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About Torquay - Famous People

Torquay and Torbay has several people of reknown:

Famous People:

 

Agatha Christie

 

 Agatha Christie

Born in Torquay, Devon. Born 1890. Died 1976 - English writer, creator of Miss Marple and Poirot. Educated at home. Wrote more than 70 detective novels many featuring the popular characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. West End productions of her stories included The Spider’s Web, Witness for the Prosecution and The Mousetrap. Wrote six romantic novels under pseudonym Mary Westmacott. In 1971 rceived Order of Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Arthur Leyland Harrison VC

 Arthur Leyland Harrison VC

Born in 1886 at Carlsbad Villa (now Mount Vernon) in Higher Erith Road, Torquay. A limestone and granite monument was erected at Roundham Head, Paignton in 2000 as a tribute to the rugby union international and naval officer who was posthumously awarded his country’s highest honour for courage following a raid on Zeebrugge in April 1918

Charles Kingsley

 Charles Kingsley

Author of The Water Babies and Westward Ho! stayed at Livermead House, Torquay, with his wife and children in 1854. His research of marine biology along the seashore resulted in the publication of Glaucus.

Eden Phillpotts

 Eden Phillpotts

The ‘Hardy of Devon‘, best known for his Dartmoor cycle of 18 novels and the comic play The Farmer’s Wife (later made into a silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock), became a Freeman of the Borough of Torquay in 1921.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Stayed at the Bath Saloons (now the Regina Hotel) in Torquay to benefit her health from 1838-41. During this period the poems she wrote include De Profundis and The Cry of the Children.

Elizabeth Goudge

 Elizabeth Goudge

In 1939, she moved to Providence Cottage, Marldon and the district featured in such children’s stories and novels as Smokey House, Gentian Hill and Green Dolphin Country.

Flora Thompson

 Flora Thompson

Settled at Lauriston, off New Road, Brixham in 1940 where she wrote her classics on country life, Candleford Green and Still Glides the Stream.

Isaac Singer

 Isaac Singer

The American sewing machine magnate who fathered more than twenty children spent the five years up to his death in 1875 at Oldway. His son Paris Singer had an affair with the dancer Isadora Duncan.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

 Isambard Kingdom Brunel

During a railway survey of South Devon, Brunel fell in love with Torbay and bought 135 acres of land at Watcombe in 1847. His premature death in 1859 occurred before the house he had designed could be built, although the gardens he planted now form Brunel Woods, where a modern sculpture now stands commemorating his life.

John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee

 John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee

Convicted of murder in 1885, he mysteriously survived three attempts to execute him at Exeter Gaol. He was eventually released after serving a life sentence.

Napoleon Bonaparte

 Napoleon Bonaparte

Following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the former Emperor of France became a major tourist attraction when he was brought to Torbay on a ‘man o’ war’ en route to exile on St Helena in July 1815. The distinguished prisoner was impressed with his first sight of Torbay and commented Quel bon pays! (What a lovely country!).

Oliver Heaviside

 Oliver Heaviside

Eccentric mathematician and physicist, best known for his prediction that a layer exists in the earth’s atmosphere off which radio signals can bounce, lived at Palace Avenue. Paignton and later Homefield, Lower Warberry Road, Torquay, where he is said to have papered the walls with unpaid bills before his death in 1925.

Oscar Wilde

 Oscar Wilde

Wrote A Woman of No Importance whilst staying at Babbacombe Cliff during the winter of 1892/93.

Peter Cook  Peter Cook Born in Torquay, Devon. Born 1937. Died 1995 - English comedian and actor. Co-wrote and performed in the revue Beyond the Fringe (1960) and its sequel. Worked with Dudley Moore in the television programme Not Only….But Also (1965-71). Film appearances included The Wrong Box (1966), The Secret Policeman’s Ball (1979) and The Princess Bride (1987). Co-founder of the magazine Private Eye and The Establishment club in London.

Prince William of Orange

 Prince William of Orange

In November 1688, Brixham was the cradle of the ‘Bloodless Revolution‘. Prince William of Orange landed at the port and went on to claim the throne as King William III. To mark the bicentenary a statue of the monarch was commissioned and unveiled a year later on the quay. The 300th Anniversary was celebrated in July 1988 with a week of festivities. HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh joined in the celebrations and stayed in the Bay overnight onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Sir Richard Francis Burton

 Richard Burton Born in Torquay, Devon. Born 1821. Died 1890 - Trieste - English explorer, linguist and diplomat. Largely self-educated, won a place at Oxford. Spoke twenty-nine European, Asian, and African languages. Served in India under Sir Charles Napier. Known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa including travelling in disguise to Mecca. Explored the east coast of Africa and led an expedition which discovered Lake Tanganyika. Wrote numerous books including First Footsteps in East Africa (1851) and a translation of The Arabian Nights (1885-88). Knighted in 1886. 

Rudyard Kipling

 Rudyard Kipling

Lived at Rock House, Maidencombe, in 1896 and experienced an overpowering atmosphere which made him feel depressed. The building is thought to have been the inspiration for his ghost story The House Surgeon.

Rupert Allason

 Rupert Allason

Authority on the subject of espionage using the pseudonym Nigel West. Served as Conservative MP for Torbay 1987-97 and was humorously dubbed MP for the Bermuda Triangle when he chose to holiday to the Caribbean when his party narrowly avoided defeat in a vote of confidence in John Major’s government.

Sir Francis Drake

 Sir Francis Drake

Defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588 and held 400 prisoners in the Tithe Barn at Torre Abbey. Circumnavigated the world in 1580 and a replica of his ship the Golden Hind has been a popular tourist attraction in Brixham harbour since 1964.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

 Sir Humphrey Gilbert

The ‘Father of Colonisation’ who claimed Newfoundland for the Crown was born in 1539 at Greenway Court, Galmpton, which was also home to his illustrious half-brother Sir Walter Raleigh.

William Froude

 William Froude

Naval architect who built Chelston Cross (now Manor House), Seaway Lane, Torquay in 1867. There he constructed a water tank to test scale models of experimental warship designs for the Admiralty.

 

Members of Parliament

Members for South Devon

  • Lord John Russell (Whig) 1832–1835
  • John Crocker Bulteel (Whig) 1832–1835
  • Sir John Yarde Buller (Conservative) 1835–1858
  • Montagu Edmund Parker (Conservative) 1835–1849
  • Sir Ralph Lopes (Conservative) 1849–1854
  • Sir Lawrence Palk (Conservative) 1854–1868
  • Samuel Trehawke Kekewich (Conservative) 1858–1868

Members for East Devon

  • Sir Edward Courtenay (Conservative) 1868–1870
  • Sir Lawrence Palk (Conservative) 1854–1880
  • Sir John Henry Kennaway (Conservative) 1870–1885
  • Lt. Col William Hood Walrond (Conservative) 1880–1885

Members for Torquay

  • Lewis McIver (Liberal) 1885–1886
  • Richard Mallock (Conservative) 1886–1895
  • Commander Arthur Phillpotts (Conservative) 1885–1900
  • Sir Francis Layland-Barratt (Liberal) 1900–1910
  • Colonel Charles Rosdew Burn (Unionist) 1910–1923
  • Captain Piers Gilchrist Thompson (Liberal) 1923–1924
  • Charles Williams (Conservative) 1924–1955
  • Frederic Bennett (Conservative) 1955–1974

Members for Torbay

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