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  • Writer's pictureRuss Hewer

Castleton Fishacre - The best example of an art deco house in the UK

One of my favourite scene in film Chariots of Fire was the Gilbert and Sullivan composition of "He is an Englishman" which was performed during that era by D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

I completed the first ever London Marathon in April 1981 and this marathon and film, released a month later, inspired me and others to keep going and help start the running boom in the UK. It also gave me an introduction to the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company so when I lived in Devon, this house was one of my first visits

Rupert D'Oyly Carte was the third generation of this great opera family and the owner of the Savoy Hotel in London. He built this house from 1923-26 from local slate and in the style of the arts and craft movement of the time. This was his weekend retreat but his wife Lady Dorothy D'Oyly Carte main residence until she divorced Rupert in 1941

Their daughter Bridget then took over the property and sold it to the owner of the Palace hotel in Torquay in 1949 and the National Trust took ownership in 1982

Not only does this house have a great art deco interior but one of the best gardens in the UK running down to the estuary. The interior has been designed on simplicity and quality. Just click on the slider in the below picture to reveal this amazing interior

The family were very informal of the time and inclusive and they looked after their domestic helpers and gardeners. They had 4 domestic helpers and 6 gardeners.

The gardens are one of the best in the UK because they have a simplicity and intimacy with large trees, lawns, exotic flowers and vast colours. The best time to visit would be when they open at 10.30am to miss the crowds or at a special christmas lighting event. Check that they are open by clicking the National Trust link at the very bottom of this blog

On the 27 September 2019, The ranger team will be leading countryside walks from Coleton Fishacre to Pudcombe Cove, along the South West Coast Path to Ivy Cove, and back to Coleton Fishacre via Coleton Camp. On the way they'll be talking about the wildlife that thrives on this stretch of coast, and the work that the National Trust does to care for it.

The domestic helpers had all the modern appliances available with Hoovers but they also has traditional AGA's. In my area of the UK, AGA's are very popular with bright colours. For more information about what an aga is click here:

The garden was designed by Lady Dorothy D'Oyly Carte and has many flowers that are tropical and exotic which are not normally able to be grown in the UK but the local area is known to have a micro climate.

Coleton Fishacre

National Trust

Brownstone Road




Telephone: 01803 842382

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