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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Kingsbridge, Market and Quayside

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas SEPTEMBER. 30, 2020

I did a photo walk of Kingsbridge yesterday which ended up being far more productive than I had hoped. So I have divided the post into two neat halves, with the Quayside and Market being one and then the town proper being the second. The market is held every Tuesday right on the Quayside and there is a great atmosphere, particularly on a beautiful autumn day. The quay looks very different according to the tide which yesterday was well out. The leaves on the trees are already turning.

The very low tide means there was not much boating activity but there were some interesting shots to be had from the boats stored on the slipway.

The Quayside Leisure Centre nestles in the trees above the quayside. Best spot really if you're going to call yourself Quayside Leisure Centre.

I think I may have mentioned this little statue before but I have an urge to photograph it whenever I walk past. To give an idea of scale the heads of the figures are about golf ball size. I think it is a really beautiful thing in some ways because of it's tiny scale. There is too much public art now that works on the idea of "think of an object and then make one fifty feet high". I have learned from previous attempts to photograph it to de-cobweb it first. You tend not to notice the fine webs on it but the camera does when they catch the light. So yesterday I was dusting and polishing their little faces, probably looking like the local village idiot. Anyway I am pleased I made the effort.

The sculpture by Jim Martin, was unveiled by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent in September 2019, President of the R.N.L.I.

It represents the Lifeboat "Rescue" launched from the quay in Kingsbridge in September 1869 and it was unveiled 150 years to the day of that original launch. The benefactor of "Rescue" was a Mr Richard Durrant whose daughter said these words to mark the launch.

"May this lifeboat realise the object of it's Institution. I send it forth on it's mission of mercy before the tempest-driven and shipwrecked mariners under the name Rescue and I ask you all to join with me in prayer, God Bless the Rescue!".

Many many people whose lives were saved did indeed bless both it and the many volunteer rescuers who manned her, in turn risking their own lives.

Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer (1987) is a memoir written by Peter Wright, former MI5 officer and Assistant Director, and co-author Paul Greengrass. He drew from his own experience and research into the history of the British intelligence community. Published first in Australia, the book was banned in England due to its allegations about government policy and incidents. These efforts ensured the book's notoriety, and it earned considerable profit for Wright. Wright examines the techniques of intelligence services, exposes their ethics (speculative until that time), notably their "eleventh commandment", "Thou shalt not get caught."

Some things never change then. I remember this being huge news for many weeks and I bought my illicit copy when on a trip to New York. The banning of the book ultimately became a bit of a farce when it eventually transpired that it was so secret that the entire world knew it's contents apart from anyone in Britain who hadn't managed to get hold of a copy. And those who hadn't got hold of a copy probably didn't care. Here it is now openly on sale next to an autobiography of Alan Carr, a camp TV presenter who some people think is amusing.

Kingsbridge takes its name from an old bridge linking the royal estates of Chillington and Alvington. The bridge was established by the 10th century. The town gained a market charter in 1219 and became a borough in 1238. Throughout the medieval period, the manor of Kingsbridge was owned by the Abbey of Buckfast.

The prosperity of Kingsbridge was traditionally based on the weaving trade, but by the Victorian era an active shipping industry grew up, with tanning and shipbuilding making the harbour area a bustling place.

Today Kingsbridge is popular for leisure boating and offers an opportunity for water sports and coastal walks. The town has very good access to lovely beaches such as Hope Cove and Slapton Sands.

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