Hesketh Crescent, Torquay
Google Street View (approximate)
The second phase in the expansion of Torquay began when Torre railway station was opened on 18 December 1848. The improved transport connections resulted in rapid growth at the expense of nearby towns not on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railways. The more central Torquay railway station was opened on 2 August 1859 with views of the sea from the platforms. After the growth of the preceding decades, Torquay was granted borough status in 1892. Torquay Tramways operated electric street trams from 1907. They were initially powered by the unusual Dolter stud-contact electrification so as not to disfigure the town with overhead wires, but in 1911, was converted to more conventional overhead-line supply. The line was extended into Paignton in 1911 but the network was closed in 1934.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Torquay Lifeboat Station was at the Ladies Bathing Cove from 1876 until 1923. A second lifeboat was kept at the harbour from 1917 until 1928. Torquay was regarded as a “Spa Town” after the Marine Spa was built on Beacon Hill near the harbour. Originally called the “Bath Saloons complex”, it had an open air tide-filled swimming bath. The complex was opened in 1853 after Beacon Hill headland was dynamited to make space for it. Charles Dickens was said to have made readings there.
You can’t get much more of a ‘traditional British seaside’ resort than the vibrant and cheerful town of Torquay. Set at the very heart of the English Riviera on the South Devon Coast, Torquay is famous for its sandy beaches, family attractions and genteel Victorian appearance. Made famous by the legendary comedy series Fawlty Towers, Torbay is distinctly Mediterranean and is a family favourite with plenty of attractions and things to do.
Torquay was a relatively minor settlement until the mid 19th Century when the railway linked it to the rest of the UK. The improved transport connections saw Torquay expand rapidly to cater for the area’s popularity with the Victorian’s desire to explore everything and everywhere, including the furthest flung corners of Britain. After the First World War the Great Western Railway Company extensively promoted Torquay, helping the town to become a major UK holiday resort.
Visit South Devon
Hesketh Crescent was commissioned by Sir Lawrence Palk, the Fourth Baronet who was elevated to a peerage in 1880 and became ‘Lord Haldon, of Haldon, Devon’ and after whom Haldon Pier and Haldon Road were named. The crescent was designed by the brothers William and John Harvey and was completed in 1848, taking two years to construct. It has been reported as being ‘The finest crescent of houses in the west of England’ and John Wilson wrote “The Regency ideals of London and Brighton reached their highest in the building of Hesketh Crescent.” The crescent originally called ‘Meadfoot Crescent’ was renamed ‘Hesketh Crescent’ in 1849 after the first fruit of Sir Lawrence’s marriage to Maria Hesketh in 1845; their first son was called Sir Lawrence Hesketh Palk. The Palk family had been notable landowners in and around Torquay for generations and produced the first town plan for Torquay.
The Osborne Apartments
Torre Abbey Sands and Promenade, Torquay
Google Street View.
Torre Abbey Sands is an excellent long sandy beach west of Torquay harbour and is located along the seafront in Torquay. This is the main beach for Torquay and is popular with holidaymakers from the surrounding hotels, day visitors and locals. The sandy beach is great for making sandcastles and rests between rock headlands which provide a safe sheltered area.