Thursday, 16 February 2012


Text from "The Book of Fair Devon" United Devon Association, 1899

("This book is the official invitation of the United Devon Association to visitors and others who desire to become more thoroughly acquainted with this beautiful county so full of historical associations and romance of delightful scenes and unsurpassable variety and excellence of climate")

"Even when the tide is out, the estuary of the Exe is not to be despised. "There are reaches of golden sand bars, tinted with green and crimson patches of seaweed, which it is refreshing for the jaded toiler in cities to look upon.

Mysterious forms are moving to and fro over these sandy flats - whether of men or women it is next to impossible to decide, so weird and wonderful is the costume. It is as though the skirts of a woman were tucked into the garment peculiarly belonging to men,and which it is a reproach for women to wear. These mysterious figures are gathering into their baskets cockles , or shrimps, or winkles or whatsoever treasures the retreating tide has left high and dry."

Our supposed 'tourist', the 'jaded toiler' of the cities, is travelling on the South Devon line 'now, 1899, part of the Great Western system.' He has been advised to 'choose a seat on the left side of the carriage facing the engine on leaving Exeter for the South. 'Most of the beauties of the line are on this side.'

There is no mystery to the 'forms' he sees on the banks. They are the honest working women of the Estuary, none of whom is ever daft enough to try to gather a shrimp into a basket.

1 comment:

  1. Out of interest, The Book of Fair Devon is online at the Internet Archive (ID bookoffairdevon00unit).