The city of Exeter is the county town of Devon, in England, UK. It is located at 50° 43' 25" N, 3° 31' 39" W. In the 1991 census its population was recorded at 98,100. The city's motto, Semper fidelis, was suggested by Elizabeth I.
Until the construction of main road by-passes in the twentieth century, Exeter was the lowest bridging point of the River Exe, and therefore developed as an administrative and route centre. From Saxon times until the nineteenth century, the diocese of Exeter covered the whole of the counties of Devon and Cornwall, and civil administration and services tended to follow the lines of the ecclesiastical. Exeter was also a port: the limit of tides of the River Exe lies below Exeter, and the small town of Topsham on the estuary (nowadays within the city limits) developed as a port for the city, but goods were transported to the city's quays in lighters. Eventually a ship canal was constructed so that ocean-going vessels could reach the city's quays, and this remained in regular use until ships increased in size with the development of steam power. It is still used for leisure boating.
|Table of contents|
3 Politics and administration
4 Notable Buildings
6 Colleges and Universities
9 See also
10 External links
The city provides light industries and services to a sizeable area. The Met Office, the main weather forecasting organisation for the United Kingdom and one of the most significant in the world, has recently relocated from the London area to Exeter. It will be one of the three largest employers in the area (the others being the university and Devon County Council, and it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy.
There was a settlement on the banks of the Exe prior to the Romans' foundation of Isca Dumnoniorum in c. AD 50, building a defensive wall to surround the settlement. Isca was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in England. Significant parts of the Roman wall remain (obviously much patched in subsequent centuries), and most of its route can be traced on foot. There is a substantial Roman baths complex, though because this is close to the cathedral, it has not yet been practicable to excavate it for public view. Exeter was also the southern starting point for the Fosse Way Roman road.
In 876 Exeter was attacked by the Danes.
Early in the English Industrial revolution, Exeter's industry developed on the basis of locally available agricultural products, since the city's location on a fast-flowing river gave it ready access to water power. However when steam power replaced water in the later nineteenth century, Exeter was too far from sources of coal (or iron) to develop further. As a result the city declined in relative importance, and was spared the rapid nineteenth century development that changed many historic European cities out of all recognition; this may be why it is nowadays regularly voted within the top few cities of the United Kingdom for quality of life.
World War II
Exeter was extensively bombed by the Germans during WWII, in a 1942 raid that formed part of the Baedeker Blitz. Forty acres of the city were levelled by incendiary bombing by the German Luftwaffe: many historic buildings were destroyed, and others including Exeter Cathedral were damaged. The city was rebuilt in the 1950s in an attempt to preserve its ancient heritage, though many authorities feel that the post-war reconstruction was weak and failed to conserve partly-damaged structures that could have been saved, as well as making too many concessions to motor traffic. Previously regarded as second only to Bath as an architectural site in southern England, Exeter is now a city with some beautiful buildings rather than a beautiful city. As a result, although there is a significant tourist trade, Exeter is not dominated by tourism.
Politics and administration
Exeter forms a single parliamentary seat. It is relatively marginal, and since the second World War its Member of Parliament has usually been drawn from the governing party. At the UK general election, 1997, Ben Bradshaw was elected as MP for Exeter.
Exeter's city council is a local government district authority, and shares responsibility for local government with the Devon County Council. In recent years, the city council has been dominated by Labour Party and Liberal Democrat members. Since 2003, no party has had a majority on the council.
Among the notable buildings in Exeter are:
Ruined gatehouse at Rougemont Castle
Note the red sandstone, characteristic of many older Exeter buildings.
Many of these are built in the local dark red sandstone, which gives its name to the castle and the park that now surrounds it (Rougemont = red hill).
Museums and galleries
Exeter is twinned with:
Colleges and Universities
The city remains at a critical point on the transport networks.
There is a small airport (IATA code EXT), and the local airline, previously called Jersey European and British European but now known as Flybe, is a significant local employer. There are scheduled services to Toronto (seasonal), to a few cities in the U.K and to the Channel Islands and Scilly Isles, and more numerous charter flights (also seasonal) to holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands and the Balearics.