Transcribed from - Morris and Co.'s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer. 1870
Please notify me of any errors. Contact.
Transcribed by David GALE
Checked by Val HENDERSON
Pages 378 - 379
WESTWARD HO! is a hamlet of Northam parish, which has lately risen into notoriety as a new and charming watering-place; 2½ miles north-west from Bideford, and 222 from London, by London and South-Western Railway, and 242 by Great Western Railway. It formerly consisted of a small farm-house, and a dining or pic-nic shed, known as Youngaton Farm, to which house numbers resorted to enjoy a day on the beach and pebble ridge. In February, 1854, the first stone was laid by the Countess of Portsmouth, and by her named Westward Ho! The first idea was simply to build an hotel and a few villas, but so extremely bracing and pure was the air found to be, and so conducive to health for persons suffering from chest and other complaints, that several eminent medical men sent their patients, and at their suggestion large houses, with every comfort, were built, and this led to the erection of shops and rows of terraces, which now adorn this beautiful watering-place. The lands of adjoining owners, besides those of the original company, have been laid out as one whole, and forms the plan of a town nearly a mile in length. The site, which looks upon the Bay of Bideford, Hartland Point, Lundy Island, and Mort Bay, embraces also the estuary of the river Torridge and Taw, and the Exmoor hills in the distance. The vessels waiting to come over the bar, and sailing up the river Taw, form an exquisite panorama. The town has grown rapidly, and the pier and railway, which will give great facilities for access by sea and land, will, no doubt, increase its popularity. Amongst the curiosities to be seen are the pebbly ridge, the raised beach, and the submarine forest. The long yellow sands are delightful, and the rocks and pools extending for miles towards Bucks and Clovelly abound with fish, shells, and the flowers of the sea, and are the resort of zoophites, sea anemonies, &c. The bathing pools and large swimming baths are much appreciated, and the visitors may enjoy hot or cold salt-water baths at all seasons, and every state of the tide. The church was built by voluntary subscriptions, and is to be supported by an offertory, the seats all being free. The materials are chiefly from the neighbourhood; the stone from Kenwith and Westward Ho! quarries, the granite facings from Lundy Island, and tiles for the roof and flooring from the well-known Torridge Tile Works. It is in the Early Pointed style, and consists of nave 60 ft. by 20 ft., chancel 32 ft. by 18 ft., chancel aisle 19 ft. by 9 ft., north and south aisles 60 ft. by 9 ft., organ chambers 10 ft. by 9ft., vestry on north side of chancel, south porch and western narthex 20 ft. by 7 ft., the height from nave floor to ridge of roof being 40 ft. There is a bell turret 18 ft. high, with two bells, over the chancel arch. The cost was about £1700. Mr. W. C. Oliver, of Barnstaple, was the architect, and Mr. J. C. Tremear the builder.
The drainage of the place is very complete, and was the subject of inspection by order of the Secretary of State, and the plans approved. The water is of the purest known in this district, and rises at the tops of the hills free from any possible pollution. The Burrow, a Common of nearly 1000 acres in extent, is free to the public, and for riding, walking, or games, cannot be surpassed. It forms also the finest known golf links in Great Britain, and the Royal North Devon and West of England Golf Clubs under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, hold their meetings annually at Whitsuntide and October. The Royal Athletic Club, under the presidency of the Duke of Edinburgh, is also held here, its prizes are open to all the world. The ladies' Golf Club is in a very flourishing condition, numbering upwards of 100 members, and the North Devon and Westward Ho! The Archery Club hold their meetings here every week from May to October. The House Dog, Flower, and Poultry Show, is held here annually in June or July, and has become most popular and successful. Many curiosities have been found, flint flakes, the horns of deer, &c., and the roots of trees with leaves and branches are very visible under the sand, and the scene which has been visited by Professor Phillips, Sir Charles Lyall, and other eminent men, presents peculiar interest to geologists.
In 1865 a company was formed, entitled the "Northern Pier Company (Limited)" for "the purpose of providing a handsome and commodious promenade and landing pier, available for the embarking and disembarking of passengers and goods from steam boats, &c., in the Bay, and thus preventing delays arising from a tidal bar harbour." The Pier will be built with wrought and cast-iron columns, with transverse girders and a T head, it will be 550 feet long, and will extend beyond the breakers; the head being in the great waves of the Atlantic, with 35 feet of water at high tides. It will be light and elegant in appearance, but sufficiently strong to allow of vessels coming alongside in moderate weather. The capital consists of 800 shares of £10 each, the estimated cost of the Pier if £5500, and the contractor, Mr. Gooch, has undertaken to complete it in four months from the 1st June, weather permitting, but at all events to open it in six months from that daty*.
THE ROYAL FAMILY HOTEL, which has lately been erected, will be found replete with every convenience and comfort, and is most beautifully situated, commanding views both by sea and land, in connection with which is also a large and convenient villa for the accommodation of families preferring a private residence; and villa residences and terraces, containing private lodging-houses, are rapidly springing up, so that the visitor will find every accommodation at this thriving and salubrious watering-place.
* daty - should this read 'date' or 'day'?
Please feel free to use the information on this page for your own personnel research, but please DO NOT use it for commercial purposes or financial gain. Thankyou.
© 2001 Transcriber and Checker as named above.