Curious Devon: a peek inside Peak House
PUBLISHED: 11:45 06 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:54 17 October 2019
Picture: Alex Walton
In our first in a series of features exploring the hidden treasures of Devon, we take a look around the Edwardian country estate of Peak House, in Sidmouth.
Situated on the slope of Peak Hill, to the western end of Sidmouth, is the Edwardian building known as Peak House.
This beautiful country house, which was rebuilt after a major fire destroyed the original building, was first occupied at the turn of the 20th century and is now split into four flats.
According to the Sid Vale Association's Blue Plaque guide book, the original house was built by Emmanuel Baruh Lousada, a 'wealthy and well-liked gentleman', who helped kick-start a rapid change for Sidmouth.
Peak House was the most influential property ever to be built in Sidmouth and was likely to be the reason for the development of the town.
Mr Lousada, being a man of standing, had many wealthy friends and family members who came to visit Sidmouth.
News of the beauty of the town and its charms spread far and wide among aristocratic circles with many people moving to the region to set up houses of their own.
Peak House, as it stands today, is a delightful property constructed of Beer stone and sited nearby to where the original dwelling existed, with a south-easterly view across the sea.
Many of the Georgian fittings, such as fireplaces and doors which survived the fire of the old building, were incorporated into the new build and remain in situ today.
During World War I, the house was offered for use as a Red Cross Hospital by owner Sir Thomas Dewey.
Sir Thomas generously continued to pay the taxes, rates and electricity for the hospital, which opened in November 1916, with 53 beds divided between the three floors.
The Herald kindly thanks the Barlow family for access to the property.
More: further information about Emmanuel Lousada and the history surrounding Peak House can be found in the Sid Vale Association's 'A Guide to the Blue Plaques - Life & Times in Sidmouth'
Send us your stories: Curious Devon is a new series of features highlighting interesting and special places from around the region and the people who live and work there. If you know of a place or a person you would like us to feature then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.