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Teignmouth is located in Devon
 Teignmouth shown within Devon
Population 15,129 (2011)
OS grid reference
Civil parish Teignmouth
District Teignbridge
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Teignmouth
Postcode district TQ14
Dialling code 01626
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Newton Abbot
List of places

Teignmouth ( ) is a South Devon Railway in 1846. Today, its port still operates and the town remains a popular seaside holiday location.


  • History 1
    • To 1700 1.1
    • 1700 to present 1.2
    • The port 1.3
    • Shaldon Bridge 1.4
    • Railway 1.5
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Buildings 3
  • 21st century 4
    • Tourism 4.1
    • Schools 4.2
    • Sport 4.3
  • Notable people associated with the town 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • Further reading 9


To 1700

Teignmouth from above the Ness

The first record of Teignmouth, Tengemuða, meaning mouth of the stream, was in 1044.[2] Nonetheless settlements very close by are attested earlier, with the banks of the Teign estuary having been in Saxon hands since at least 682, a battle between the Ancient Britons and Saxons being recorded on Haldon in 927, and Danish raids having occurred on the Teign estuary in 1001.

There were originally two villages, East and West Teignmouth, separated by a stream called the Tame, which emptied into the Teign through marshland by the current fish quay.[3] Neither village is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but East Teignmouth was granted a market by charter in 1253 and one for West Teignmouth followed a few years later.[4] The Tame now runs under the town in culverts and is only visible higher up the town as Brimley Brook, joined by smaller streams such as the Winterbourne (an intermittent stream, which flows only in winter or after heavy rain).

Documents indicate that Teignmouth was a significant port by the early 14th century, second in Devon only to Dartmouth.[5] It was attacked by the French in 1340 and sent seven ships and 120 men to the expedition against Calais in 1347.[6] Its relative importance waned during the 15th century, and it did not figure in an official record of 1577. This may have been due to silting up of the harbour caused by tin mining on Dartmoor.[7]

During the 17th century, in common with other Channel ports, Teignmouth ships suffered from raids from Dunkirkers, who were privateers from Flemish ports. It is possible that smuggling was the town's most significant trade at this time, though cod fishing in Newfoundland was also of great importance.[8]

In July 1690, after the French Admiral Anne Hilarion de Tourville defeated an Anglo-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Beachy Head, the French fleet was anchored in Torbay and some of the galley fleet travelled the short distance up the coast and attacked Teignmouth. A petition to the Lord Lieutenant from the inhabitants described the incident:

... on the 26th day of this instant July 1690 by Foure of the clocke in the morning, your poor petitioners were invaded (by the French) to the number of 1,000 or thereabouts, who in the space of three hours tyme, burnt down to the ground the dwelling houses of 240 persons of our parish and upwards, plundered and carried away all our goods, defaced our churches, burnt ten of our ships in the harbour, besides fishing boats, netts and other fishing craft ...

After examining 'creditable persons' the Justices of the Peace concluded that:

by the late horrid invasion there were within the space of 12 houres burnt downe and consumed 116 dwelling houses ... and also 172 dwelling houses were rifled and plundered and two parish churches much ruined, plundred and defaced, besides the burning of ten saile of shipps with the furniture thereof, and the goods and merchandise therein ...

As a result, The Crown issued a church brief that authorised the collection of £11,000 for the aid of the town. Churches from as far afield as Yorkshire contributed, and the collections enabled the further development of the port.[9] This was the last invasion of England,[notes 1][9] and French Street with its museum is named in memory of the occasion.

In the 1600s and 1700s there are records of a windmill on the Den - an area that was then a large sand dune, and is now a grassy public open space near the seafront. By 1759 this windmill was demolished.

1700 to present

In the late 18th century, privateering was common in Teignmouth, as it was in other westcountry ports. In 1779 the French ship L'Emulation with a cargo of sugar, coffee and cotton was offered for sale at "Rendle's Great Sale Room" in the town. Teignmouth people fitted out two privateers: the Dragon with 16 guns and 70 men; and the Bellona, described as carrying "16 guns, 4 cohorns and 8 swivels".[10] The Bellona set sail on her first voyage in September 1779, and was "oversett in a violent Gust of Wind" off Dawlish with the loss of 25 crew members.[11]

The Newfoundland fisheries continued to provide the main employment into the early 19th century and, fortuitously for the town, as the fisheries declined the prospect of tourism arose. A tea house was built on the Den in 1787 amongst the local fishermen's drying nets. The "Amazons of Shaldon"—muscular women who pulled fishing nets and were "naked to the knee"—were an early tourist attraction for male tourists.[12] By 1803 Teignmouth was called a "fashionable watering place", and the resort continued to develop during the 19th century. Its two churches were rebuilt soon after 1815 and in the 1820s the first bridge across the estuary to Shaldon was built; esplanade, Den Crescent and the central Assembly Rooms (later the cinema) were laid out. The railway arrived in 1846 and the pier was built 1865–7.[13]

A view of Teignmouth, the Den and the Ness at Shaldon in the 19th century.

