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Polsloe Bridge to Whipton
The Railwayman Polsloe Bridge, The Railway and Queen Bess.
The Red House Hotel The Red House, Honeylands, Whipton Institute.
The Village Inn Whipton Village Road, All Saints Church.
Micawbers Micawbers, the Village centre.
Around & About Rennes House & the Modern Village
Devon County Show Exeter Arena, the old Showground

Railwayman History

Start at The Railwayman at Polsloe Bridge. This pub used to be the Queens Head until May 2001 and used to stand next to Tremlet's, a hide company on Shilhay, close to where the BT offices now stand. Relocation is likely to have taken place in the 1930's though I can't find an exact date. The Queen's Head was named after Elizabeth I.

Most of the larger houses in Pinhoe Road (the Whipton by-pass) were built around 1930 by local builders Wakeham and Tucker. An O.S. Map of 1905 shows the site of the present pub to have been the location of Polsloe Bridge Cottages.

The Queens Head

Railway and the Priory

The Pub is fairly large with a beer garden and childrens play area at the rear. The side entrance looks likely to have once been a footpath to the railway yards behind the Pub.

The 1905 O.S. map mentioned earlier shows a footpath just to the west of Polsloe Cottages. This footpath was used by railwaymen to get to their work at the engine sheds and lines of the old LSWR. The railway ran into Exeter Queen Street (now Central Station), and was opened in 1860. The original single track was doubled by 1870. On the very same map, to the east is shown the original 'Westbrick' brick and tile works. Their works and quarries are now in Pinhoe. They donated Polsloe Priory to the City in 1935.

Branches of the LSWR were built to Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth and Exmouth. Near the Exmouth Junction, to the north west of the Pub was one of the largest steam sheds on the Southern Region rail system. The original sheds were built in 1880 and renewed in 1928. 123 steam locos were based here in 1950 and were used on the aforementioned branches and main line to London. For more information on the railway systems around Exeter, look at the 'Exwick to St David's' and 'City Centre to Shilhay' pages available through the side menu and site navigator and click the 'closed' link below. Several halts were built in and around Exeter. St James Halt still serves Exeter City FC. Polsloe Bridge is still operational. Mount Pleasant and Whipton Bridge have now closed. The Whipton Bridge Halt opened in 1908 and closed in 1923, it was situated on the Exeter Arena side of Summer Lane by the red stone railway bridge. 430 men were employed in the sheds in 1926, a further Exmouth Junction shed was built in 1887 and rebuilt in 1929. Many of these workers lived around the Pub area in Whipton Village Road, Widgery Road and Beacon Avenue. The Exmouth shed was closed completely in 1963. This site now hosts a large supermarket and petrol station.

Beacon Lane, close to the pub was once known as Rat Lane after the thousands of rats that were to be found along the stream and in the nearby fields. Finish your pint and head up Pinhoe Road towards Whipton.

Honey Land

Heading up the hill on your right you'll see the newer houses of the Honeylands Estate built in 1986 on land formerly belonging to Honeylands Childrens Home. Honeylands was vacated by the Hare family in 1920, when they moved into the Red House (now the Red House Hotel). The Red House Hotel is your next stop. Turn into Whipton Village Road on your left. Find an appropriate bar in the Hotel.

The Red House Hotel

The Whipton Village by-pass (Pinhoe Road), which you have just left was only completed in the late 1930's to relieve the increasing traffic through the Village, many of the houses along the road were also built in the 1930's. Honeylands was built in 1711. Former occupants, the Hare family also owned the Devon & Somerset Stores in Exeter High Street and Whipton Village Road. The Hares were well known benefactors to the people of Whipton. After they vacated Honeylands, the place became a childrens sanitorium having been donated to Exeter City Council in 1923 by Miss Violet Channing-Wills of the Wills Tobacco family of Torquay.

The entrance to the house is pretty impressive as can be seen from the picture. The walls are of Bath stone. The home was to be used for the treatment of chidren, many suffering from contagious diseases. With the decline of TB in the 1960's the home became used for the treatment of children with special needs. Vranch House School & Spastic Centre has close links with Honeylands and was opened in 1971 by HRH The Dutches of Kent.

Red House Hotel History

Once you've necked your pint head off down Whipton Village Road towards Whipton.

A little further down the road on the left is the Whpton Institute. In 1919 fund raising began to transport the old corrugated iron Topsham Town Hall to Whipton to become the institute. It took 5 years to raise the required £581.00. The land was donated by Mrs Jane Hare who occupied the Red House. The institute was opened in 1925 and the original building was used until fairly recently. A new hall was opened in 1958 with a further building in 1990 which replaced the original structure (I think).

Just opposite the Institute stands Chapelfield, this was the original church of the Gospel Bretheren and was opened by Mr FG Alford in 1930. A newer Whipton Chapel now stands in Polsloe Road.


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