The beach has toilets near by as well as all the usual amenities, such as snacks and ice-cream sales. Fast foods, cafes and restaurants, are located in the main town, on the eastern edges of the Lawn.
    All manner of water-based activities can be enjoyed here, and in the near by estuaries of the river Exe and Teign.
    During the summer months the pleasure boats ply the coast, as well as the daily fishing trips and sea life cruises that can be taken around the bay.
    For those of you who like walking, the surrounding hills of Haldon have numerous footpaths, or enjoy the spectacular scenery by walking some of the coastal path.



                                            





    Water Mill    
    The Strand Mill in Brunswick Place is the only remaining mill in Dawlish. A working flour mill from 1717 until 1959, the wheel has been restored to turn by water and is one of the biggest in the country.


    The mill was originally built in 1717 and was constructed mainly to produce flour. Due to a serious fire in the early 1800s the mill was rebuilt and completed in 1825. The mill continued to operate until 1959.
    When the mill was in operation it was not unknown for up to 80 tons of wheat to be delivered in a day by horse and cart. All the power for lifting and grinding etc. came from the wheel by series of belts. Should one of the belts break or come off the whole building shook.
    Water to turn the wheel came from the Dawlish Brook, although now the wheel turns by pumping water from the sump pit of the wheel.  Nearly all of the internal machinery and mill stones are still in place and part are viewable from the Tea Room on the ground floor. Other parts are on the first, second and loft floors and could be viewed by appointment.




    The wheel has many unique features

    Firstly it is very rare for a mill to be in the centre of a town. The wheel itself is believed to be one of the largest in the country.
    The wheel is what is called a pitchback whereby the water enters at “11 o’clock” and consequently it turns anti-clockwise.
    There is a herring-bone power exchange gearing wheel inside the building, quite rare in wheel construction.
    Gearing teeth are made of apple wood and are strong and easy to repair.


    The project to restore the wheel was started in 1997 by a small group of local people who have been raising funds over the last few years by sponsorship, donations and various events. In 1999 a team of volunteers cleared out the sump of the wheel and there is an ongoing project to clear the leat feeding the wheel.
    Teignbridge District Council offered a donation of £10,000 in January 2003 from their conservation budget. This money not only had to be match funded but also had to be spent in that financial year. An all out effort was then made with the help of the Dawlish Conservation Trust.
    £5,000 was raised and this was match funded by the council so work was started. More sponsorship followed and with the help of an “Awards for All” lottery grant the target was reached just before the end of the financial year.
    Work began in the middle of November 2003 and had to be completed before the next visitor season when the Tea Room uses the yard to seat people.  The wheel was restarted on 5th May 2004 by the Mayor of  Dawlish, Cllr Bill Farrow with the wheel pumps turned on by Mr Bill Strickland, who turned it off some 45 years ago when he worked at the mill.



       

    The project to restore the wheel was started in 1997 by a small group of local people who have been raising funds over the last few years by sponsorship, donations and various events. In 1999 a team of volunteers cleared out the sump of the wheel and there is an ongoing project to clear the leat feeding the wheel.
    Teignbridge District Council offered a donation of £10,000 in January 2003 from their conservation budget. This money not only had to be match funded but also had to be spent in that financial year. An all out effort was then made with the help of the Dawlish Conservation Trust.
    £5,000 was raised and this was match funded by the council so work was started. More sponsorship followed and with the help of an “Awards for All” lottery grant the target was reached just before the end of the financial year.
    Work began in the middle of November 2003 and had to be completed before the next visitor season when the Tea Room uses the yard to seat people.  The wheel was restarted on 5th May 2004 by the Mayor of  Dawlish, Cllr Bill Farrow with the wheel pumps turned on by Mr Bill Strickland, who turned it off some 45 years ago when he worked at the mill.






    Shaftesbury Theatre

        Situated in Brunswick Place, the theatre runs programme all year around.

        Box Office 01626 863061





    Dawlish Museum

                                                       
                                       
              

        Knowle House was built as a gentleman's residence in 1805. It now houses various collections donated by the people of Dawlish.
        These collections include:
        ·        
    Victoriana, Militaria, Archives, Costume and Textiles 
        ·        
    Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Natural Sciences
        ·        
    Medicine, Weapons and War, Science and Technology
        ·        
    Social History, Land Transport, Local Industries and Crafts. 
        Dawlish Museum is now the home of the historic D-Day bagpipes.






         There are 11 galleries on three floors. Now open new education room, funded by HLF, for use by school groups and special parties.
         General Information: 
         * Wheelchair access to ground floor, stair lift to first floor
         * Video coverage of upper floors available
         * Toilets 
         * Parking 
         * Shop

         Opening Times

         1st May to 30th September:
         Monday to Friday 10.30am - 5.00pm. Saturday and Sunday, 2.00pm - 5.00pm.




    St Gregory`s Church  

     
    In 1438 the church of St Gregory was rebuilt. The date of the original building and its refurbishments are not recorded, although it is assumed one existed before this time probably on the same spot, and probably made of cob. The new building consisted of a nave, chancel and two isles with a western tower.
    Flat stones from a quarry at Torre were used for roofing, although this caused expense in the fore coming years as they tended to fall off during gale force winds. The church lasted for some 300 years, but by the 19th century was dilapidated. It was rebuilt in 1825.

    Sunday Services 

    Sung Eucharist
    Traditional Common Worship Sung Eucharist lasting just over an hour, with hymns, prayers, responses, intercessions, a choir anthem and a sermon.
    Every Sunday at 9:30 AM for 1 hour
    Family Service
    A 30-45 minute service, suitable for all of the family with worship, prayers and a talk. Communion happens twice a month and Baptisms once a month.
    Every Sunday at 11:15 AM for ¾ hour
    Journey to God
    A bi-monthly service led by the young people of the church with modern worship, interactive prayer and lively teaching.
    Every first and third Sunday at 7:30 PM for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
    Location:
    Church Street
    Dawlish 

                                       



    Dawlish Carnival
    Held in August – a huge event both for locals and visitors alike.
       
    For 2012, Dawlish Air Show has changed its format from being one day in August, to a two day event in June, providing Dawlish with a fitting end to the Town's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.As well as...
    07/06/2012 to 07/06/2012
    A family run tearoom offering light lunches, Devon Cream teas, homemade cakes, freshly ground coffee & speciality teas.Open Daily, Come & see the huge waterwheel and read all about the Old...
    The Langstone Cliff Hotel, Dawlish is set amongst 20 acres of wooded grounds, with the added benefit of overlooking the sea. It has 5 rooms licensed for Civil Wedding Ceremonies which...