A version of the legend of the Parson and Clerk dating to 1900 tells the tale of the Bishop of Exeter visiting Teignmouth and whilst being guided by a local priest, the devil turns them both to stone, which is seen in the form of two stacks.[14]

The charabancs took employees and their families for annual outings to Dartmoor and elsewhere. By the 1930s the town was again thriving, and with the Haldon Aerodrome and School of Flying nearby, Teignmouth was advertised as the only south coast resort offering complete aviation facilities.[15]

During the Second World War Teignmouth suffered badly from "tip and run" air raids.[3] It was bombed 21 times between July 1940 and February 1944 and 79 people were killed, 151 wounded, 228 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 damaged in the raids.[16] Teignmouth's hospital was bombed during a raid on 8 May 1941, killing three nurses and seven patients. It was rebuilt and reopened in September 1954, making it the first complete general hospital in the country to be built after the formation of the National Health Service.[17]

A US Navy plan existed which proposed to dam the harbour and set up a seaplane base, but it was abandoned as the war turned in favour of the allies.[18]

The New Quay at Teignmouth in 1827 with a large crane and blocks of cut granite ready for transshipment
New Quay in 2006

The port

The port of Teignmouth, in existence since the 13th century, remains active, mostly handling clay, timber and grain.

The Old Quay was built in the mid-18th century on land leased from Lord Clifford. The opening of the

  • Adshead S D (1945) Report to the urban district council on improvement and development after the war. Teignmouth Urban District Council.
  • Andrews, G. J & Kearns R. A. (2005) Everyday health histories and the making of place: the case of an English coastal town. Social Science and Medicine 60, 2697–2713
  • Andrews G J, Kearns R A, Kontos P, Wilson V (2006) "Their finest hour": older people, oral histories and the historical geography of social life. Social and Cultural Geography 7, 2, 153-177
  • Spratt, Thomas (1856). An Investigation of the Movements of Teignmouth Bar. Pub. London.
  • Through the Window. Number 1 - Paddington to Penzance (1924). Great Western Railway. Paddington station. Price 1s.
  • Wilson V (2000) Teignmouth at War: 1939-1945, Wilson Teignmouth.
  • Wilson V (2002) Teignmouth: Frith's photographic town memories. Frith Book Company, Teffont.

Further reading

  • Carrington, N. T.; et al. (1830). The Teignmouth, Dawlish, and Torquay Guide: with an account of the surrounding neighbourhood, etc. Teignmouth: E. Croydon. 
  • Gray, Todd (2003). Lost Devon: Creation, Change and Destruction over 500 Years. Exeter, Devon: The Mint Press.  
  • Griffiths, Grace (1989). History of Teignmouth (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Ex Libris Press.  
  • Hawkins, Michael (1988). Devon Roads: An illustrated survey of the development and management of Devon's highway network. Exeter: Devon Books.  
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (2000). "Western Main Lines: Exeter to Newton Abbot via Dawlish". Midhurst: Middleton Press.  
  • Trump, H. J. (1986). Teignmouth. A Maritime History (2nd ed.). Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore.  


