Jan 232015

The first Clarks shoe factory was located in the centre of town, across from the “First and Last” pub close to the Exmouth Post Office. This opened in January 1961. (Thanks to Art Hine for this information).

The next factory was on the site of the Salterton Road Tesco Store.

The final factory was built in 1990 on the Liverton Business Park (Unit 6) and at its peak the 17,500 sq ft building employed upwards of 200 people. It closed around April 1999 and the building was taken over by the Seattle-based company Medical Equipment Incorporated followed by Homemaker (2006 – 30/06/2010), and Mooreways (28/12/2011 – 2013).

Mooreways 2015

Mooreways, pictured after its closure. This was the site of Clarks’ final factory in Exmouth.

Jan 152015
Bystock Pools

Bystock Pools

Bystock Pools are a well kept local secret, a staggeringly beautiful area a few miles North East of Exmouth, packed full of interesting wildlife.

The large lake, which looks quite natural, was built as a reservoir to serve Bystock Court and Marley House between 1879 and 1889. A pumping house pumped water from the reservoir uphill to a collecting tank which supplied both houses. There is a suggestion that the smaller pools in the area were for fish breeding.

The nature reserve is currently managed by Devon Wildlife Trust.

Jan 152015
Exmouth Zoo Guide 1977

1977 Guide Book – Thanks to David Lomas at zooguides.org.uk


Exmouth Zoo was originally opened as a branch of Paignton Zoological and Botonical Gardens in 1957, being subsequently purchased by Kenneth Smith in 1962. The Zoo was run privately by Ken Smith and his wife Trudy with the help of staff which included the Curator, Mrs Judith Bond.

Ken Smith

Ken Smith

Before coming to Exmouth Ken Smith was in Jersey, where he built the Zoo Park for Gerald Durrell and he stayed there for four years as superintendent. Before Jersey he was superintendent at Paignton Zoo for several years and prior to that he worked at Oxford Zoological Garden, Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, Calderpark Zoo near Glasgow, Belle Vue, Manchester, and later took over the management of the Cliftonville (Margate) Aquarium. During the intervals between his zoo work in Britain he went on zoological collecting expeditions to the tropics, to the Cameroons and Guyana (with Gerald Durrell), to Aden, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and Sierra Leone.

Ken Smith ended up owning four small West Country zoos (Exmouth, Poole, Shaldon and Newquay Children’s Zoo). These were eventually sold, Exmouth being the last, closing in 1980.


Maer amusements complex, once the site of Exmouth Zoo

The Zoo was located on the Maer, and used what was the Maer Golf Club’s clubhouse and a section of adjoining land. The building is currently (2015) home to Exmouth Leisure Amusements, though this may not be the case for much longer as the area is scheduled for redevelopment.


Fire at Exmouth Zoo in May 1961

Penguin Uses Plank for Floe in Jan 1964

Jan 142015
Hoffman Kiln at Redways Brickworks

Hoffman Kiln at Redways Brickworks (Devon Archives and Local Studies Service )

Redways Brickworks

Redways Brickworks (Devon Archives and Local Studies Service )

Redways Brickworks

Redways Brickworks (Devon Archives and Local Studies Service )


Exmouth’s first brickworks dating from the early 1700’s were probably based around lime kilns in the area of Stoney Lane, which is adjacent to Lime Kiln Lane. George Hooper was certainly making bricks here in the 1860’s.

In 1873 Thomas Redway opened his brickworks using local clay on 20 to 30 acres of land known as the Rill Park Estate purchased from the Lord of the Manor, a Mr Hull. This area is in the dip to the west of Marpool Hill and at the rear of Madeira Villas. Here he erected a Hoffman kiln which allowed him to sell bricks at around half the then current price. Eventually Thomas Redway took into partnership his son Augustus and Mr Alfred Augustus Carter, with the firm being known as Redway and Carter. The site was worked out in 1900, though the 150 ft chimney remained until December 1922.

The brickworks at Mudbank (East Devon Brick and Tile Works) were founded by George Warren, a local builder.

Horn Hooper established the brickworks at Withycombe. The bulk of the work’s output was not used locally, but taken by sea to Cornwall and elsewhere.