Sunday, 1 March 2009

Sunny Torquay ;-)

I've always tried so hard to like Torquay!
But the truth is that I don't like the place that much...and I am so sorry if this offends anyone!
I think because it gets so heaving, in the summer, with what we in Devon call 'grocks' or 'grockles', I have always tried to avoid it between the months of April and October.
That said, we went there for a leisurely stroll, earlier today!
And Torquay actually looked quite appealing in the sun!
The harbour area has been vastly improved and of course there is always the chance to visit the wonderful 'Living Coasts' if you are in the area.

The Pavilion, a beautiful building from the outside, is not what it used to be inside...full of what I call naff shops! A far cry from bygone days, when 'fine things' occured there!

The Pavilion was built on a site formed partly of land reclaimed from the sea.

Henry Augustus Garrett, Borough Engineer of Torbay laid out the Princess Gardens, the Terrace Walk, Pier Pavilion and Torquay Pavilion: the work lasted from 1890-1930.

The architect of the Pavilion was Edward Rogers, winner of a competition in 1896, who, with H C Goss drew up the final plans, which were passed in 1903. Because of Rogers’s death, construction started only in 1911, the work having been taken over by Garrett.
The facing tiles, in Doulton’s Carrara enamelled stoneware made the Pavilion appear like a white Palace.
The impressive central copper-covered dome was topped with a life size figure of Britannia.

Two smaller domes on each side of the entrance were surmounted by copper figures of Mercury.

Fine cast ironwork in Art Nouveau style edged the steps to the promenade deck and the octagonal bandstands or summerhouses. Other exterior decorations were of flowers, urns topped with pineapples, scrolls, etc.

Opened in 1912, there was a foyer and auditorium with lounges and cafe, all oak-panelled and elegantly plastered. There was a curved balcony, stained glass and potted palms, with open-air promenade and tea garden. A Municipal Orchestra was founded.

In the 1970s, demolition was proposed but the building was listed in 1973. It closed in 1976, when it was leased to Rank and the interior was destroyed in adaptations for various types of amusements including, later, skating. Today it is a shopping arcade, but the exterior is well preserved...thankfully!

And of course, Torquay is famous for its palms.

And one or two well known people ...

If you are a visitor to Torquay it is worth checking out 'Bygones' at St Marychurch.

I really do recommend it, having taken classes of children here.

And then , when you've done that, nip over to Wellswood and do the very famous Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves:

And , lo and behold, I noticed this!!
All in all, I suppose Torquay does have some appeal ;-)
As we walked past the Triton gallery, I glanced in the window...Paris...
Henderson Cisz!
And I decided that the day could have been could have been raining..


Kitty said...

One of my closest friends in the whole wide world lives in Torquay. I haven't visited for way too long. x

Floss said...

What a lovely tour - thanks so much. We spent some happy Easters in Torquay, before the bulk of the Grockles had arrived. Prior to that, a boyfriend of mine bought himself an 'I'm not a grockle, I live here' badge, and wore it proudly!

I agree that the main areas of Torquay are a bit disappointing, but wandering round, you do find some places of real character. My grandparents lived in Brixham when I was a child and I guess that's when I first visited it.

Si Kophant said...

I am duty bound not to like Torquay either, due to being a Brixham boy. Local rivalry runs deep and true.
Today however it was quite pleasant. I could not however help but reminisce on Torquay's better days, especially when I see fine buildings converted as well as the proliferation of clone shops. I appreciate that Torquay does not stand alone in this regard.
Whether the weather be wet or dry it was still a lovely place to be today, as your hand was in mine.

Simone said...

Torquay looks mighty fine from your photos! I bet the pavilion was beautiful in its heyday. It would be lovely to go back in time a take a peek inside!

Floss said...

Hello to the Brixham connection - my Grandpa was the bursar of the British Seamen's Boys' Home, and lived just opposite it in a lovely (although frequently flooded) house by the cliff.

