Never judge a book by its cover...?

Mention Minehead and most people groan. There’s no denying that its landscape and economy is dominated by Butlins, but there’s so much more to this once grand seaside resort.

The local authority have allowed a high number of the former luxury hotels along the seafront to be converted into hostels. The evidence of addiction is found in the still beautiful gardens and along the seafront.

But look towards the North Hill and Minehead of old is still there. Small cottages, narrow alleys - there is all the charm of a fishing port - and the tragedy too. The local churchyard is peppered with the dropped anchors of many poor souls who visited Minehead, never to leave.

Venture away from the tattoo parlour and fried chicken takeaways and what else is there? I always fit in a visit to the Reading Room - a café/second hand book shop - just away from the main street. Most of the stock is sorted and the shelves well labelled, but out the back - in the store room - are the real treasures.

One volume caught my eye - British Encyclopaedia, Illustrated - Volume 5 (FUN-HUG). Now the compiler must have had a sense of humour, surely? It seemed criminal to break up the set, as the price indicated, but I suspect there were very few ‘fun hugs’ to be found there!

Boys of all ages flock to the railway at Minehead and if you enjoy people watching, why not join them? A new, purpose-built café serves simple food in a clean and bright fashion. Tables outside allow even non-steam train enthusiasts to spend some time watching grown men get very steamed up.

No, Minehead - like the British Encyclopaedia - shouldn’t be judged by just one element. Were George V to visit Minehead today, I suspect he might utter “Bugger Butlins!” and why not?