  1. ^ Census 2011 : Parish Headcounts : TeignbridgeOffice for National Statistics : Retrieved 3 January 2015
  2. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1981). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 462.  
  3. ^ a b c Hoskins, W. G. (1954). A New Survey of England: Devon. London: Collins. p. 492.  (Text available online at the Devon Libraries Local Studies Service.)
  4. ^ Griffiths 1989, p.24
  5. ^ Trump 1986, p.1
  6. ^ Worth, R. N. (1895). A History of Devonshire. London: Elliot Stock. p. 312. 
  7. ^ Trump 1986, pp.2–3
  8. ^ Trump 1986, p.3
  9. ^ a b Trump 1986, pp.5–6
  10. ^ Trump 1986, p.18
  11. ^ Trump 1986, p.19
  12. ^ Gray 2003, p.96
  13. ^ a b Cherry, Bridget &  
  14. ^ Hewett, Sarah (1900). Nummits and Crummits. Devonshire Customs, Characteristics and Folk-lore. Thomas Burleigh. pp. 177–179. 
  15. ^ a b Pearson, Ann (1986). Teignmouth in old picture postcards. Zaltbommel, Netherlands: European Library.  
  16. ^ Trump 1986, p.108
  17. ^ "Royal Visit to Teignmouth Hospital, Friday 25th June 2004" (PDF). Teignbridge NHS Primary Care Trust. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  18. ^ "Devon Airfields Index". Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  19. ^ a b "Templer Way leaflet" (PDF). Devon County Council. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  20. ^ Ewans, M. C. (1964). The Haytor Granite Tramway & Stover Canal. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 43. 
  21. ^ Trump 1986, pp.46–48
  22. ^ Trump 1986, p.27
  23. ^ Griffiths 1989, p.129
  24. ^ Leach, Nicholas (2009). Devon's Lifeboat Heritage. Chacewater: Twelveheads Press. pp. 10–12.  
  25. ^ "Shaldon Bridge (1827)". Structurae. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  26. ^ a b Brine, Richard J. "Shaldon Bridge". Devon Heritage. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  27. ^ Carrington 1830, pp.36–37
  28. ^ a b Griffiths 1989, p.91
  29. ^ Gray 2003, p.126
  30. ^ a b Hawkins 1988, p.78
  31. ^ Hawkins 1988, p.95
  32. ^ "Singing Bridge on Wrong Note". Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  33. ^ Mitchell and Smith 2000, caption 77
  34. ^ Gray 2003, p.128
  35. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 Nov 2010 (pt 0002) Column 138WH". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  36. ^ Mitchell and Smith 2000, "Diversions" p.4 (unnumbered)
  37. ^ a b c "The Climate of Teignmouth". Teignmouth Weather Station. 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  38. ^ "Climatological Normals of Plymouth - 1961-1990". Climatological Information for United Kingdom and Ireland. The  
  39. ^ "Climate averages 1971–2000". Met Office. 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  40. ^ "Cinema Treasures—Riviera Cinema". Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  41. ^ The AA Book of British Villages. Drive Publications. 1980. p.394.
  42. ^ Gray 2003, p.41
  43. ^ "About Us". Teign Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  44. ^ "Fairtrade Devon". Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  45. ^ "tomorrow's teignmouth" (PDF). MCTA - Market and Coastal Towns Association. 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  46. ^ "Teignmouth Vision Document". Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  47. ^ "Pavilions Teignmouth". Teignbridge District Council. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  48. ^ "Welcome to Teignmouth Twinning Online". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  49. ^ a b "10th Teignmouth Midsummer Folk Festival". Teignmouth News. 2008-06-11. p. 12. 
  50. ^ "Official home of love Teignmouth". Love Teignmouth. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  51. ^ "Teignmouth&Shaldon Museum". Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  52. ^ a b Mackenzie, Clayton G (2006). "Ideas of landscape in John Keats' Teignmouth poems.". The Free Library. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  53. ^ Allen, David Grayson; McDermott, Kathleen. "Chapter 2: The Americanization of the Practice". Accounting For Success: A History of Price Waterhouse in America. Harvard Business School Press. p. 47.  
  54. ^ "Press for Time". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  55. ^ "Press for Time". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  56. ^ "Start of the Magical Mystery Tour". Retrieved 2009-01-30. 


  1. ^ Though not of Britain, as the French invaded Carreg Gwastad, near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire in 1797.
  2. ^ Another example of this rare church design is now called Dreghorn and Springside Parish Church (formerly Dreghorn and Perceton) in North Ayrshire, Scotland.


The three members (Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard) of rock band Muse attended Teignmouth Community College in the early 1990s. They started the band in the town and based their song Falling Down on their teenage years living there. The band performed two homecoming concerts entitled A Seaside Rendezvous there in September 2009. Singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf wrote a song called "Teignmouth" for his 2005 album Wind in the Wires, which focuses primarily on the view of the town and the River Teign when taking a train along the coastline.

