Common Hill House, Ilfracombe, Devon (c.1845)

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Devon West Country Studies L SC1219
Illustration Reference
CD 20 DVD 3
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Hoskins, W. G. Devon. London: Collins, 1954. pp. 414-5.ILFRACOMBE is a seaside resort on the N. coast of Devon with distinctive and striking cliff scenery, arising from the slates which reach the sea in glistening rocks and reefs. Down to the end of the Napoleonic Wars it was simply a market town and fishing port, with a small overseas trade, but always overshadowed by Barnstaple and Bideford. By the time Lysons wrote it was "an agreeable summer residence" and was increasingly frequented as "a bathing-place." Herrings were, however, still more important than visitors. The population grew more rapidly during the 1830s and there is a certain amount of attractive building of this period. [...] The most rapid growth took place between 1861 and 1891 when the population doubled (3851 to 7692), and the predominant architecture is therefore late Victorian.[This print has now been identified as Comyn Hill House. The Architect's name written below the print - Richard Gane Jnr. Architect, - presumably indicates that the print was produced as part of an architect's submission to his client. Perhaps the inaccuracy occured at this stage. Whatever, no directories or other guides of the period have been found to carry any mention of Common Hill House.A 1925 Guide to Ilfracombe (p. 141) advertises a Mrs. Blackmore running Comyn Hill House as a country board residence. The guide mentions extensive grounds, set 20 minutes from the centre of town, table d'hote 7p.m., produce from home farm, garage, and sea views. According to Lois Lamplugh's A History of Ilfracombe (Phillimore, 1984.), in the 20 years after the second world war, an attractive little zoo was run in the grounds of Comyn Hill House.Currently Comyn Hill House is part of the park run by John Fowler Holidays. The Library gratefully acknowledges help from Heather Miles, Park Manager of John Fowler Holidays in identifying this house.] [Text may be taken from a different source or edition than that listed as the source by Somers Cocks.]
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