The people of Coleton Fishacre
Discover the people who helped to shape Coleton Fishacre house and garden, the D'Oyly Cartes.
The D'Oyly Cartes
Rupert D'Oyly Carte
Life at Coleton Fishacre
The D'Oyly Cartes had two children, Bridget and Michael. Tragedy struck in 1932, when Michael died in a car crash in Switzerland, aged 21. This caused a rift between Lady Dorothy and Rupert which would never heal, and in 1936 they separated. After their divorce, she left England and settled in Plymouth, Tobago. Lady Dorothy became a prominent member of the community and unaffected by racial prejudice, was a tireless fundraiser for local charities.
Bridget D'Oyly Carte
Rupert and Dorothy's daughter was one of the first pupils of Dartington School. After school, she married her cousin in 1926, a marriage which lasted only four years. From 1939 to 1947 she was involved in child welfare work in London. After 1948 she devoted herself to running the opera company. She also formed the D'Oyly Carte Opera Trust as a charitable organisation, was a director of the Savoy Hotel group, and became a Dame in 1975.
Coleton Fishacre after the D'Oyly Cartes
Bridget sold Coleton Fishacre in 1949, because it was too far from London. Rowland Smith, a well-known London motor trader and owner of the Palace Hotel in Torquay, became the new owner. Rowland and his wife Freda maintained the house and garden with great care until his death in 1979. Coleton Fishacre was offered to the National Trust just before Freda's death in 1982.