Achievements of Torbay Civic Society

During the decades since its founding in 1976 and after the Friends of the Pavilion group founded in 1971 merged with Torbay Civic Society in 1976 its achievements since include:

  • The replacement of one of the arms on the statue of Britannia on the roof of the Torquay Pavilion
  • The provision of a specially designed seat to fit the zigerrat walkway from Cary Parade to Fleet Street Torquay
  • The publication of Torquay & Paignton town trail maps
  • The replacement of hundreds of trees via a Society Tree Fund which was used to establish or replace trees around the three town centres and secondary areas of Torbay
  • Restoration of ‘Old Clink’ at Paignton
  • The provision of public seats in the grounds of Torre Abbey plus the research and creation of a four foot by three foot framed history of the Cary family which is now at Cockington Court
  • The creation of special exhibition boards explaining Torbay’s heritage for educational purposes in schools.
  • A Torbay Civic Society cup was awarded to the winning student of a set test paper as part of this project
  • The exhibition boards were eventually put on display in Torbay’s public libraries and today are used at public exhibitions
  • The annual Certificates of Merit scheme awarded to developers who are seen as having improved our area’s built heritage and environment (established in 1980)
  • The provision of furniture to a newly created Agatha Christie heritage room at Torre Abbey Mansion during the mid 1970s – now closed
  • The creation of a scented garden at Lower Hollicombe to celebrate the Year of the Disabled in 1981
  • The publication of more than seventy biographical history pamphlets that celebrate either the built heritage or a famous individual of Torbay (usually to accompany a Blue Plaque)
  • The provision of a full size copy of the original painting of Napoleon & Josephine above the marble staircase at Oldway Mansion plus the purchase of a prized original oil painting of Persephone by Arthur Hacker currently on display in the Winnaretta room of Oldway Mansion
  • The provision of two public seats at “Old Maids Perch” on Torqnuay seafront to commemorate Torbay Centenary Year
  • The donation of two forged tree guards plus new trees to the Torquay Natural History Museum in 2001 which were unveiled and dug in by H.R.H Prince Andrew
    Donation of a Member get a Member Shield to be presented annually in memory of Harold R Handford
  • The creation of a sensory garden at Preston House Gardens Torquay Road Paignton in partnership with South West Water
  • The support of English Heritage open days by organising special public events around Torbay
  • The commissioning of a substantial sculptured memorial – a Maritime Sundial – in Preston House Garden Preston Paignton to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Year
  • The Society was the runner up in the National Civic Trust Awards of 2002 for “Fastest Growing Civic Society” in the United Kingdom
  • The publication of Torbay’s first full colour public Heritage Trail & Tourist Map in 2006/7 – sponsored by local tourist businesses
  • The installation of Blue Plaques, now exceeding 65, honouring a building, a site, a structure or a famous person in one of our three towns
  • The creation of a Local Government Covenant to protect the Henry Brunel staircase at The Manor House Chelston Torquay which allows public access once per year
  • The production and publication of a book entitled Famous Devon Figures of Torbay, for Torbay Civic Society written and published by Chairman Ian L Handford
  • Assisted in the foundation of a public backed Friends of Oldway group in partnership with Paignton Heritage Society in the Spring of 2008
  • The provision of money or support as sponsors to associations around Torbay
  • The provision of a refurbished scented garden in partnership with Torbay council and PLUSS Working Torbay at Hollicombe Park in 2008
  • Supported the Torquay Library improvements and arranged for Dick Francis, Author, to formally attend the official opening ceremony
  • Founder member of Civic Voice after the closure of the National Civic Trust
    Took over responsibility for Hollicombe Residents Action Group 2009
  • Took over the Kingskerswell Bypass campaign group in 2010
    Assisted in the provision of a National Memorial to the Home Guard at Corbyn Head Torquay in partnership with Turning Point Heritage Trust and the Co-operative Society in 2009
  • Assisted Friends of Palace Avenue Theatre in raising final £10,000 matching funds
  • Identified and negotiated land from Torbay Council for Parachute Regiment Memorial on Paignton seafront in 2010
  • Donated land atLower Hollicombe Gardens to Turning Point Heritage Trust
  • Supported the campaign to save Wishing Fields parkland at Brixham
  • Supported the campaign to save the Lady Cable – the last ‘little ship’ to leave Dunkirk beaches & donated a coin counting machine to this Trust
  • Supported South Devon College by providing names of Famous Devon people for use on classroom doors of the new University building.
  • Donated two privately owned ship photographs saved from Philips & Sons Ltd Shipbulding at Noss Yard Kingswear for display in the new Marine Academy to be built at Noss Yard Kingswear by South Devon College
  • Donated an original African spear from the family of Sir Samuel White- Baker to the Newton Abbot Museum. The spear had been given to us by a member
  • Assisted with the return of a window shutter saved from Rosetor Hotel which was demolished to make way for the new Conference Centre. The shutter bears the signatures of RAF trainees of WWII and will soon be on public display in a specially made presentation case
  • In unison with the Wellswood Community Partnership we assisted with the restoration of the Snelgrove Memorial financially and the creation of a History centre of famous names of Wellswood. Named by individual carved names on paving, plus new Information source.
  • Year we start applying for Gift Aid through Government scheme.
  • 2011/2012 Assisted Barrett-Homes with the naming of Magnolia Square at Torre Marine Housing development when a piece of the Eden Phillpotts garden wall was rebuilt to carry his Blue Plaque.
  • Special Plaque unveiled at a major public event in the Pavilion (now closed) to celebrate its 100th anniversary on 23rd November 2012.
  • Devon’s first Care-Village – built by the Nicolas James Group at the Lincombe Manor Estate in Torquay was awarded our Merit Certificate for its wonderful restoration work on the Manor itself.
  • Support given to the new Coastwatch Tower facility at Daddihole Plain. Members were later invited to attend the formal opening.
  • Assist with the refurbishment presentation of a new headstone to Oliver Heaviside funded by students at University of Newcastle.
  • Society supported Council by providing a stainless steel plaque which was unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester in 2014 in celebration of the opening of the completion of Phase Two of the redevelopment work at Torre Abbey including the opening of the Crypt.
  • “Vanishing Point” memorial stone established at Torquay Harbourside in partnership with Torbay Harbourmaster and Council which included a steel plate detailing the history (2015/6).
  • New Heritage and Tourist Guide (No 2.) issued in 2015.
  • Stainless steel plaque unveiled by descendent of Percy Fawcett – Mrs Rolene Monet-Guerin at Torquay Museum in 2016.
  • By a special gift from Mrs Lin Cook (widow of Peter Cook) we produced our 40 years History pamphlet in 2016, which was launched at a special Gala Evening event at the Livermead Cliff Hotel on July 22nd 2016. (+DVD from Mrs Hardaway, Founder Chairman).
  • Our third website created by a new provider Protechmedia in 2016.
  • Our Society supported the SOS campaign for the retention of Paignton Cottage hospital which had been provided by the Singer family.
  • Support was given to the 2017 National Civic Day campaign with a special Trail Walk of the sculptured gardens at Cockington.
  • Stainless steel plate unveiled to honour the Magnolia Campbelii Tree planted by Eden Phillpotts and his daughter one hundred years ago in Magnolia Square, now the Torre Marine Housing development.
  • The Society continues to support future projects of South Devon College which include a New Sports Centre, a Design, Film and Media Facility – a Third Phase Building at Long Road, Paignton and a Maritime Academy for future students at Noss, Kingswear.

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