Figurehead that "heralded the start of the season" is back on display in Salcombe

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Figurehead that "heralded the start of the season" is back on display in Salcombe

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A local piece of seafaring history is back on display again in Salcombe this summer, after the homeowner received permission to re-erect the ship’s figurehead back in its original setting for the summer period.

The popular figurehead had historically been placed on an Island Terrace home in Salcombe every summer for around 50 years and became a popular local landmark.

The home originally belonged to the Cove family who lived there from the 1860s. Both Thomas and Edwin Cove captained fruit schooners that were built in Salcombe to ply the fruit trade from the Caribbean and South America. The figurehead from a Salcombe built vessel was part of several nautical artefacts collected by the family during that time.

Originally, the figurehead was mounted on the boatshed at the rear of the property, but during the Second World War, while the house was occupied by US servicemen, preparing for the D-Day Landings, the figurehead was removed for safe keeping. During the early 1950s, the house was returned to the Cove family and Harold started the tradition of erecting the figurehead every summer for the next 50 years.

The original method for attaching the figurehead remains and will be used to display over the summer period, without any damage to the listed building or harm to the conservation area. The current owner had received so many enquiries about the whereabouts of the historic piece that he has asked the owners if he could continue the tradition, while also undertaking important restoration work and storage.

Cllr Judy Pearce, South Hams District Council’s Ward Member for Salcombe and Thurlestone, said: “This is a wonderful piece of Salcombe’s heritage, not only because of its nautical links, but those of the town. Fifty years of being on public display has ensured that the figurehead heralds the start of the busy summer season and long may it continue.”

Cllr Mark Long, South Hams District Council’s Ward Member for Salcombe and Thurlestone, said: “The figurehead is very well received by locals and visitors alike, and it gains plenty of attention and comment during the summer period. It will be good to see it back in situ again this year.”

You can now see the figurehead in place on its Island Terrace home.

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