Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Past Re-visited - N.Devon

As we had use of Dan's car, we all squeezed in and travelled up to the small and charming town of Lynton. Made famous by the travelling curiousity of the Victorians, they would have come by the narrow gauge railway from Barnstaple.
The former splendour of the time can be seen by their majestic Town Hall.

How to get down from Lynton to the sea front?
The Victorians simply built a vertical railway (actually about 45 degrees). Constructed in 1888 and completed in 1890, it drops the 400ft to the sea front at Lynmouth. It runs on the gravity of water from a tank fed by a local stream. Needing 2 drivers via a bell system, the top carriage tank is filled with water. When ready, the lower driver winds off the brake and releases water – when the tanks balance the rail carriages begin to move up to about 12mph when a governor puts on the brake. 400ft in about 4 minutes – all with a renewable source! Not bad for 1888!
Passing round each other …

Arriving at the Lynmouth Station

Lynmouth has special significance for us Woolfords as this is where my Mum and Dad came for their honeymoon in 1947 (I think?). My Dad said they stayed at the rather grand Tors Hotel.

As children we came to visit many times (and we have brought our children here in turn).
The visits always had a poignancy for us as our parents re-called the terrible flood disaster of 1952 when an extremely severe storm caused a flash flood sweeping down the valley at night and 34 people died. A small museum recalls the events of that night and the aftermath.
As it happens, we were there on the 60th Anniversary of that fateful night 15th August 1952.
This Rhienes Tower was rebuilt after the floods, as was the harbour.

Cottages that did survive with a holidaymaker

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