Additional Memories by Frances Slee (nee Hill)
The Octagon was on its own in the field and a Major and family lived there, a daughter called Julia, a friend of mine at the time. The Nautilus flats now stand on this site. Next door Lewis’s Café which during the war the Army would go for their morning cuppa, this was run by the 2 Miss Lewis and Mrs Harris ran a sweet shop and the Sunshine Café.
A Chemist shop was run by Mrs Sparkes with a small library in her back room. Miss Pitway owned the sweet shop on the corner(now gift shop). Miss Woods (now newsagents) had a double place, one side as Newsagents and the other side as a shoe shop, later it was a pottery shop, I think. To get to the shop we had to go in to the newsagents side and ask to go into the shoe shop and they would unlock the door and wait whilst we looked at the shoes. Other Miss Woods sold vegetables in the shop opposite, which is now the Co-Op Supermarket. A Mrs Adams ran an olde world tea-shop and Library in what is now Pathfinders previously the Fishing Shop).
We used to go to the Baptist Church to Sunday School. It was a nice quiet place a quaint lovely village. The Post Office a nice old building was run by a Miss Carpenter. Cordings came here in the late 50’s took over Barratts grocer shop later took over Wyatts, then Powel and Morgans and also went into selling wines. Bradfords had a butcher shop which was nearly opposite Heards butchers today, there was Beales Dairy which is now the supermarket and the Bakery is still the same but called Whites at the time. Near the putting green where the old railway was there was a little shop that sold walking sticks, then the waiting room and the Fish and Chip shop, we used to take our own paper to the chip shop then to wrap our chips in.
The old station booking office/ waiting room we used to wait there for the bus to go to school.
The Miss Gibbs (Clare Ritchie a famous author) sisters lived at Ridgeway Golf Links Road.
There was a lot more sand this end of the promenade there were wooden breaks between the slip way and steps and near here was a bit of the old sea wall where we used to go crabbing and fishing. So few people lived in the village I could at one time tell you all their names. The Tors we could go up there and at the top was a Well, I expect it is filled in now but we used to be quite frightened when we went up near there.
I used to look after Colonel Pollocks granddaughter , I was her nanny/ nursemaid at what is now known as Green Trees, the Thornlands. Not many houses in this area just fields and fields.
Our house on the front near the slipway had a Balcony and we used to spend loads of time on the beach and father would whistle to us when it was time to come in, we could hear him at Sandymere, on the Tors or Rocks. The Drill Hall , railway goods were put in here, it later became a Dance Hall.
The Kingsley Hall was called the Palaise de Dance and the Mitchell brothers used to play in the band here and in those days you could not get in after 9 o’clock , no drinks were sold there and it finished at 11.30. That was our entertainment and we enjoyed ourselves.
All seemed very quiet after the war and reverted back to the quiet village, the army stayed here for quite a few years and were based at Ridgeway as known now, it was all fields at that time and the Army used the beach for training for several years after the war.
Westbourne Terrace where Country Cousins is now was the Coastguard cottages. A look out post on the Tors and one on the Pebbleridge and there were about 5 or 6 coastguards, a lifeboat station of something at the end and I can picture these men on their different shifts walking to their lookout posts.
The car park at the top of the slip way there were Chalet huts very small not much bigger than garages and evacuees used to live in them during the war the huts were so small, amazing to think that whole families used to live in them. In the area that is now Fairway Bouy was a little field with small huts all the way around and we used to play Cricket there. Having great fun.
When we had snow we used to go to the top of Youngaton Road and slide down the hill right down to the bus station no cars then so it was great fun. Another thing the Gas buses that we used to ride in during the war, a trailer behind and we were told to ALL GET OUT when we went around Swiss Corner and Lakenham Hill from Bideford, they did not go to Appledore as could not get up the hill, we always had them on the Westward Ho run.