Overbeck’s, Sharpitor, Salcombe, and one of the most eccentric properties ever offered to the National Trust, was owned and bequeathed by Otto Overbeck (c.1852–1937), a research chemist and inventor. His research into yeasts developed a non-alcoholic beer, which was thwarted by a prohibitive Government tax. Meanwhile, he invented an alarming and completely unscientific device known as the ‘electrical rejuvenator’ which he claimed had renewed his youth. He accumulated a gallimaufry of collector’s items, ranging from the conventional, such as samplers, butterflies, and mementos of the sea, to the curious, like the polyphon music box; an example of Sir Astley Cooper’s patent chair to make children sit up straight; and a collection of mantraps and handcuffs, one pair of which was worn by the notorious murderer, John Lee of Babbacombe, who escaped hanging because the trap-door thrice failed to open. Whilst the paintings, including a good copy of Agnolo Bronzino’s 'Cosimo I de' Medici (1519–1574), Grand Duke of Tuscany' or a British (English) School painting 'A Young Manservant carrying a Gilt Tray of Drinks' are an equally random selection.
Sharpitor, Salcombe, Devon TQ8 8LW England
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