In 1800, Bude would have been lucky to have a population of 100, but people flocked to the town for work when the canal opened. When the canal closed, Bude would have crumbled, but for the developing tourist trade. The canal totally changed the topography of Bude. Victorian engineers built the breakwater and altered the course of the river to scour out a makeshift harbour. Today the breakwater is used for fishing and by tourists for fabulous views to Summerleaze Beach and beyond. Bude has had its share of disasters. The River Neet flooded the Strand and The Crescent in 1903, the 1950s and 1993, and in 1891 there was a great blizzard. The Strand now looks very different to the 1860s when it was dominated by warehouses. As tourism developed, many old buildings such as the cinema disappeared. Modern Bude has evolved, with changes to place names and buildings, but it remains a beautiful town loved by locals and visitors alike.
Dawn G. Robinson is a locally respected community publisher, previously for Bude People (Northcliffe Digital) and now for Bude and Beyond website (www.budeandbeyond.co.uk). She also runs popular Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, both with growing memberships. She also worked for many years in local publishing, compiling many picture/caption books such as Historic Scotland, Memories of Manchester etc. and editing other titles. She lives in Hartland, near Bude.