Literature Works is delighted to announce Quay Words 2019, a summer exploration of words and stories at the historic Custom House on Exeter Quayside.

This short programme is accessible and popular to suit the relaxed atmosphere on the Quayside in the summer. The summer programme runs from late June to early August and coincides with the term of our first ever writer’s residency at the Custom House, all about exploring and creating in this unique environment.  The writing spaces include historic garrets with views and first floor rooms that are wheelchair accessible.  We will have a seven-day visiting Icelandic-noir writer, funded by the British Council; there are historic connections between Exeter and Iceland and Reykjavik is a UNESCO City of Literature with an existing Literature House. The building, its story and its location are unique. Explore stories and writing with us in this special place.

About Exeter Custom House

The Custom House was built in 1680 at the height of Exeter’s woollen cloth industry. Today it is a fascinating visitor centre and the meeting point for Exeter Red Coat Guided Tours.

Exeter has had a quay since Roman times. During the 13th and 14th centuries, rival merchants built weirs across the river near Topsham to prevent cargoes reaching Exeter. Between 1564 and 1566 John Trew built the first stretch of the Exeter Canal to enable delivery of cargo closer to the city. The increase in trade led to the construction of the Custom House in 1680. Renowned for its sweeping staircase and ornate plaster ceilings, this beautiful building now houses a fascinating visitor centre.

The Custom House Visitor Centre provides tourist information, quayside treasure hunts, an accommodation booking service and a gift shop selling local pottery, replica maps and a wide range of local interest books. Quayside based Red Coat Guided Tours also depart from outside the Centre.