Menopausal musing said...

Thanks for the tour. I "did" Weston Supermare recently on a rather duller day. Hope to post soon with regard to it. Lovely photos, by the way. x

Rosie said...

I remember visiting Torquay as a child - we used to stay each year at the same guest house in Teignmouth and visited placed like Shaldon, Brixham and Paignton as well. I think it was Torquay where we went to see Ken Dodd:)

Josie-Mary said...

ha ha ha grockles remind me of my dad... we could never go anywhere in the summer 'cos they drove him mad!! Some lovely facts about Torquay, I haven't been for years. It was always my birthday treat to see the lights in the park.... no xbox for me!!! Have a good week x

Isobel said...

What a lovely sunny pictures! Can't wait for lovely summer days to come. :)

She'sSewPretty said...

I loved your tour of Torquay. I'm assuming that grockles are tourists. I can imagine that it is probably full of them during the holidays.

Rosie said...

Thanks for that as I have never been to Torquay and really enjoyed your tour.

ethel and edna's tearoom said...

hee hee It was nice on Sunday wasn't it. A great sailing day! We popped over from Brixham on Sunday lunchtime (well 3.30), stuffed our faces in the Harvester next to Living Coasts and then pootled back again. It was a bit gusty and we had a few hairy moments heeling over a bit oo far for my nephew's liking but it blew away the cobwebs.
Didn't go wandering round as we were a bit pushed for time but I know what you mean about Torquay. You've definitely featured the best 'highlights' in your pictures.
If we ever move down I shall head the other way for shopping wherever possible. Totnes may not be as easy to get to but is soooo much nicer. :O)

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Sal,
Heehee..we were some of those grockles in Torquay last year!!
(I know how you feel, living in a touristy city ourselves...makes doing the regular shopping a bit difficult sometimes.)
We loved the 'Living Coasts' (had my skirt hem nibbled by a penguin) and also visited 'Bygones' - would have loved to have taken home some of the items 'for sale' in the old shops....

Good luck with your bathroom make-over,
Niki x

Amy said...

Thanks for the tour. It's fun to see places across the ocean right in front of me on my computer screen!
I have enjoyed seeing all your lovely crafty things you make and peeks into your craft room too!

galant said...

My comment, which I left yesterday, wouldn't 'take' and I lost it all, but I mentioned all the lovely shops that I remember from Torquay in the 1950s and early 1960s, such as Russell & Bromley, Jaeger (Lady Isobel Barnet who used to be panelist on the TV show What's My Line opened the shop when it was new in Torquay - it was where the Fleet Walk is today) and the department stores such as Rockhey's (from where my wedding dress came), Williams & Cox, which had two stores - one for clothes and one for carpets and furniture and soft furnishings, there the Pizza place is on the Strand today, Bobby's which is now Debenhams and which, also along the Strand, had its own lovely restaurant, and Mogridges, which was at the bottom end of Union Street, with the junction of Abbey Road, and which wasn't quite as up market as the other three. And there was a delightful grocers called Shapleys, at the bottom of Fleet Street, where you could buy 'forgeign' cheeses which your local International or David Grieg didn't stock! That was there I had my first taste of Gorgonzola cheese in the early 1950s! Strange what triggers such memories, but your lovely photos of Torquay have done just that. Oh, and there was a gorgeous music shop at the top of Union Street called Paish, where not only you could buy sheet music and 78 rpm records (in the days before LPs!) but also pianos. Imagine a shop selling grand pianos today in Torquay!!!
Margaret Powling

galant said...

By one of those strange coincides which dog my live, a friend mentioned the grocers in Torquay which, in the comment above, I called Shapleys. The grocer I had in mind was Slades. Shapleys was also a grocer, but not on the Strand but in Cary Parade (it later became the Peter Scott hairdressing salon and was near Whitnalls, the record shop.) Appologies for anyone who has read my comment and said "No, that wasn't Shapleys ..."
Margaret Powling