Torbay /tɔːrˈbeɪ/ is a borough in Devon, England, administered by the unitary authority of Torbay Council. It consists of 62.87 square kilometres of land, spanning the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, Torbay is roughly equidistant from the cities of Exeter and Plymouth. That the Torbay area has been inhabited since Paleolithic times is shown by human bones, a maxilla fragment known as Kents Cavern 4 may be the oldest example of a modern human in Europe, dating back to 37, 000–40,000 years ago. Roman soldiers are known to have visited Torquay during the period when Britain was a part of the Roman Empire, leaving offerings at a rock formation in Kents Cavern. Both Brixham and Paignton appear in the Domesday Book of 1086 and Paignton was given the status of a borough having a market, the first major building in Torquay was Torre Abbey, a Premonstratensian monastery founded in 1196. William Prince of Orange landed in Brixham on 5 November 1688, during the Glorious Revolution, the historic part of Paignton is inland, the low-lying coastal fringe was originally salt marsh. Paignton remained a fishing village until the early 19th century. The second phase in the expansion of the area began when Torre railway station was opened in December 1848. The railway was extended to Torquay Seafront station in 1858, Paignton in 1859, as a result of its expansion, Torquay was granted borough status in 1872, and 1902 saw its first marketing campaign to summer tourists. Torbay Golf & Country Club opened in 1933, the club and course closed in the mid 1950s. Tor Bay hosted the events for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. The County Borough became the Borough of Torbay under local government reorganisation in 1974 and it was made a unitary authority on 1 April 1998 making it responsible for its own affairs. The area is represented nationally at the House of Commons by two MPs, Brixham and part of Paignton fall within the Totnes constituency, with Conservative Sarah Wollaston elected. Torbay is in the South West England constituency of the European Parliament, together with the rest of South West England, until May 2011, Torbay Council had been headed by the first directly elected mayor in the South West region. Conservative candidate Nicholas Bye who won in October 2005, under a system which was later described as a total failure with Bye receiving votes from fewer than 7% of the electorate. However, running as an independent he was defeated in the May 2011 election by Gordon Oliver who stood as a Conservative, for local elections the district is divided into 15 wards. The Council elects 36 councillors in elections every four years. Since the Torbay Council election,2015, the council has a Conservative majority, the composition as of 9 May 2015, There are three main towns around the marine inlet of Tor Bay, Torquay in the north, Paignton in the centre, and Brixham in the south
Torquay Town Hall, the home of Torbay Council
Looking towards Paignton from Torquay. Torbay palms in the foreground.