Bed and Breakfast, near Tiverton
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Tiverton is a town in the County of Devon, in England. It is the administrative centre for the Mid Devon District Council. Its name is derived from 'The Town on Two Fords' or 'Twy-Ford-Ton' - 'Twyverton'. The Town stands at the confluence of the rivers Exe and Lowman. Human occupation in the area dates back to the Stone-Age, with many flint tools found in the area. An Iron Age hillfort, Cranmore Castle stands on a hill above the town, and a Roman fort was discovered on the hillside below Knightshayes Court near Bolham, just to the north of the town. Blundell's School an independent school, was founded in Tiverton in 1604, and relocated to its present location on the outskirts of Tiverton in 1882.
Tiverton owes its early growth and prosperity to the wool trade, which caused the town to grow in the 16th and 17th Centuries. By the turn of the 18th Century the trade was peaking, and a century of turmoil followed during the early Industrial Revolution with many riots by the Town's societies of Woolcombers and Weavers. By the end of the Century, due to imports and the expansion of industrialization elsewhere, the town's woollen industry was in terminal decline.
In 1815 the Industrialist John Heathcoat bought an old Woollen Mill on the river Exe and shortly afterwards moved his Lace manufactury to the Town, following the destruction of his machinery in Loughborough by former Luddites in the pay of the lacemakers of Nottingham The Factory turned the fortune of Tiverton once again, and it became an early Industrial centre in the South West. It gained a reputation as one of the 'rotten boroughs' targeted by those seeking Electoral Reform. Although small, it had two MPs representing it. Lord Palmerston, or 'Pam' as he was known locally, was one of these MPs for a large part of the 19th century. In 1848 the Chartists, a Radical group seeking to change the Electoral system, stood one of their leaders George Julian Harney against Palmerston. He is widely reported as having gained no votes - but in fact he won the 'popular vote' (A show of hands of the people of the Town), and withdrew when Palmerston called a Ballot because he knew that he would lose in a vote consisting only of the wealthy and propertied in the town (Only 400 out of a population of 7000 were entitled to vote at that time, which is one of the things the Chartists sought to change). After the Reform Act, Tiverton had just the one MP, generally one of the Heathcoat-Amory family.
The town was the last in the Devon & Cornwall area to retain an independent Police Force, up until 1945. In the second half of the 20th Century Tiverton once again fell into decline, as the Heathcoat factory became ever more mechanised, the Starkey Knight & Ford Brewery was taken over by Whitbread as its regional brewery, but later closed, becoming just a bottling plant, and then lying derelict for some years before being demolished to make way for a Supermarket. The manufacturing industry on Lowman Island in the town died a lingering death, and the Globe Elastics plant in the Town also closed down. During the 1990s the Town underwent something of a revival and has now become a relatively thriving dormitory town.
The demand for housing in the UK and particularly in the South-West has driven house prices up and many now look to towns on the periphery of employment centres. Tiverton has become a popular town for commuters to nearby Exeter and Taunton and this growth has been supported by large, 'Toytown' style housing projects to the North of the town by most national house builders including Westbury Homes, Barrett Homes and Bellway Homes. This influx of population has led to further development of the towns services and shops, although not all these developments have been entirely positive. The town now has a newly built PFI (Private Finance Initiative) Hospital, which has left the old Hospital a derelict eyesore in the Town Centre. It has also replaced it's out-of-date Swimming Pool with a new 'Leisure Centre' - in reality a new Swimming Pool with a small Gym tacked on. It also has the main campus for the East Devon College - the largest local Further Education College. Additionally the Mid Devon District Council has recently built new Offices at 'Phoenix House' at the foot of Phoenix Lane, close to the site of the old Brewery, the building includes a new library.
More recently supermarket giant Tesco has opened a new store in Tiverton situated on the site of the old Lowman Works, at the edge of the town centre, leaving their former premises on the High Street empty and Derelict. At this time (November 2005) national catalogue chain store Argos has expressed an interest in occupying the vacated premises (source Tiverton Gazette). This continued growth is changing the Town, though it remains to be seen if all of these changes will be for the good of Tiverton in the long term.
or Phone: 01884 829211
Address: Brambles Bed and Breakfast, Whitnage Cottage, Whitnage, Tiverton, Devon EX16 7DS.
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