We have reached the letter T in our archive alphabet which, of course, stands for Torquay.

The Olympic Games opening ceremony on Abbey Meadows in 1948 (PR26933)The Olympic Games opening ceremony on Abbey Meadows in 1948 (PR26933)

From the earliest times, Torquay has been famous as a shelter for shipping from Atlantic gales coming from the South West.

During the Napoleonic Wars the fleet anchored here regularly and as a result, the officers had their wives and families brought down to stay at the hamlet of Tor Quay.

The beautiful scenery and mild climate attracted not only members of the wealthy elite of England but also the humbler tourists seeking recovery from illnesses and an escape from cold and cloudy winters.

This was the start of the rapid growth of the popular seaside resort we know today.

The Torbay Hotel on Torbay Road in 1875The Torbay Hotel on Torbay Road in 1875

In 1821, the population was less than 2,000 but by 1851 it had risen to 11,000.

The railway came soon after and, by 1850, the town was known as the ‘Queen of Watering Places’. Sir Lawrence Palk owned much of the land and he developed it with an upper-class clientele in mind.

The harbour was extended and Torquay was incorporated as a Municipal Borough in 1892.

In 1948, the summer Olympic Games were held in Torquay and the Olympic flame was brought from London to Torre Abbey Gardens.

Torbay Aircraft Museum in 1973 (PR35526)Torbay Aircraft Museum in 1973 (PR35526)

Since World War Two, the nature of tourism in the UK has changed. Increasing wealth has meant that holidays abroad are now commonplace and coastal towns are more popular for short stays.

This, sadly, saw an economic decline in the resort from the 1970s onwards.

Torbay is full of places beginning with the letter T, far too many to illustrate here.

For more images, please explore Torquay Museum’s collections on the website torquaymuseum.org.