This website records some of my research into the history of Sidmouth.
Sidmouth is a seaside town on the south coast of east Devon, England. It is set in a fertile valley between two high hills, south of the Roman road from London to Exeter.
Many centuries ago it was a fishing and farming village, but once Doctors discovered the health-giving properties of sea air and fresh food for the worn out and jaded members of the upper classes it became a fashionable resort and health spa.
It was named as ‘The English Riviera’ in newspapers at about the same time Torbay started adopting the phrase. The earliest newspaper record of the term is applied to the Undercliff on the Isle of Wight. Sidmouth therefore has equal historical rights to the phrase as Torbay does.
The farms, market gardens and allotments of Sidmouth have been long replaced by houses but many open green spaces remain. Due to the type of visitor, and incoming resident, that Sidmouth has always attracted areas for ‘taking the air’ and gentle excercise have been created; as well as options for more strenuous activities such as tennis, cricket and rugby. The history of these clubs can be traced back to the heyday of the 19th century.
The architecture of the town is an attraction for many visitors. There are hundreds of listed buildings in Sidmouth and probably over a hundred more in the rest of the parish. They are detailed online at Historic England or you can see where they are on this independent website.