Interesting facts about Bovey Castle
1. W.H. Smith was a family company in every sense of the term for the first 136 years of its existence. Starting as small news vendor by Henry Walton Smith in 1792, the family would own all controlling stakes in the company until 1948 when once again crippled by death duties, the company finally floated publically. Family members would remain on the board until 1996; an association lasting 204 years!
2. In 1877, Sir William Henry Smith (1825-1891) was appointed as 1st Lord of the Admiralty. His appointment became the inspiration for the character of Sir Joseph Porter KCB, in the Gilbert & Sullivan musical H.M.S. Pinafore. In the play, Sir Joseph's rise from the bottom of society to the top of the Royal Navy, despite having no naval qualifications, mirrors William's rise in life. Yet despite the humble beginnings Sir Joseph is lampooned in the play as he remains aloof throughout. It is not known whether Sir William approved of the depiction or not but it was said that even Prime Minister Disraeli referred to Sir William as 'Pinafore Smith'!
3. Bovey Castle was used as the location for the movie of perhaps the most famous detective case of all, the 1939 version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Despite its perfect location as a family home set in Dartmoor some of the original footage was misplaced! The lost scenes were reshot at Pinewood Studios instead.
4. Dartmoor is famous for its bleak, haunting natural landscapes that have inspired so much literature. While the hiking can be spectacular by day, anyone who has read certain tales by Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie will know to play safe and make it back to Bovey Castle in time for evening tea! Dartmoor's mysterious mists and folklore most certainly make for a more absorbing walk in the country.