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  • Nick Shillabeer

Dartmouth Lockdown week 6...

We are now entering week 6 of lockdown.

This is a long time, and we miss seeing our customer’s smiley faces in our shop. Sitting at our thinking table with the JackSpeak dog, isn’t quite the same.

But, we are open online, and we would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continuing orders that are piping through. We are pleased that our naval heritage apparel is bringing some cheer at least.

Dartmouth is very quiet, with everyone staying safe and keeping to the social distancing rules. One of the thoughts that HQ have come up with is a regular and brief history snippet about Dartmouth might be welcome. This covers two things, it keeps us busy thinking, and builds our customers knowledge of our town!

Our first snippet...

The Navy in Dartmouth and three very important buildings…

Dartmouth has been a home of the Royal Navy from the reign of Edward III and was twice surprised and sacked during the Hundred Years' War, after which the mouth of the estuary was closed every night with a great chain. The narrow mouth of the Dart is protected by two fortified castles, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle.

Dartmouth Castle is an artillery fort that has been guarding the town for over 600 years. The castle was the first fortification in the UK to be built with the sole purpose of housing projectile weapons for defence of a port. Funded by the wealthy merchants of the town who had prospered from privateering actions against French shipping during the Hundred Years War, it unusually incorporates the fine church of St Petrox. The castle saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. Successive up-dating included the Victorian 'Old Battery' with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and maze of passages to explore.

Kingswear Castle, also an artillery fort was built between 1491 and 1502 in response to the threat of French attack. It took the form of a three-storey, square tower built of slate rubble with red sandstone detailing. Its large, rectangular gun-ports with wooden shutters on the ground level matched those at Dartmouth Castle, and looked out close to the water at the entrance to the harbour, covering both the sea and the anchorage itself.

Britannia Royal Naval College stands proud above Dartmouth and has been at the forefront of providing education and leadership of world class naval officers since 1863. Today, it is the only remaining Naval College in the country, fulfilling a vital role in training naval cadets not only from Britain but those from the Commonwealth and all over the world. The iconic architecture is a spectacle in itself. Designed by Sir Aston Webb, it was completed in 1905. Once lockdown is over you can take a tour where you will discover many features and facets of life at the College, from the earliest days through the Second World War, right up to the world class training the College delivers today.

There endeth the brief history snippet. Feel free to use this to test your kids during home schooling and indeed you could get them to draw what they think the castles and college look like! You could also include a sneaky question in any online quizzes you might be taking part in…

We really hope we will see you soon, in the meantime stay safe, and keep sending us your JackSpeak pics or videos, even from home! And if you do fancy ordering anything at all, free delivery is on us.

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