Special project slides through Torquay's rich history

Torbay Weekly

For many people the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 meant that plans for the summer were put on hold.  
For a group of Torquay Museum Society members, it was a time of exploration and research resulting in the publication of a new book, History Tours of Torquay. Author Philip Badcott, who grew up in the town, explains: “A week or so before lockdown began, I was invited by David Wills, the President of Torquay Museum Society, to research the history behind some of Torquay Museum’s collection of 6,500 magic lantern slides, and present my findings at a Society lecture. “These slides had been digitised thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and it was clear to me that each of the 19 magic lantern slides I was researching had a much greater story than could be told in a lecture.  
“So, I decided to research the history of the slides in greater depth. For example, the 1896 slide of Abbey Crescent on Torquay seafront has a history as interesting as any of the Regency-style buildings.  
“The even earlier slide of the old bridge at Upton over Torquay’s River Fleet was the catalyst that revealed the secrets of this now almost forgotten watercourse. My Museum Society friends were more than enthusiastic to help, and were out early in the summer mornings checking out the detail behind the slides. These more in-depth studies of the slides became the six chapters of my History Tours of Torquay book.
“Being a Torquinian, and a descendant of several long-established Torquay families, I have also made reference to some of my family by name, and included the names of many others who lived in Torquay. Their history is part of the town and their stories may be of interest to family historians.”
Torquay Museum worked in partnership with Philip Badcott to supply digital copies of the slides and other images that appear in his fascinating, fully illustrated book. Each chapter is a carefully planned tour of part the town, and the book is an important addition to the documented history of Torquay. History Tours of Torquay is on sale in Torquay Museum’s shop, at £15.