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Kenn memories

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Memories of Devon

Exeter Evacuee

In 1940 my London school, Borough Polytechnic, was relocated to Exeter which is where I was evacuated to. The school was a renovated building down by the river and not far from the slaughter house (which fascinated the boys). Of course, I well remember the night in 1942 when the city almost burned to the ground and along with it the old school. I had no option to return to London, so I finished my schooling in Budleigh Salterton, but that's another story.


I think it was 1954 when the Swans Nest pub, Exminster was flooded to a depth of around four feet. It was my local at the time and the landlord was Jerry Hugett, an ex boxer.

The Wakely Family

I was born in Lower Shillingford (Shillingford Abbot) in 1939. My grandparents Francis and Jane Wakely lived in Rectory Cottage, Higher Shillingford (Shillingford St George). My grandfather was gardener at the rectory. He was also the sexton at the church, gravedigger, bellringer and caretaker at the church.
At Christmas time we would walk from Lower Shillingford to Higher Shillingford a distance of about three miles to attend the midnight service at the church on Christmas Eve. My grandmother would not attend the service as she was stone deaf. She looked after my little brother instead while we were at the service. It was always bitterly cold and I remember starlit nights and chattering teeth. The church furnace was lit early in the day and it was warm and bright with the light of the many candles saved for this occasion .It was  full of holly and ivy that my grandfather had collected to decorate the church. I loved this service and often think about it even now. After the service... Read more

Snow Snow And More Snow Winter 1946

1946 was a very bad winter, we were snowed in for weeks.The promised Christmas pantomime visit to the Theatre Royal in Exeter never materialised. It always seemed to happen like that in those days. The winters were very hard and my parents told me that when they were young they could remember the River Exe frozen solid and market stalls set up on them. Getting out of bed with the frost patterning all the windows and the linoleum on the floor freezing cold was a nightmare. If I got half a chance I would go to bed with my vest and liberty bodice on to avoid some of the cold in the morning. People don't know that they have been born these days, with their central heating and fitted carpets, and they still moan that they are cold in the occasional cold snap.

Cann Family History

My Great Great Grandfather was born William Honey Cann.   Born: March 12, 1845 in Topsham, England son of John Cann and Jane (Hill) Cann.  (William Married - Ann Pidgeon, from England also!).  Looking for more information on Cemeteries in this area.  John Cann was the son of Samuel Cann & Charity (Arscott) Cann.  Looking for information on location of where they lived in Topsham, or worked.

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