Salcombe History Society

Discover the history of the Devonshire town of Salcombe …

Newsletter – Issue 25 – June 2023

In this issue we’re featuring photos from Dornom’s Boatyard in Salcombe. The Dornom family were of Danish origin. John Dornom arrived in South Devon from the port town of Esjberg on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark in the late 18th century.

The family’s yard was a corrugated iron and wooden shed standing by what is now Whitestrand car park from 1889 to 1968. After WW2, Dornom’s boatyard was run by Aaron junior, Sidney and Wilfred and subsequently by their sons George, Frederick and Easton, and continued to build wooden pleasure craft and fishing boats until 1968.

Dornom’s Boatyard 1947-48, Ed Hannaford in foreground


South Hams Vintage Rally: Saturday 12 to Sunday 13 August 2023
We will have our usual stand at the South Hams Vintage Rally, Sorley Cross, Kingsbridge, TQ7 4AF. Please visit the stand, we’d be delighted to see you.

Mike Atfield: Tuesday 26 September 2023
Up Against It. Reflections of a traditional wooden boatbuilder“. A film celebrating Mike Atfield’s life and work as a traditional wooden boatbuilder will be shown on Tuesday 26 September 2023. 7.00pm for 7.30pm start at Salcombe RFC, Twomeads, Camperdown Road, TQ8 8AX. Everyone welcome. Refreshments available. Members free, non members £4.00.

Mike is Yorkshire by birth, and began his boatbuilding career in 1962, apprenticed to Edward Cove. Twelve years later Mike opened his own boatyard on Island Street, building yawls, small launches and dinghies. In a career spanning well over 50 years Mike built some 120 boats including about 30 fast yawls. He retired in 2017. In this film we see Mike reflect on his life and work in Salcombe.

Women’s Land Army: Tuesday 28 November 2023
An illustrated talk about the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in Salcombe and beyond during WW2 will take place on Tuesday 28 November 2023. 7.00pm for 7.30pm start at Salcombe RFC, Twomeads, Camperdown Road, TQ8 8AX. Everyone welcome. Refreshments available. Members free, non members £4.00.

The WLA increased Britain’s food production in WW2. More food and cultivated land were needed to feed the country. With men away at war, women were first asked to volunteer and from December 1941 could be conscripted into the WLA. By 1944 over 80,000 women had joined up. Women from towns and cities as well as the countryside, housed on farms and in hostels, they wore a uniform, a quarter were employed on dairy farms. And they were paid less than men for the same work.

2024 Calendar: on sale soon
Our 2024 Calendar will be on sale soon at Ashby’s of Salcombe, Bonningtons Salcombe, Salcombe Information Centre and Salcombe Maritime Museum. You can also buy online.

Apprentices 1900

Dryad built for Mr Wilcox in 1910

Dryad built for Mr Wilcox in 1910

Donate to the Archive

We are keen to add materials to our archive: oral history, images, documents – anything that relates to Salcombe’s past. Please share with us and the wider world.

Join our Committee

If you would like to join the Committee, it would be great to hear from you.

Lady Evelyn, built by Dornom's Boatyard in the 1930s

Lady Evelyn, built by Dornom’s Boatyard in the 1930s


Wilfred, Fred, George, Aaron, Sidney Dornom in the 1950s

All photographs courtesy of Salcombe Maritime Museum. Information in the text courtesy of “A History of Salcombe and its Surroundings” by Roger Barrett (2022). Buy online at


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