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Iconic Sidmouth Toll House gets makeover

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 August 2011

FLASHBACK: The Toll House of old.

FLASHBACK: The Toll House of old.

Archant

IS this iconic Sidmouth landmark one of the country’s prettiest council houses?

East Devon District Council certainly thinks so after investing in an extensive restoration of the nearly 200-year-old property.

The Grade II listed Toll House - one of Sidmouth’s most unusual homes - had its leaking roof was replaced, chimneys repaired and old central heating system upgraded, while the interior was made more comfortable for tenants.

“The Toll House has been a feature of Sidmouth’s townscape for nearly two centuries and EDDC is proud to have restored it to its former glory, whilst making the interior comfortable for one of its tenants,” said a council spokesman.

The property has also been re-decorated using traditional Devon colours.

Sidmouth’s Skinner Construction won the tender process and was entrusted with the refurbishment.

Salcombe Hill residents first called for a bridge to connect them to the town as, when the River Sid was in flood, they were forced into using a precarious looking structure made from a fallen tree trunk – or had to drive their carriages on a three mile de-tour via Sidford.

Support for a bridge and a connecting road across Salcombe fields grew and, by 1817, enough money had been raised through public subscription to complete the work. Those who’d contributed towards the cost of the bridge wanted to see a return for their investment, so a small Toll House and gate were erected.

The bridge was named Waterloo after Wellington’s great victory over Napoleon in 1815.

Following the abolition of the Sidmouth and Honiton Turnpike Trusts, the house had several uses and was eventually acquired by Sidmouth Urban District Council in 1936.

Although the property had been maintained, the gate was forgotten about and languished in a nearby field.

Following the great flood of July 10, 1968, the house became unfit for human habitation and lay empty until it was refurbished by the council in 1974.

It was re-let to a council tenant in 1975.

In the late 1970s, the gate was re-discovered and restored by the Sid Vale Association. Although not in its original position, it now acts as a gateway to the Byes.

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