Thursday, 14 May 2009

Exeter Quay

Exeter has had a quay since Roman times. Despite rival traders at Topsham attempting to block the river in the 16th century to stop traffic reaching the city the quay successfully traded with the rest of world for hundreds of years.

Wool and cloth from the area was exported and this customs house was built in 1680. Imports included olive oil, wine and salt cod.

The Customs House can be seen on the right of this picture. It is one of the earliest brick buildings in Exeter and said to be the oldest customs house in the country. In the middle of the picture is the fish transit shed and on the right can be seen part of a sculpture made from machinery parts.

It was the arrival of the railways in the mid 19th century that saw the beginning of the end for the quay as a commercial venture. Nowadays the quayside is a tourist area of antique and craft shops and eateries, scattered with bits of machinery acting purely for decoration.

Outside the Customs House are a pair of cannons that were cast in 1796. You have to be next to them to appreciate the size of those things and to imagine the death they might have dealt in the Napoleonic Wars. In fact they were sent back from the Peninsular War as surplus to requirements and have never been fired.

By the Customs House is this delightful old bridge under which the Higher Leat flows into the Exe. Swans galore swim around here. I only realised afterwards that the home of the Devon Wildlife Trust is in a nearby building - Cricklepit Mill - this will be the subject of a separate posting.

This is the Wharfinger's House . It was built in 1778 as a residence for the wharfinger whose job it was to collect the wharfage fees.

This is Quay House which dates back to 1680 and was used to store wool and cloth before it was loaded onto boats.

The Prospect Inn on the quayside is in a part of Quay House and consequently dates back to the 17th Century.

This sign however may be rather economical with the truth since there has only been an inn using the building since the Fountain Inn was established there in 1830. One day I'll get all my photos in order and have a folder full of inn sign pictures. One day!

This is Cricklepit Suspension Bridge. It was built across the Exe in 1988.

I walked past the various craft businesses set along the quayside including this one whence came one of GB's chopping boards last year.

When I win the lottery I shall buy myself a coffee table, a mirror, a chopping board, a cheese board and anything else I can get from this place - they are all first class.

Some more photos of the quay can be found on one of my postings from last year.

Lots of information about the quayside and this area in general can be found on this website.

1 comment:

GB said...

Next time I walk around the Quy I can look at the buildings with renewaed interest. That time may not be too far away!