Monday, 2 March 2015

Budleigh’s asset-rich in heritage

This red phone box message provided effective publicity for the OVA Local Heritage Assets exhibition

As I mentioned  here, members of the Otter Valley Association have been researching the area’s local heritage assets and the first exhibition took place on Saturday 21 February in the Temple Methodist Church Hall in Budleigh.  

The exhibition was also an opportunity for the OVA to promote itself and the valuable work that it does for conservation in the Lower Otter Valley. 


Approximately 300 assets have been nominated by local residents and the exhibition included an interactive map to indicate their location.


Outside Budleigh Salterton itself, landmark buildings worthy of note include the Rolle estate terrace cottages built for farm workers by the philanthropic Hon Mark Rolle (1835-1907).


Noteworthy in Budleigh are the houses designed by William Hatchard-Smith (1887-1987). On display was a letter from the owners of one such house which explained that they were delighted at having their property nominated. 

“When we moved here ten years ago we fell in love with the architecture of the area and the spacious street-scene of these fine old houses with their large landscaped gardens,” they wrote. 

In renovating their house they had made sure to retain all the original features as much as possible, such as Crittall windows with ‘crown’ glass, wooden drainers, wooden storage cupboards with glazed windows, butler’s pantry, maid’s wash room and even the gardener’s loo.

OVA committee member for planning Nicola Daniel, seen here (right) with a visitor, was pleased with the way in which the owners of such houses had helped the exhibition by providing photos and documents illustrating the history of the buildings.

Over-development in Budleigh is one of the issues that arouse passions in the town

As I expected, Budleigh’s two Victorian postboxes were featured in the exhibition, including some expertise on the subject provided by an OVA member.

I hadn’t thought of  including the commemorative labels on Budleigh’s benches which encourage so many of the town’s visitors to settle down in the sunshine as they enjoy the wonderful view of its pebble beach and that (usually) Mediterranean blue sea. 

But the benches are indeed special, as I tell visitors, quoting best-selling author and former GP Vernon Coleman who has written over 70 books about lifestyle.

“Budleigh’s many benches are undoubtedly among the best in the country for creative thinking,” he says. “I’ve written great chunks of books on some of them.”

Titles include a Complete Guide to Sex (1993), Why is Pubic Hair Curly? (1995), How to stop your Doctor Killing You (1996) and over a dozen novels and short stories.

Sadly no manhole covers!  For those you will have to look here, and now here, where I show a few more that I’ve found.

They will of course find their place in due course on the OVA list. “Wonderful manhole covers,” exclaimed Nicola Daniel when she saw my photos. “Never too late to put them forward - this is an ongoing project.”

My fault, for being a bit slow!   

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