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Torbay landmarks to get a facelift

Monday, 9 October 2023 16:27

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Oldway Mansion (Image: Steven Heywood)

Lottery funds will restore Oldway and Pavilion

Torbay’s hidden history is to be unearthed thanks to a multi-million-pound investment from the National Lottery.

The bay has been included in a list of places to get an as-yet undisclosed share of £200 million from the lottery’s Heritage Fund, which says it will ‘inspire communities, revitalise economies and build pride in place.’

Now campaigners fighting to save derelict historic places like Oldway and Torquay’s Pavilion hope the money will help them.

But there are also plans to use the cash to celebrate the ‘hidden history’ of the bay’s women, its LGBT community, fishing industry and its ‘new communities’ such as people who have moved from Eastern Europe.

“It’s a great opportunity to tell some forgotten stories,” said Dr Kevin Dixon of the Torbay Culture Board.

“It’s about unlocking the bay’s history and helping people have pride in the place.”

The new Heritage Places initiative will last for 10 years, and aims to drive tourism and attract new visitors at the same time as ‘educating and uplifting’ local communities.

It is hoped that in places like Oldway, Torre Abbey and the Paignton Picture House it will help unlock wider investment and support new projects. Torbay is the only place in the westcountry in the first phase of the scheme.

Torbay Council deputy leader Chris Lewis said: “This has the potential to make a huge difference to everyone in Torbay. Together we will be defining the projects that will significantly benefit from this partnership and which ultimately build stronger heritage connections and communities.”

And, said Dr Dixon: “It gives us an opportunity to seriously start looking at what can be done with places like Oldway and the Pavilion, but it’s about heritage and not just about buildings.

“It shows that there is a real interest in Torbay as one of those neglected places, and we can start looking at its remarkable heritage.

“People are really interested in the places where they live, and how they were in the past.

“I want to look at the forgotten bits of Torbay’s history – its women, its LGBT history, its fishing communities, the large Eastern European community and more recent arrivals.

“This is a great opportunity for the bay.”

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