top of page
  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods August 2021 Part 1

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas SEPTEMBER. 01, 2021

The weather hasn't been too bad in the second half of the month so we have been out and about as much as we can. In addition I have done two proper photo walks in Modbury and Slapton. Three posts for Modbury are already up with one still to come. I am giving Modbury a rest to catch up on my Odds and Sods, as unbelievably we are already in September.

We have had some daytime high tides so there has been quite a bit of boating activity with huge numbers of holidaymakers present in the area. We don't often see sails in the creek so this was a pleasant change. We mostly see kayaks and paddle boards. This may be because the creek is quite shallow most of the time.

It is also nice when the sunset coincides with high tide especially now the sun is moving around to face the head of the creek.

We tend to avoid Dartmouth in high season but if we do go, we go early. Before we moved down here we used to stay in a B&B in Anzac Street. If you are thinking Anzac seems like a strange name you are probably not in Australia, or New Zealand, as this acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

The naming of this street is a tangled web of war and loyalties involving the British Royal family and their origins. In 1714 The Act of Settlement demanded that all monarchs had to be Protestant. This resulted in many potential Royal jobseekers not being best qualified for the job. George I (or just George, as you don't use the number if you are first) probably never expected to be King of England, in fact he might not even have been able to find it on a map until he woke up one day to discover that at 52nd in line to the British throne the other 51 contenders in the queue ahead of him turned out to be Catholics.

If the telephone had been invented, that would have been quite a call. There he would have been reading the newspapers over coffee in the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) one morning when he would have been handed the receiver by his butler and a very plummy British voice would have said is that George Ludwig Prince-Elector of Hanover? Yes. Well you are now the King of England, Your Majesty.

Queen Anne who had just died was his second cousin and even her half brother was a Catholic. If planes had been invented, he would have been on the next flight. It's not everyone who inherits a nation and starts a new dynasty, the Hanoverians on the same day. To celebrate, the people of Dartmouth named this tiny street Hanover Street.

Fast forward to 1917. Now we are at war with Germany and being German is not healthy, even the Hanoverians living in Buckingham Palace decided some PR was in order. George V picked the small town near his big castle, Windsor as his new family name, not a lot of effort required there.

There were a lot of George's as the royals have trouble coming up with new names. Here are some quick suggestions, Kendrick, Lamarr, Dababy, Pusha, and Logic to be going along with. Even Prince William has defaulted to yet another George for his son and his father Charles is also a George.

The people of Dartmouth wanting to sweep the name Hanover under the rug in 1917, decided to honour a group of men who had suffered huge losses in the Battle of Gallipoli. The campaign was intended to remove the Ottoman Empire from the war and thereby weaken Germany whose ally they were. Unfortunately the whole endeavour was a logistical nightmare leading to 8,141 Australian deaths and 2,779 New Zealanders. Mel Gibson starred in the film of the same name which realistically portrayed the horror and bloodshed.

The town of Dartmouth was originally a town of two halves split in two by a tidal inlet. In the thirteenth century a man made bank called the Foss, was built to bridge the inlet, this eventually acted as a dam for two tidal mills where the market stands today. Foss Street follows the line of the Foss. A similar dam can still be seen today at Stoke Gabriel further up river.

At the market is a stall selling fish and here is the clue.

Summer means a lot of boats on the Dart and this is a view through the mayhem of masts and dinghies to Kingswear the other side.

The Butterwalk below. A covered area for the sale of dairy products, kept cool in the shade.

The Cardiff Castle, one of the larger pleasure boats on the Dart.

The roof of the bandstand in Victoria Park, recently restored.

Classic Dartmouth view. The former merchants houses which originally fronted the quayside, now set back behind reclaimed land. Land was always at a premium because of the steep sided valley, so much of the flatter areas of the town centre are all on reclaimed land.

Yes, that house below is leaning alarmingly, and yes they know about it. It's probably been leaning like that for two hundred years.

There is a man in the top window, so before you ask, yes I have alerted the police and he had only been held hostage for three and a half years and has now been set free, thanks to this photo. Who could have guessed that those few seconds of freedom when he had escaped his handcuffs would have been the very moment I took this photo.

Below is the main road out of Kingswear. You can tell there were serious shortages during lockdown because they all had to just make do with any paint colour they could get.

The South Embankment is the new quayside, so this building is recent and therefore mock Tudor. But they really went to town on it.

This is the rest of the building above the Butterwalk. The Dartmouth Butterwalk is one of the finest rows of merchants' houses dating from the first half of the 17th century anywhere in England. It was built on reclaimed land as part of the same scheme which created the New Quay. The row is dated 1635 and 1640. It was renovated in the 1950s after severe bomb blast damage in 1943. It was therefore built shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I so technically not Elizabethan but definitely not mock Tudor either, more Jacobean as James I acceded to the throne after the death of Elizabeth. So although this building was built during the Stuart dynasty and Jacobean period, most people would probably still describe it as Elizabethan in style.

The seagulls however have no taste in architecture and prefer the mock Tudor.

Cockington Village was probably founded 2,500 years ago during the Iron Age with evidence of two hill forts on either side of Cockington valley. Little is known about Cockington from that point up until the remains of a small Saxon village were found near the Drum Inn. The evidence from this village shows that it was primarily a fishing and farming village. The first official documentation of the village was in the 10th century. Since that time records show that it has been held by only three different families until 1932 when it was sold to the Torquay Corporation.

Below is part of the stables area, now a craft centre.

Cockington Church which has been estimated to have been standing since 1069 was built by William de Falaise. He is mentioned in the Domesday Book as owning 17 different manors in Devon. He must have been a quick mover because the Norman's only invaded in 1066 so he was building churches three years later. The carved rood screen dates from the 15th century.

Next to the church seen here through the window is Cockington Court the centre piece of the estate.

The Grade II listed, thatched Drum Inn, below, is the local public house and restaurant in Cockington. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it opened in 1936 and cost £7,000 to build. Covering 522 square metres, it uses 16th century styled bricks, made in Belgium to Lutyens specifications. The two largest chimney stacks are evocative of the shape of another Lutyens creation, the Cenotaph in London. The Drum Inn occupies the site of a former sawmill and was the flagship project of Cockington Trust Ltd, who were proposing to build a new village. It was the only building they were able to complete before the village was sold in 1946.

The irony of listing properties is that the former sawmill that occupied the site would probably be listed today had this building not replaced it and become listed itself. I intend to do a more detailed post on Cockington village at a later date as there is much to see.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page