Moving on to the 20th century, the businessman and musician Danny Thompson was born in the town in 1939, and the writer and environmentalist John Bainbridge (born 1953) spent his teens and early adulthood here and was educated at West Lawn School. The Norman Wisdom film, Press for Time, in which Norman becomes a reporter at the seaside town of "Tinmouth", was shot largely on location in Teignmouth in 1966. [54] A bus and bicycle chase shows many scenes of the town centre and sea front as it was at the time.[55] In 1967, The Beatles stayed one night at The Royal Hotel on the seafront at the start of their filming of the Magical Mystery Tour.[56] The next year, on 31 October 1968, Donald Crowhurst, competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, started his ill-fated attempt to sail round the world single-handed from the town. His boat was a trimaran named the Teignmouth Electron after the town and his electronics company.

From 1812 until his death in 1833, Charles Babbage (1791–1871), the mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, who originated the idea of a programmable computer, also lived here for some years. Sir John Smyth, (1893–1983) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross and was made 1st Baronet of Teignmouth in 1956.


Fanny Burney, the diarist and novelist, visited Teignmouth several times in the late 18th century. She took her first dip in the sea here in 1773, as she recorded in her journal.[51] Elias Parish Alvars, the harpist, was born in East Teignmouth in 1808, and three years later Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt, vice-admiral, hydrographer and geologist, was born at Woodway House. In spring 1818 the poet John Keats spent several weeks in Teignmouth and completed his epic poem Endymion here.[52] His arrival coincided with a period of wet weather and he wrote to a friend of "the abominable Devonshire Weather ... the truth is, it is a splashy, rainy, misty, snowy, foggy, haily, floody, muddy, slipshod county."[52]

East Teignmouth in the mid 19th century.

Notable people associated with the town

The seafront benefits from Teignmouth Lido, a public open-air heated swimming pool. This is one of four outdoor pools operated by Teignbridge District Council. The others are at Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and Buckland.

The town is the home of Teignmouth A.F.C. whose first team currently play in the South West Peninsula League and reserves play in the South Devon League division two. The town is also the home of Teignmouth R.F.C. with the 1st XV playing in the South West 1 league. The Den Bowling Club situated on the sea front is the home of the Teignmouth Open Bowls Tournament. Teignmouth Shotokan Karate Club was established in 1984 and trains twice weekly at Teignmouth Community College.


Primary schools include Hazeldown and Inverteign which are non-denominational, and the Catholic school of Our Lady and St Patrick.

Other secondary schools include Trinity School (independent, with a preparatory department and boarding facilities, formerly known as Buckeridge School).

Teignmouth Community School (formerly Teignmouth High School, then Teignmouth Community College), a local secondary school including a sixth form, was formed as a merger in 1979 of Teignmouth Grammar School and Teignmouth Secondary Modern School. More recently this has merged further with Inverteign Community Nursery and Primary School to create Teignmouth Community School (TCS).


In 2014, Teignmouth and Dawlish Community Interest Group commissioned a website [50] to promote the town to tourists visiting.

Teignmouth Carnival is held during the last week of July with the procession on the last Thursday, and since 1999 the town has hosted a summer folk festival.[49] In 2005 Fergus O'Byrne and Jim Payne from Newfoundland were the 'headline' artists at that year's festival which celebrated the town's links with that region.[49]

Apart from its sea beach and granite tramway, his father James's Stover Canal and finally the estuary to Teignmouth.[19]

Although reduced from its heyday, Teignmouth still receives considerable numbers of holiday makers, in particular day-trippers. It is twinned with the French town Perros-Guirec.[48]


In May 2010 Teignbridge District Council put forward for consultation "A Vision for Teignmouth".[46] This was a plan consisting of 21 regeneration projects for the town. A new skatepark was opened on the seafront in July 2010, flood defences at the Fish Quay were completed in October 2012, and as of 2015, a new theatre is under construction on the Den.[47]

Teignmouth from The Ness

On 27 July 2005 Teignmouth received status as Devon's first Fairtrade Town.[44] Also in 2005, the volunteer Teignmouth Regeneration Project in association with the town, district and county councils published a strategic plan that identified issues to be dealt with by 2015.[45] Among the issues listed are to develop quality tourism, alleviate the danger of flooding to the town and provide affordable housing.

