Hearing of this tragedy, the citizens of Exeter gave money to set up what became the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 's Brixham Lifeboat in The boathouse can be visited and memorials to the brave deeds seen; on special occasions, visitors can go on board the boat.
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Two maroons bangs are the signal for the lifeboat to be launched. Smuggling was more profitable than fishing, but if the men were caught, they were hanged. There are many legends about the local gangs and how they evaded the Revenue men. One humorous poem describes how a notorious local character, Bob Elliott "Resurrection Bob" , could not run away because he had gout and hid in a coffin.
Another villain was caught in possession but evaded capture by pretending to be the Devil , rising out of the morning mists. On another occasion when there was a cholera epidemic, some Brixham smugglers drove their cargo up from the beach in a hearse, accompanied by a bevy of supposed mourners following the cortege drawn by horses with muffled hooves. The town's outer harbour is protected by a long breakwater, useful for sea angling.
In winter, this is a site for purple sandpiper birds. To the south of Brixham, and sheltering the southern side of its harbour, lies the coastal headland of Berry Head with a lighthouse, Iron Age fort and national nature reserve. Warships have been seen in Torbay from the days of the Vikings , up until when part of the D-Day fleet sailed from here. Today in Brixham harbour, there is a full-sized replica of the ship, the Golden Hind , in which Drake circumnavigated the globe; visitors can go on board.
For centuries, ships going down the English Channel have come into Torbay to seek refuge from the storms and to replenish food supplies. Sometimes these were merchants, taking cargoes to faraway places and bringing back exotic goods and rare spices; sometimes they were carrying pilgrims, or gentlemen on the Grand Tour. The headland known as Berry Head is now a national nature reserve, but it is also a military site where guns were once positioned to defend the naval ships that were re-victualling at Brixham.
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Twelve guns were put there during the War of American Independence , but were removed when peace came in Just ten years later, during a war with France, guns were again deployed around the town. The major position was at Berry Head, but this time fortifications were built to defend the gun positions. These can still be seen, and are now some of the best preserved Napoleonic forts in the country.
During the long series of wars against the French that began in and lasted until , the Royal Navy came into Brixham to get supplies of fresh vegetables, beef and water. There might have been twenty or so of the big men-o'-war lying at anchor in Torbay, recovering from exploits of the sort described in the books about Hornblower , Bolitho or Jack Aubrey. On the harbourside towards the marina, there is a grey stone building which today is the Coastguard headquarters; then, it was the King's Quay where His Majesty's vessels were provisioned.
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Local farmers brought vegetables to ward off scurvy, and cattle were slaughtered and their meat packed into barrels. The water came from a big reservoir situated near the crossroads in the middle of town; from there, a pipeline carried it under the streets and under the harbour to the King's Quay. Many of the well-known admirals of the day visited Brixham. Not only Nelson , but also Lord St.
Vincent , Cornwallis , Hood , Rodney and Hawke. There was also Earl Howe , who earned the nickname of Lord Torbay because he spent so much time ashore in Brixham.
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Battery Gardens have a military history leading back to the Napoleonic wars and the time of the Spanish Armada. The emplacements and features seen here today are those of the Second World War and are of national importance. The site, listed by English Heritage, is recognised as one of the best preserved of its kind in the UK.
During the Second World War , a ramp and piers were built on the breakwater, from which American servicemen left for the D-day landings. When the Fleet was lit up at night, "The Bay gave the impression that it had been filled with a completely new town: an amazing sight!
Apart from fishing, most of the other local industries were connected with stone. Limestone was once quarried and used to build the breakwater, for houses and roads, and was sent to Dagenham to make steel for Ford automobiles.
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It was also burnt in limekilns to reduce it to a powder which was spread on the land in other parts of Devon as an agricultural fertiliser. The old quarries and the limekilns can still be seen. Another mineral found in Brixham is ochre. This gave the old fishing boats their " Red Sails in the Sunset ", but the purpose was to protect the canvas from sea water. It was boiled in great caldrons, together with tar , tallow and oak bark. The latter ingredient gave its name to the barking yards which were places where the hot mixture was painted on to the sails, which were then hung up to dry.
The ochre was also used to make a paint. This was invented in Brixham in about , and was the first substance in the world that would stop cast iron from rusting. Other types of paint were made here as well, and the works were in existence until There were iron mines at Brixham, and for a while they produced high-quality ore but the last one closed in Most of the sites have been built over and there are now few remains of this once-important industry save for the remnants of Sharkham Point Iron Mine. Brixham plays host to a number of festivals and events throughout the calendar year.
These events are run entirely by locals and contribute significantly to the local economy. The annual Brixham Pirate Festival takes place over the early May Bank Holiday 2—4 May, , and is known for its world record attempts, live music, free entertainment and for filling Brixham with pirates. BrixFest is an annual family friendly festival in Brixham, taking place 23—29 May, The festival took over from the defunct Brixham Heritage Festival in and is now established as one of Brixham's core annual events.
Skippers dress their boats with bunting and battle it out with a two-lap race around the Bay. The winner is not always the first across the line as there is a very strict handicapping system. Fun and festivities on the quayside raise money for local charities. In , the race will take place on Saturday 20 June. Torbay has been served by lifeboats since , and Brixham has provided the base for a lifeboat since then. The station was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Torbay in Torbay Lifeboat Station is based close to the breakwater, and this becomes the centre of a series of events planned by the local volunteers and sponsors.
It is a licensed event, organised by volunteers and held inside the new Fish Market Development on the harbour side. Normally the event is held on the second Saturday of September, but the date also varies for Spring tides. As a temporary fix, please re-send your email to this address: aldocmehl gmail. Love the west?
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