Displaying the first of 231 old photos of Barnstaple. View all Barnstaple photos
Historic maps of Barnstaple and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis. View all Barnstaple maps
Barnstaple area books
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Memories of Barnstaple
Bear Street Post Office
Not exactly 1965, but around that time. I was/am the grandaughter of the Bidgoods that ran the PO. I used to go out with my Dad delivering groceries in an old Standard 10 van. I can remember every inch of the whole building, parts of which we weren't supposed to go in! Sadly it was demolished some years ago.
Crossing Into The '60s...
I'm fairly confident that the people below occupied the properties at that time; No 1 - The Vicar of St Marys' Magdelain in Bear Street, he lived on his own, a short, dark and mysterious man with bushy eyebrows. No 2 - Occupied by the Burges's and also owned [or rented] a walled plot of land just opposite. No 3 - Owned by the Dimeo family, ex RAF. No 4 - Occupied by spinster Ms Damon and her Mother. No 5 - We moved from Chivenor to this house during 1963, my parents bought the property from Mr & Mrs Fry who moved up into a new bungalow in Sunset Heights which overlooked the Hills View green. Mr Fry was a decorator in partnership with his son. No 6 - Mr & Mrs Sheppard lived here, he was the Manager of The International supermarket in High Street.
It must have been in the early 1950s when an Aunt and Uncle, actually cousins of my mother's from Bolton, came to visit on holiday. In those days I remember there were rowing boats for hire from the boathouse moored near the entrance to Rock Park and the South Walk which can be seen in the 1899 photo. That means it must have been there for a good while before the relatives took me out in one of the boats and rowed up the river as far as the iron railway bridge which had been built to ling the Great Western Station at Victoria Road with the Southern Railway at Barnstaple Junction. The abiding memory is of us grounding on a sandbank but fortunately not getting stuck. I remember being frightened that we would sink but nearly sixty years later I am still around to tell the tale!
I was 19 years old, in the R.A.F. at Chivenor from October, 1948 to June, 1949 and was at the dance-hall in Barnstaple one of those nights in April, 1949. Across the room was the loveliest girl I had ever seen, brown wavy hair to her shoulders, etc., for me,it was love at first sight. I walked across and said "Excuse me, Miss, would you like to dance?"- to my great joy she did just that, and as we danced for that very first time, I knew that I had met the girl of my dreams. When the dance ended I asked if I could sit with her, and we exchanged names, etc. She was Shirley Ann Douglas who lived with her father and 6-year-old sister in Chestwood House, Hammetts Lane, Bishop's Tawton, about three miles from Barnstaple. Her father was an Army Captain based at Fremington, and brought Shirley to the dance-hall in his car and met her again at 10 p.m. to take her home, while I got... Read more
I was an apprentice in Mr Richard's tailor's shop, Barnstable, horse in window with a man in riding gear. Mr Diamond instructed me, a nice gent. I had to go back to Bradford before my apprenticeship was completed. I have happy memories, go for holidays now. I would like to have a photo of the shop.
Arriving in Barnstaple in 1957 from Hampshire, a 17 year old blonde haired young man, my first employment was at the High Street branch of Macfisheries, employed as a shop assistant/delivery boy delivering orders on a large black bicycle with an equally large wicker basket on the front within the Barnstaple town area. I was immediately made to feel welcome by all that I met, and had many happy years in Barnstaple, and made many good friends, male and female, before moving north in the 1960s. My wife and I and children over the years have always managed a short visit most years and stayed at hotels such as "The Imperial" where as a delivery boy I could only have dreamt of staying while delivering my orders on my large pedal cycle, how times change. If anyone who worked at Macfisheries or remembers me please to get in touch with by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barnstaple Girlfriend Church And School 1939
As my fourteenth birthday hove into view and we entered the summer of 1939 it became clear that we could soon be at war with Germany. Bushey Heath was just fifteen miles north-west of central London. My parents felt I should be out of the way of the expected bombing raids, so they sent me, not to friends but to friends of a friend, Mr and Mrs Ovey. Mr Ovey was Pastor of the Barnstaple Mission, just by their house in Rackfield, which eventually I attended every Sunday morning and evening.
One of my first thoughts about the move concerned the delightful possibility that girls might be there. In the train I stood at the corridor window as we halted at the Barnstaple platform. There was a young girl standing among the crowd, her auburn hair loose round her shoulders. But she was beside an elderly woman and obviously waiting for someone else. No luck. I clambered down to the platform with my suitcase and gas mask, looking... Read more
Memories of Barnstaple
My aunt was the Manager of the Imperial Hotel which once stood on the bank of a river (whose name escapes me), in the 1940s. I spent several holidays with her which were great experiences for a young boy from a relatively sheltered existence in a schoolhouse in rural Scotland. My Aunt May (Mrs Strongman), known to the staff in the hotel as "MADAM", was my mother's older sister. I had never stayed in a Hotel. I had a marvellous time, going round the shops with my aunt when she bought for the hotel, having dinner when I had to wear my suit and not sports coat and flannels. I recall that the Hunt Dinner was held there once when I was staying at the hotel, and it was such a grand affair.
Having the opportunity to stay with my aunt stood me in good stead in later years, as I learned how to conduct myself with waiters and hotel staff, how to order a meal and much more.... Read more