21st century

The town's newest public building is the Teignmouth and Shaldon museum completed in 2011. It comprises an architecturally iconic extension of the existing 18th century museum building, with new roof terrace looking over the town, glass tower and community facility. Some of the exhibits include a restored bathing machine; artefacts from the Church Rock wreck, such as cannons; exhibits from the nearby Haldon aerodrome, plus film footage including the Beatles' visit to the town and the 2009 homecoming concerts by Muse. The new build cost almost £1.1m and was enabled by a major community fund-raising effort, in combination with Lottery and UK government funding and other sources such as local grant funders and Devon County Council.[43]

In 1894, there were 26 public houses in Teignmouth.[42] Pubs today include the Blue Anchor Inn on Teign Street and the Devon Arms on Northumberland Place. The River Beach is home to a varied selection of seasonal and permanent beach huts, one of which (now removed to the town's museum) was a Georgian bathing machine, minus wheels. These huts have enjoyed the boom in popularity of such properties in recent years and now change hands for figures approaching £100,000.

The town's parish church, dedicated to St. James is unusual, being octagonal in shape.[notes 2] A story from Cornwall suggests why these churches are rounded, for the villagers of Veryan built several circular houses so that the Devil had no corners in which to lie in wait for unsuspecting occupants and these buildings were therefore 'Devil-proof.'[41] The church of St Michael the Archangel is in the east of the town. St. Scholastica's Abbey, on the road to Dawlish, built in 1864 by Henry Woodyer is a notable Gothic Revival building, and the Roman Catholic Church, on the same road, is a late work by Joseph Hansom, the inventor of the hansom cab.[3]

Den Crescent and its central Assembly Rooms, laid out in 1826 by Andrew Patey of Exeter, still survive relatively unchanged today.[13] The Assembly Rooms were the hub of the town's social life in the 19th century and lavish balls took place in the 70 ft (21 m) long ballroom. In 1871, the building was taken over by the East Devon and Teignmouth Club which had an exclusive membership taken from the gentry and professional middle class.[15] In 1934 it was converted into the Riviera Cinema, in which guise it continued until 2000; part of the building has now been converted into flats.[40]

The esplanade with Den Crescent and the Assembly Rooms behind, circa 1860.


Climate data for Teignmouth, England (1981 - 2010) data
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) 4.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 95.2
Average rainy days 12.9 10.4 10.6 9.9 9.2 7.7 7.2 8.1 8.7 12.4 12.3 12.7 122.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 64.7 83.5 122.6 186.3 217.5 222.4 225 209.6 160.6 110.6 84 60.4 1,747.1
Source: [39]

Snow is rare during the start of the winter season in December. Late autumn and early winter is the wettest time of the year, because sea temperatures are still relatively high and deep Atlantic depressions bring moist air across the South West. On average, July is the driest month, but summer thunderstorms can occasionally deposit more than the month's mean rainfall in one day. Teignmouth has average daily sunshine totals of over 7 hours in summer and around 2 hours in winter. Sunshine totals reflect the hours of daylight and the fluctuations of the Azores high, which is most powerful in summer.[37] The climate patterns also implicate a less pronounced cooler mediterranean climate (csa/ csb) influence which is due to the decrease in precipitation centred over the summer period and surplus rainfall during the winter.

Owing to its proximity to the sea, Teignmouth has warmer winters with less frost and snow, as well as slightly cooler summers compared with inland areas of southern England. January is usually the coldest month in Britain; however, sea temperatures usually reach their minimum temperature in late February, which affects Teignmouth's climate, making February its coldest month. The first frost in Teignmouth usually occurs in late November or early December, whereas midland areas of England sometimes have frosts as early as September.[37]

Teignmouth is situated on the coast of Devon, a peninsula of South West England. It has a mild maritime climate. Prevailing winds across the south-west of England are from the west. Teignmouth lies to the east of Dartmoor, in a lee / rainshadow, with mean temperatures 3 °C (5 °F) higher and less than 43% of the rainfall of Princetown, which is located on Dartmoor.[37] It receives 133 millimetres (5.2 in) less precipitate per year than nearby Plymouth, which is located on the south-west coast of Devon.[38]


The estuary seems disproportionately large for the size of the river flowing through it, this being especially apparent at low tide, because it is a drowned valley caused by a relative rise in sea level following the last Ice Age.

In the harbour area was the Salty, a small flat island created through dredging operations but levelled, supposedly to improve natural scouring of the main channel for shipping, in recent years to leave a large tidal sand bank frequented by seabirds and cockle-collectors. Salmon nets are still employed by locals, especially near Shaldon Bridge.

The town is located on the north bank of the mouth of the estuary of the River Teign, at the junction of the A379 coast road, the A381 road to Newton Abbot, and the B3192 which climbs up to the A380 on Haldon and hence on to the M5 12 miles away. Teignmouth is linked to Shaldon, the village on the opposite bank, by a passenger ferry at the river mouth and by a road bridge further upstream. The red sandstone headland on the Shaldon side called "The Ness" is the most recognisable symbol of the town from the seaward side.


