Torbay has a unique natural coastal location. It was created by the natural expansion of the settlements around the Bay itself and the first recorded reference to "Torrebay" was in 1401.
In 1892 Torquay was incorporated as a Borough and in 1894 Paignton Urban District Council and Brixham Urban District Council were established under the terms of the Local Government Act 1894.
The three towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay were then joined in 1968 to form Torbay County Borough.
In April 1974, Local Government was reorganised into a two-tier system and Torbay Borough Council was formed as a District within the Devon County area.
On 1 April 1998, Torbay Council was created a Unitary Authority. This followed a nationwide review of local government structures by the Local Government Commission , which recommended that there should be a single council providing all local services in Torbay. Torbay Council's employees include people who formerly worked for Torbay Borough Council and Devon County Council and Devon Direct Services.