Overbeck's Museum and Garden is an Edwardian house and 2.75 hectare (7 acre) garden situated in Sharpitor, Salcombe. It is named after its last private owner Otto Christop Joseph Gerhardt Ludwig Overbeck (1860–1937). Otto Overbeck was a British chemist and prominent advocate of electrotherapy in the early twentieth century. Overbeck patented aspects of the Overbeck Rejuvenator in many countries during the late 1920s, and marketed it. He also proposed a "theory of electric health", which he advocated in A New Electronic Theory of Life (1925). In this book, Overbeck linked all manner of ailments with an imbalance of electricity. Restoring the natural balance of the electric body, Overbeck argued, could overcome all illness apart from those caused by germs or deformity. The Rejuvenator was not an electric "shock" device in the traditional sense; rather, it made use of very small, harmless, levels of electric current, which were applied to affected areas on the body by means of intricately shaped electrodes. He became very wealthy with the immense popularity of his device enabling him to buy this house.
The museum houses displays of some of Overbeck's inventions and collections of stuffed animals, and exhibitions of model sailing ships and various nautical and shipbuilding tools and effects. There are display photographs of boats and shipwrecks (such as the Herzogin Cecilie). A room in the middle of the house, one of whose entrances is a secret door concealed in the wooden panelling of the room outside, contains a display of dolls' houses, amongst which is placed by staff "Fred the friendly ghost" for child visitors to discover. The museum contains a Polyphon — a large musical box which plays music encoded as holes punched in large sheet-metal discs. There is a collection of discs of popular melodies of the day which are played from time to time during the day when the museum is open. There is also a collection of photographs by Edward Chapman who worked in and photographed Salcombe — including the building of the first house on the site — during the early 20th Century.
The Gardens are magnificent, worthy of a visit in their own right. Seating outside the tea room offers a wonderful view across Salcombe Harbour. Overbeck's is not easily accesible to those using wheelchairs as there are loose gravel paths, steps and steep paths. If you do wish to visit with a wheelchair then access to the museum, shop and, tea-room can be arranged. There are no suitable toilets with wheelchair access. Braille and large print guides are available. Only guide dogs are allowed in the garden
Location : Sharpitor, Salcombe, Devon, TQ8 8LW
Transport: Totnes (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 164 Totnes to Salcombe. Ferry : Salcombe to South Sands.
Opening Times : Daily 11:00 - 17:00.
Tickets : Adults £8.00; Children £4.00
Tel: 01548 842893