Think you know Torquay?
Peaceful, calm, seaside town? Think again and re-look at the Bay with an insight from Dr. Kevin Dixon. This local historian knows a thing or two about Radical Torquay from the bread riots to the suffragettes. Discover the hidden side of our history...
Whilst you might have crossed paths with Dr. Kevin Dixon through his work at Healthwatch Torbay, his real passion is history and hunting through archives and local stories to reveal the hidden voices of the past. His love for history started at an early age as he tracked down things that went bump in the night and local legends. Conservations grew, as did he back catalogue of the real history of the place he's called home for all of his life.
We listened and were amazed at the tales of Radical Torquay and the lost voices of our town. One such story was that of the Bread Riots. On the 17th May 1847, a Torquay mob ransacked bakers’ shops in lower Union Street. Thousands of rioters then raided shops in Fleet Street and Torre, and fought with local traders. A number were arrested, but the rioters demanded their release – 60 navvies from the railway works at Torre armed themselves with “pick axes, crow bars and shovels, with the avowed purpose of pulling down the Town Hall”. To restore order, a revenue cutter, the Adelaide, and a government steamer the Vulcan brought a detachment of coastguards. Forty troops arrived from Exeter while 300 special constables were sworn in. Eventually, 27 rioters were jailed, though these prisoners had to be sent to Exeter by sea, instead of by road, as a plot to rescue them had been discovered.
Be captivated and fascinated by reading more of Dr. Kevin Dixon's findings and stories online and keep your eyes peeled for more opportunities to hear him speak at talks and events across Torbay - you won't be disappointed.