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BYGONES: A key moment in history as new road links harbour to Torre Abbey

By Herald Express  |  Posted: March 23, 2014

  • Smoke Rising

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PHOTOGRAPHS of Torquay don't come any earlier than this and they record a key moment in the history of the resort — the linking of Torquay harbour with Torre Abbey with the construction of a road along the base of the cliffs.

The pictures were taken in 1856, less than 10 years after the railway had arrived ensuring the town's development and prosperity.

The first picture shows the turnpike and toll house.

The tolls ranged from 6d for any trap or carriage with not more than three wheels to one shilling per beast drawing any heavy vehicle.

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The toll house survives although the chimneys are much shorter.

It was used as a gardener's cottage after the Royal Terrace Gardens were opened in 1893 then converted into public toilets.

The toll house keeper has a nice little vegetable garden tucked in beside the cliff.

In the distance is the newly completed Medical Baths which would be expanded in to the Marine Spa.

Beacon Hill rises above it. The limestone outcrop would be quarried away in 1870 to provide stone for Haldon Pier.

The second picture is looking the other way.

There is smoke rising from the toll house chimneys.

Work has started on the Abbey Crescent, a row of smart terraced houses that would be converted into the Palm Court Hotel and adjoining cafes in later years, now partly demolished for a complete rebuild.

Let's hope we are at the start of another wave of investment in the resort after years of stagnation.

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