Torquay

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Coordinates: 50°28′45″N 3°31′50″W / 50.4792°N 3.5305°W / 50.4792; -3.5305

Torquay (pronounced /tɔrˈkiː/) is a town in the unitary authority area of Torbay and ceremonial county of Devon, England. It lies 16 miles (26 km) south of Exeter along the A380 on the north of Torbay, 38 miles (61 km) north-east of Plymouth and adjoins the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay. Torquay’s population of 63,998 during the 2001 UK Census made it the third largest settlement in Devon.[1] If the Torbay area, of which Torquay forms a third, were to be recognised as a city, as incumbent Torbay Mayor Nicholas Bye has proposed, it would rank as the 45th largest city in the United Kingdom with a population only slightly less than that of Brighton, which was granted city status in 2000. During the peak summer season the resort's population swells to around 200,000.[2]

The town's economy was initially based upon fishing and agriculture as in the case of Brixham across Torbay, but in the early 19th century the town began to develop into a fashionable seaside resort, initially frequented by members of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars while the Royal Navy anchored in the bay and later by the crème de la crème of Victorian society as the town's fame spread. Renowned for its healthful climate, the town earned the nickname of the English Riviera and favourable comparisons to Montpellier.

Torquay was the home of the writer Agatha Christie, who lived most of her life there. The town contains an "Agatha Christie Mile", a tour with plaques, dedicated to her life and work.[3]

Torquay's name originates in it being the quay of the ancient village of Torre. In turn, Torre takes its name from the tor, the extensively quarried remains of which can be seen by the town's Tor Hill Road.[4]

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