BYGONES IS AN INDEPENDENT ATTRACTION, CREATED AND RUN BY THREE GENERATIONS OF THE CUMING FAMILY – BUT HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Back in the 1980s, Ken Cuming’s obsession with railwayana started to out-grow his house. The ﬁnal straw for wife, Patricia Cuming, came in 1986 when Ken purchased a huge 27-ton railway engine from Falmouth Docks. As good fortune would have it, the couple spotted that the old cinema had become available in St. Marychurch and they bravely took the plunge to turn their hobby into a family business. The Cumings decided to combine their interests in railways and objects from the past, and invite the public to come and visit the collections. Bygones was born.
One Sunday in February 1987, the road outside of Bygones was closed and the 27-ton steam engine arrived. We removed the front of the building and used 2 enormous cranes to winch it into position. Much to his wife’s delight, Ken had named the engine ‘Patricia’. Over the next year or so, with the help of an excellent mason, a skilful carpenter and many patient friends, the Cuming family recreated a Victorian street scene. It took much research and a lot of travelling to secure authentic building materials and genuine exhibits, but ﬁnally, on the 23 May 1987, Bygones was opened to the public by the Mayor of Torbay.
THREE FLOORS OF HISTORY… IN A NUTSHELL!
Wander back in time, starting towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. Visit our authentic life-size Victorian Street filled with all original items. See the Blacksmith hard at work making horseshoes. He is a valuable master of his trade, the equivalent of a highly skilled mechanic today. Smell the treats of the Sweetshop that would have been made fresh every morning on site. Listen to the hustle and bustle of everyday living, immerse yourself in Victorian life.