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Events in Exeter's History

Page updated 29th December 2017

Many events, big and small have taken place in Exeter through the centuries. Here is a selection of short articles on events in Exeter, with extracts from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post (FP), the Express & Echo (EE) and Illustrated London News (ILN).

1913 - Exeter, month by month
1914 - Exeter month by month
1915 - Exeter month by month
1916 - Exeter month by month
1917 - Exeter month by month
1918 - Exeter month by month
Myths, legends and odd events from Exeter
19th Century petty crimes from the Flying Post

1001 and 1002 - The Battle of Pinhoe and the Viking Sweyne besieges Exeter
1068 - William the Conqueror besieges Exeter

1348 - The Black Death reaches Exeter

1549 - The Prayer Book Rebellion - Lord John Russell relieves the siege of Exeter

1644 - Princess Henrietta born in Bedford House - the youngest daughter of Charles I
1646 - Civil War: the siege of Exeter ends as the Treaty of Exeter is signed at Poltimore
1688 - William of Orange enters Exeter on the way to taking the throne of England
1694 - The Topsham Water Spout - houses, boats and property smashed

1741 - The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is founded
1786 - The first Balloon ascent from Exeter by Mr St Croix FP

Trewmans Exeter Flying Post
1801 - Admiral Nelson is given the Freedom of Exeter after the Battle of the Nile FP
1810 - Work starts on building the Exeter & Crediton Canal
1832 - The Cholera outbreak of 1832 with illustrations by John Gendall
1833 - The last duel in Devon - the story of Dr Hennis and Judge Jeffcott FP
1840 - The steamship Alert sails up the Exeter canal - the first steamship to reach Exeter FP
1847 - The Atmospheric Railway designed by Brunel runs between Exeter and Newton Abbot
1848 - The first gas Balloon ascent in Exeter from Exeter Castle FP
1866 - Exeter parades its new lifeboat through the streets and tests it in the Exe ILN
1872 - The Devon County Agricultural Association was formedto run the Devon County Show
1879 - The Riot Act is read for Saturnalia (Guy Fawkes)
1882 - The first horse tram in Exeter plus a history of the electric trams and bus service FP
1885 - The hanging of John 'Babbacombe' Lee at Exeter prison
1887 - The Theatre Royal Fire - 186 people perish in the worst theatre disaster in England
1896 - the first annual Exeter Cart Horse Parade
1896 to 1920 - The first cars in Exeter and early motoring FP
1898 - The first X-Ray is taken in Exeter for diagnosis

The Express and Echo
1911 - The 'Great' Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race reaches Whipton FP
1914 - The Great War - how Exeter responded to the conflict, and the VA Hospitals FP/EE
1917 - The tram crash on the Exe Bridge with Henry Wyke's original photograph
1919 - The Victoria Hall in Queens Street burns down - includes the loss of the concert organ! EE
1936 - The Ice-Factory at Bonhay Road burns down EE
1937 - Oswald Mosley speaks at the Civic Hall
1938 - Exeter Airport was opened by the Air Minister, Sir Kingsley Wood
1940 - HMS Exeter's officers and crew are given the Freedom of the City of Exeter
1940 - Exeter suffers its first air raid - list of eighteen raids on the city
1942 - The Blitz destroys Exeter during the April and May Baedeker raids
1942 - The Blitz in photographs
1952 - The last man to be sentenced to death at the Guildhall EE & Times
1960 - St Thomas Floods - destruction during October and December
1960 - St Thomas Floods - a photo essay, some in colour
1963 and 1964 - The Beatles entertain at the ABC, Exeter includes a BBC film interview with the Beatles
1964 and 1965 - The Rolling Stones play the ABC and Odeon EE
1968 - Fire at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Southernhay
1968 - Exeter's first kidney transplant
1974 - In September, the Monty Python Flying Circus team visited Exeter to film series four
1975 - Exwick's giant sunflower
1976 - The Onedin Line is filmed at Exeter Quay during March 1976 - a photo essay by Alan H Mazonowicz
1978 - The hunt for Genette Tate

2005 - Lt Lapenotiere's journey to London with the news of Trafalgar is re-enacted at Exeter
2007 - The Devon and Dorsets are disbanded. The Regiment takes the salute from the Duke of Kent
2007 - Debenhams last Saturday of trading in Sidwell Street
2009 - Remembering Woollies 
2010 - The December snow 'event'

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