History Group Talks September 2016

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This months talk was given by Dr Todd Grey on the Fire of the Royal Clarence hotel in Exeter in October 2016.                

 The luxury Hotel with 53 bedrooms was destroyed after a fire broke out in the Art gallery next door, these buildings stood in the Cathedral Yard along with St Martin’s Island  Todd was very quickly on the scene when fire broke out, ITN television was also on the scene and it became apparent that the fire broke out in the Art Gallery spreading quickly across the roof of the Royal Clarence. He was on hand to give advice to the Fire Service about the history of the area and spent the next ten days talking with them. There had been no research by the university of Devon buildings and there was no building officer within the Exeter City Council, no one with any knowledge of the structure of the building.Within St Martin’s Island. The parish of St Martins consisted of 62 houses within the High Street and through St Martins Lane, there were 329 residents in 1821 which fell to 207 in 1867. The Church, one of the oldest in Exeter was consecrated by Bishop Leofric of Burgundy in 1065. He dedicated it to St Martin  of Tours, the patron saint of beggars.  most of the present structure belongs to the15th century.

Todd gave many dates and slides of features that have been unearthed  including the oldest toilet dating back to 1550.  It still stands today within the Laura Ashley shop. 

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