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Bradshaw’s Guide

From Royal Hotel, Dawlish, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


Dawlish, one of the stations of the South Devon Railway, is one of the prettiest places along the coast to pass a quiet summer month. Within the last century, rising from a mere fishing village to the dignity of a fashionable watering-place, it has become extended from the valley in which it lies to a considerable distance east and west; and though the incursion of the railroad has materially affected the fine expanse of the esplanade, it still possesses an excellent beach, bounded on the east by the Langstone Cliffs, and on the west by the rocks familiarly known by the appellation of the Parson and Clerk. The bathing is exceedingly good, and the facilities afforded for its enjoyment admirably arranged. The houses, built in handsome terraces along the sides of the hill and strand, and fronted by lawns and gardens, are very handsome and picturesque, the majority of them commanding an ample sea view. The parish church is at the upper end of the town, and was partly rebuilt in 1824, being rendered sufficiently commodious to accommodate a congregation of nearly two thousand people. There is a good organ, and a handsome window of stained glass in the interior.

The walks and drives in the vicinity of the town are remarkably pretty and interesting, the shady lanes at the back, winding through the declivity of the hills, affording an endless variety of inland and marine scenery. The climate is considered more genial even than that of Torquay; but so nearly do these places approximate that, for all general purposes, the remarks made upon the atmospherical characteristics of Torquay will be found equally applicable to those of Dawlish. Of late years, considerable improvement has been effected in the watching and lighting arrangements of the town, and some new buildings have added much to its external beauty. A new church in the Gothic style, St. Mark’s, has recently been erected. Circulating libraries and hotels, with the other usual accessories to a fashionable marine resort, are numerous and well provided, and the excursionist may here crown the enjoyments of the day with such a stroll on the beach by moonlight as can be obtained at few other places. One of the most delightful excursions in the neighbourhood is to Luscombe Park, the seat of Hoare, Esq. Good facilities for boating and fishing by applying to Coombe, a trustworthy old seaman.

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