Saturday, 28 January 2006
As you drive up to Newton Abbot you go under a bridge that is known as The Arch. A couple of days ago I took the photo with this banner, “Save our Library” hanging from it for all the world to see. The banner has done part of its job. I, and the tens of thousands who pass under the Arch now know the library is in danger.
There has been an Arch here since Roman times.
After the Romans left the Celts revered the arch as a sacred place.
The Saxon used it to hang criminals from and the Plantagenets built a monastery around it.
Henry VIII closed it down and it fell into ruin and decay.
In 1688, after he had invaded England, landing at Brixham, William of Orange marched under the Arch. He admired it so much that he declared that it was suitable to be his Victory Arch and he would come back one day and take it stone by stone to London. But he never got round to it.
By Victorian times only the arch remained. It is said that Isambard Kingdom Brunel passed under it as a young boy on his way for a day out in beautiful Torquay. Its structural majesty inspired him to be come an engineer, he was thinking of becoming a coach driver.
Finally in 1966 the local authority knocked the arch down to widen the road (we are still waiting for the road to be widened).
Going on past record the Library has had it.