In December 1852 a large landslip from the cliffs east of the town caused the railway to close for four days,[33] and in 1855 and 1859 the sea broke through the line at Teignmouth.[34] There have been many more closures since, caused both by landslips from the cliffs and breaches by the sea, especially in winter. In 2010 the sea walls and adjoining estuaries were costing Network Rail around £500,000 per year to maintain.[35] In 1936 the Great Western Railway surveyed an inland deviation between Exminster and Bishopsteignton and a shorter route starting near Dawlish Warren, but the advent of World War 2 brought these projects to an end.[36]

The line built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel runs along the South Devon Railway sea wall which is a stone embankment between the sea and cliffs that runs for several miles between Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren. This line was originally both broad gauge and worked by the atmospheric system, with steam pump houses at regular intervals to create the vacuum. It was not successful for a host of reasons and was converted to normal steam locomotive working. Redundant sections of the atmospheric railway pipes were used as drains all over Teignmouth. One was set in the roadside in Woodway Lane, near Woodway House.

Broad-gauge rails and Brunel's atmospheric railway pipe at Didcot Railway Centre. A 4-year-old child indicates the scale.

Teignmouth railway station, which opened in 1846, is close to the town centre. It lies between the stations of Dawlish and Newton Abbot on the Great Western Main Line between London Paddington and Penzance in Cornwall. In 2010/11 it recorded 505,000 passengers, making it the second busiest station on the Riviera Line after Newton Abbot.


On 28 October 1948 Devon County Council bought the bridge from the Shaldon Bridge Company for £92,020 and tolls were abolished.[30] The original paintwork was inadequate to deal with the environment, and repairs were required in 1960 and in 1980.[31] In 1998 it was discovered that the bridge had severe structural defects and work to correct this continued until 2002, the bridge remaining open throughout.[26] After this work was completed, residents nearby noticed that in certain wind conditions the bridge "whistles". As of 2007 the problem had not been solved.[32]

After eleven years, on 27 June 1838 the centre arches of the bridge collapsed, the timbers had been eaten through by shipworms.[29] It was rebuilt in wood and reopened in 1840, but it partially collapsed again in 1893.[28] The bridge was completely rebuilt between 1927 and 1931, using steel for the piers and main girders and concrete for most of the deck, except for the opening span which used timber.[30]

The original bridge was owned by the Teignmouth and Shaldon Bridge Company and opened on 8 June 1827.[25] It had 34 wooden arches and was 1,671 feet long, which made it the longest wooden bridge in England when built. It had abutment walls of a considerable length at either end, and a swing bridge at the Teignmouth end to allow sailing ships to pass up the estuary.[26] It cost around £19,000 to build, but the overall expenditure was about £26,000 due to the costs of the necessary Act of Parliament and the purchase of the old ferry-rights.[27] Toll houses were built at each end of the bridge, and the one on the Teignmouth side survives.[28]

Shaldon Bridge in 2004
A Broad Gauge Train leaving Teignmouth with Shaldon Bridge and the Ness in the background, circa 1854

Shaldon Bridge

The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society sent a lifeboat to Teignmouth in 1851 and kept it in a boathouse on the beach near the Custom House. In 1854 the society transferred its lifeboats to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). A new boathouse was provided on The Den with doors facing the harbour which was used until 1940. After a gap of fifty years, on 3 November 1990, the RNLI reopened Teignmouth Lifeboat Station with an Atlantic 21 inshore lifeboat.[24]

Teignmouth has a tradition of shipbuilding from the 17th century. By the turn of the 19th century there were three shipyards in Teignmouth, and three in Shaldon and Ringmore on the opposite side of the estuary.[22] The industry declined in the early 20th century, but in 1921 Morgan Giles bought the last derelict shipbuilding yard and gave the industry a new stimulus. His shipyard became a major employer, building pleasure craft in peacetime and small craft such as torpedo boats during World War II. The business failed in 1968 not long after Donald Crowhurst's attempt to sail around the world.[23]

Until 1852 Teignmouth was legally part of the Port of Exeter. In September of that year, after many years of campaigning (latterly under the leadership of George Hennet), the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury agreed that Teignmouth should be independent which was the cause of much celebration.[21]

The Old Quay was sold to South Devon Railway the previous year.


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