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The Custom House - Past and Present


Watchet's Heritage - The Custom House

Watchet's Historical Buildings
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Watchet's Historical Buildings
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This classically-proportioned Georgian House would probably have replaced a pre-existing building at the time the Esplanade was built in 1843 and it seems likely that it took its current form at that date as numerous changes were made to the surroundings, including adaptation and new building.

The owner claims it to be the Old Customs House and it does compare favourably with a very similar building in Falmouth Cornwall, with a comparable date and exactly that purpose.

A number of cottages existed in the period of the rebuilding directly linked to Swain Street, including the George Inn which ceased trading at the commencement of work to construct the Esplanade, and the current building consists of the original Custom House, a "one up one down" cottage at the west end and a row of terraced cottages to the rear, formed into a garage and vault for the later bank.

There is an ancient sewer under the current property which ran from Esplanade lane, under the Foundry and the Bell Inn, eventually expelling itself into the Washford river - a rather unpleasant thought. It has been suggested that the sewer was adapted from an old smugglers' tunnel.

The conversion was done by Lloyds Bank, who used the building as their main branch until the early 1990s, when it was derelict for several years.

The building currently hosts the Watchet Web Camera which provides a live feed of the harbour area on www.visit-watchet.co.uk

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This page is provided by Watchet Conservation Society with the help of Watchet Chamber of Trade
Text and history provided by Nick Cotton