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History_07_church images
As you look into Brixham from the harbour, you see the tower of All Saints' Church standing guard over the town. It was founded in 1815, and its most famous vicar was the Rev. Francis Lyte, composer of "Abide with me". He lived at Berry Head House, now a hotel, and when he was a very sick man, near to dying, he looked out from his garden as dusk fell over Torbay, and the words of that beautiful hymn came into his mind as the evening of the day and of his life approached.

Apart from fishing, most of the other local industries were connected with our rocks. Limestone was once quarried extensively. It was used to build the breakwater, for houses and roads, and was sent to Dagenham to make steel for Ford cars. It was also burnt in limekilns to reduce it to a powder which was spread on the land in other parts of Devon as an agricultural fertiliser. You will see the old quarries and the limekilns as you walk around the town. Another mineral found in Brixham is ochre. This gave the old fishing boats their "red sails in the sunset", but the purpose was to protect the canvas from seawater, not to be picturesque. It was boiled in great caldrons, together with tar, tallow and oak bark, the last ingredient giving the name of barking yards to the places where the hot mixture was painted on to the sails, which were then hung up to dry.

The ochre was also used to make a very special paint. This was invented in Brixham in about 1845 and was the first substance in the world that would stop cast iron from rusting. None of the well-known scientists of the day could find a way of doing this, and, when the paint began to be made here, it sold all round the globe. Other types of paint were made here as well, and the works were in existence until 1961. There were iron mines at Brixham, and for a while they produced very high quality ore but the last one closed in 1925. Most of the sites have been built over and there are now no remains of this once important industry.