New book unearths Honiton’s vibrant history in pictures

PUBLISHED: 10:02 20 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:52 30 December 2016

Honiton Through Time. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Honiton Through Time. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

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Gary Holpin’s Honiton Through Time takes readers on a pictorial journey through the town in the ‘olden days’, with poignant before and after shots showing how the town has gradually modernised throughout the last century.

The history of Honiton has been showcased through pictures new and old in a recenly-published book.

Gary Holpin’s Honiton Through Time takes readers on a pictorial journey through the town in the ‘olden days’, with poignant before and after shots showing how the town has gradually modernised throughout the last century.

The book offers a pictorial history of Honiton – with 90 historical photos, paired with a modern photo showing the same scene today, and a short section of history about each photo pair.

It covers a selection of locations across the town, including Honiton’s historic buildings such as the 17th century Marwood House, the 14th century Allhallows chapel and some of the many public houses which have come and gone over the years.

It also provides an insight into some of the events that have shaped the town’s history, such as the fires which destroyed much of the town’s medieval past, the lace and pottery industries, and the Hot Pennies ceremony for which the town is renowned.

A few of the of the many villages of the Otter valley are also briefly covered.

Gary, who is a photographer by trade, said: “Until moving to Honiton in 2003, I was neither a photographer or an author.

“However, falling in love with the south west coast led me to teach myself photography to do justice to our beautiful coastal scenery, and photography led me to becoming an author in my spare time. I’ve always had an interest in history, so that combined with a love of photography and my adopted Honiton home meant that it was easy to agree to writing Honiton Through Time when I was approach by the publisher in early 2016.

“Once I had the old photos I wanted to use, the next stage was to do my research for the historical text about each photo.

“In doing so, I read every publication I could find that had been written about the town, as well as lots of online research and in doing so learned huge amounts about Honiton’s fascinating past – in fact now when I walk down the high street, I no longer see just the buildings and streets, but also the echoes of almost a thousand years of history.

“The final stage was taking the modern day photos – much more challenging due to the car traffic that wasn’t a problem when the old photos were taken, and some scenes have changed so much that it was difficult even working out where some of the old photos were taken from.

After all of this, nine months later, Honiton Through Time was born.

Gary added he is thankful to Margaret Lewis of Honiton Museum for letting him access the museum’s extensive archive, and to Anthony Dimond of Honiton for letting him access his family collection of old Honiton photos.

The book has been published by Amberley Publishing and retails at £14.99. Purchase your copy from www.garyholpin.co.uk


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