Rope Walk

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The most famous landmark in Newton Abbot. connected with the Newfoundland Trade is the Rope Walk in East Street. It was owned by the Shobbrook family.

It extended 140 yards to Hopkins Lane and there was a second rope walk which ran parallel to it. The existing walk was built by Samuel Yeo in 1882. Samuel left it to his son Ephriam, who built the tiny chapel called the East Street Room. There were two rooms which contained the various materials used in the manufacturing of rope, including coils of hemp imported from Bengal, and tallow and tar with which the coiled fibre was impregnated to make it waterproof. There was a windlass worked by a horse to coil the fibre.

Ephriam Yeo invented a machine which made the rope making process more efficient. He applied for a patent for his invention in 1876.
The Rope Walk was inherted by Ephriams Nephew, John Brewer, and then to his son Charles. Charles Brewer was the last of the line to carry on the rope making business.

The rope making machine that twisted the imported hemp and sisal fibres into one long yarn, worked on the same principle as the ancient spinning wheel and any size of rope could be manufactured by just doubling up the input of fibres. As one length was completed it was set aside to be used later. In the final build up three such twisted yarns were taken and laid at the same time, multiples of up to 36 strands could be made in this way depending on the customers requirements.

During the war the walk was used as a rifle range.