Devon LivingIssue #02

Way Back When – Torpoint Ferry

A look at life in Devon in days gone by.

People have been crossing this short stretch of water for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, but it wasn’t until 1791 that a formal ferry service was established. Originally relying on sail or oar power alone, steam was later adopted and amazingly still used until 1960! But the greatest innovation was the introduction of a chain ferry or ‘floating bridge’ in the 1830s, creating a reliable modern service, the principles of which continue to this day. In fact, the ferry shown here isn’t that far removed from the one still operating today. While the horses and carriages have made way for cars, the ferry still pulls itself across the water by the fixed chains, with the drawbridges that are raised and lowered at each end for passengers to load up
and disembark.

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