Ilfracombe Victorian Celebration: The Victorian Era
Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901 is seen by many as a golden age.
During this period the Victorians developed Ilfracombe into a magnificent seaside resort. The architecture of this time is unsurpassed, as can be seen all around the town. In it heyday, Ilfracombe positively bustled with activity.
As well as arriving by road, many visitors travelled by paddle steamer. Ilfracombe was the main cruise destination for services from Bristol and Cardiff.
In 1874 the Barnstaple and Ilfracombe Railway (later the London South Western Railway, Southern Railway and British Rail) first brought visitors to Ilfracombe by train. The single line railway was so successful that in 1888 work began on doubling the track to Barnstaple and it later carried direct trains from both Waterloo and Paddington, eventually handling some 10,000 passengers on summer Saturdays until its closure in 1970.
The arrival of the railway was accompanied by many other changes during the Victorian era. Lifestyles, fashions and people’s outlook on life were influenced by new ideas and produce from throughout the empire, while new products were being made in Britain by our developing manufacturing industries. Tremendous advances in science and technology accelerated the pace of change to make this one of the most exciting periods in history.
Ilfracombe remains largely untouched by the 20th and 21st Centuries and many of its building stand as a tribute to the Victorian craftsmen who built them.
The surrounding timeless scenery, breathtaking in its beauty, can still be seen from within the town, while the warm climate and lure of the sea continue to attract visitors now, just as they did in the Victorian era.
These are just a few of the reasons to join us for this special week as we turn back the clock and celebrate that magnificent era with our Ilfracombe Victorian Celebration.