Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

Yelverton – Then and Now

There are parts of Yelverton which, in spite of losing certain historical features, are as recognisable in the 21st Century as they were in early 20th Century. One particular view which epitomises this is from the roadside just to the east of the modern roundabout looking North West.

This post considers this ‘view’ from 1912, where a siding and the main line of Thomas Tyrwhitt’s Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway was still extant and which were framed in the background by the Devon Tors Hotel, Beechfield Villa and the Methodist Church. The main differences into the 21st Century are the loss of the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway granite rails and the octagonal tower with spire on the Methodist Church.

0. Map
This annotated map of Yelverton from 1873-88 shows the main buildings as being the Rock Hotel, Rock Cottages, Beechfield and Beechfield Villa. The map would have changed considerably over the next 20 years or so with the building of Devon Tors Hotel in 1891 (originally as a row of terraced houses) and the Methodist Chapel which was opened in 1907.
1. Picture 1912
Yelverton in 1912. The author is not sure what ‘event’ appears to be going on in front of the Devon Tors Hotel and Beechfield Villa. The Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt’s Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (P&DR) is shown as being constructed on raised embankments. This railway had been completed 89 years earlier in 1823. The railway was never a huge success and was superseded for much of its length by the Great Western Railway which was opened in 1883. Of interest in the picture, is the woman pushing a pram across the siding of the P&DR.
2. Picture 21st Century
The approx. same view in the 21st Century. The large tree obscures the south east corner of the methodist church, where originally there was an octagonal tower with spire which was removed in 1956/7 due to wood rot.
3. Then and Now
Then and Now comparison pictures. The Devon Tors Hotel was built in 1891 as a terrace of houses. These were then bought up in 1910 by Charles Wilson, a gentleman and strict churchman, and converted into a temperance hotel (ref: T. Quick – Dartmoor Inns). The hotel was very popular as Yelverton was very popular as a place for convalesce as it was thought that the air was very pure. It was finally granted a full liquor licence in 1962. The Methodist Chapel was designed by the architect W. Beddoes Rees and opened in August 1907. Apparently is was the last Bible Christian Chapel to be constructed in the South-West (ref: https://www.chapelssociety.org.uk/com-feb-2015/)
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