Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mystery Devon images #2

Lynmouth, c.1900-1920
 Philip Willis, a correspondent, just sent another batch of images to the Devon History Society: early 1900s lantern slides for identification. The focus so far has been North Devon, but I did spot several taken on the Thames, and one was Niagara Falls!

So check out Mystery Devon images #2. A couple of images in the earlier set, Mystery Devon images, remain to be identified.

The above identified image struck me as particularly interesting, as an iconic location. It's at Lynmouth, looking down the East Lyn river. The building at far left, with the spiked gable, is the West Lyn Hotel; the one just its right, with the round-topped windows, is the Lyn Valley Hotel. Both are long gone; this was one of the central foci of destruction in the 1952 Lynmouth Flood. The confluence of the East Lyn and West Lyn rivers is more or less at the viewpoint of the image, Lyndale Bridge (see the similar Francis Frith image). Pre-1952, the West Lyn had been diverted through a culvert between the two hotels; part of the floodwaters took this route (see English Heritage image AA53/10717), while the bulk followed its older bed (see National Trust image), catching this part of the village in what has been called "a triangle of destruction".
Overnight, over 100 buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged along with 28 of the 31 bridges, and 38 cars were washed out to sea. In total, 34 people died, with a further 420 made homeless. The seawall and lighthouse survived the main flood, but were seriously undermined. The lighthouse collapsed into the river the next day.
- Lynmouth Flood / Wikipedia
It rather puts damage to Topsham's Goat Walk in perspective.

- Ray

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