Dawlish Through the Ages – The Story of a Seaside Town


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All profits from this book will go to the Dawlish Museum.

With 11 rooms over 3 floors the Museum is famous for its display of Piper Bill Millins’ D-Day bagpipes. Packed with artefacts the displays in Dawlish Museum are regularly updated and depict life past and present in the town and notably tell the story of the February storm of 2014 which severely damaged the railway line.

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Having lived and worked in Dawlish for more than 30 years as an estate agent, selling and letting residential and commercial property, I have probably been inside more properties in the town than any other person in history! I have also immersed myself in the life of Dawlish and feel a great affinity with the town and its residents, as well as the thousands of visitors who come to the town each year. Growing up in Exeter as I did in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the beaches at Dawlish, Smugglers Cove at Holcombe and Dawlish Warren were favoured destinations for a day trip, either by car or, as a special treat, on the train. With buckets and spades, a shrimping net, a tartan rug, swimming costumes, towels and a hearty picnic lunch, an exciting day was guaranteed…. and the sun always seemed to shine.

Opening an estate agency in 1982 was quite a gamble. Force and Sons was founded in 1790 by my great-great-great-great grandfather, John Force, and it was a big step to open up a branch office. Viewed by the established agents as a city boy and a bit of an outsider, it took a while to be accepted, and also to understand what a tight-knit little community Dawlish was at the time.

I soon came to realise what a special place Dawlish is. With a long and, on the surface, rather mundane history stretching back over 1000 years, its past began to fascinate me. The more I read, and the closer I looked at the streets and houses, the more interesting it became. Its many facets, like the pieces of a jigsaw, began to fit together and I began to understand that its history is rich in many ways.

The jigsaw will never be complete – history continues to be made each year – but I hope you will enjoy reading about Dawlish as much as I have enjoyed writing about it. By the time you have finished, I hope you will look at the town and its surroundings with renewed interest, and also appreciate its many quirks and foibles. I also hope you will realise what a special place Dawlish is to live in and also to visit. It is unique and we must never take it for granted. I love travelling and visiting other places, but I always look forward to coming home again!

Additional information

Weight0.6 kg
Dimensions25 × 15 × 2 cm


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