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St John's Church, Picture by Burne Jones 1906, Torquay

St John's Church, Picture by Burne Jones 1906, Torquay

St John's Church, Picture by Burne Jones 1906, Torquay Ref: 54033

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Memories of St John's Church, Picture by Burne Jones 1906, Torquay

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Torquay & local memories

Read and share memories of Torquay and Devon inspired by Frith photos.

Finding A Friend

Abbey Sands c1939, Torquay
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I moved to Torbay in 1962 to work at Gowman Easterbrook, Solicitors in Paignton. During this time I made many friends, including Tony Harper who, with Alan Beeson, myself and others, founded Dunkeswell Kart Club which is still going. Tony posted a memory on this site sometime ago and said he is living in Queensland, Australia and I have tried to make contact without success. If anyone knows of his whereabouts, I would be thrilled to hear. I met my Wife, Christine, in 1969, married in Torquay the same year and we moved away in 1971. We keep contact with Torbay having a holiday home in lovely Brixham.

Ellacombe Church RoadTorquay

The Harbour And Vane Hill c1955, Torquay
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My husband and I ran Lyndale Guest House 1967-1971 and enjoyed meeting many interesting families mostly from Northern England. I wonder if any of them are reading this?  Soon after we sold the property it was converted into flats as it would not have met the new stringent council rules. We decided to emigrate to Australia but have been back to the area several times to enjoy the lovely area especially Babbacombe beach.  I notice some people mentioned Shrublands. My son was born there in 1968 and was disappointed to find it was not longer there when he went back to Torquay.  I found it most comfortable and the staff very helpful.

Love Bloomed at Astwell Hall

YMCA, Astwell Hall c1955, Torquay
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I went to Astwell Hall with 17 other members of Heatham House Youth Centre and at the time was friendly with one of my female colleagues. In Torquay I was attracted to the girl who organized the trip and we started dating and were married in 1953 and next year celebrate 60 years. I am so sad that the hotel is no longer there. We emigrated to Australia in 1969 with our two children and I am at present formulating a DVD visiting all my memories I have of U.K. through the wonders of Google Earth and the only blank is of Astwell Hall where we met. The lady in charge was Mrs. Campbell-Walker a very stern disciplinarian - she needed to be with 18 young tearaways running around. Would be very pleased to hear of anyone else who can relate to 1951. Patrick Pyke

Shrublands Maternity Home

Abbey Sands c1939, Torquay
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Re Shrublands my son was born there in September 1958 when it was in a large house in Morgan Avenue just up from Castle Circus. The house is still there but it is now a drug rehabilitation centre.

Loving Memories of A Loving Mother

Fashion 1928, Torquay
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Two ladies wearing hats.. the lady on the left could have been my mother.. but perhaps not. I remember my mother dressed similar... she brought our family through the war years 1939-1945... She is for ever loved.


Abbey Sands c1939, Torquay
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I was born in Torquay in June 1954 in Shrublands Hospital (can anybody remember that hospital, it was in the Warberrys).
I left Torquay when I was 23 and came to live in London, my heart is still there. Who knows, I might retire back there.
But the town has changed so much. I spent a lot of time down the beach, I see they have knocked down the sheds - there was a cafe there and toilets, yes it looks bare now.

Clog Morris Dancing at Torquay Harbour on an August Evening

The Harbour And Strand 1888, Torquay
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This view of the harbour taken in 1888 has by chance captured dead centre the very spot where 120 years later the dancers and musicians of Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers turned out to entertain crowds of holiday makers one warm summer evening.

We gathered as dusk was falling at 8pm and the fairy lights and illuminations were twinkling all around the harbour. Our band struck up some catchy jigs and polkas on our accordians, melodians and drums and the dancers entertained the crowds who stood all round us snapping away with their cameras and with their children trying to join in! We provided a dozen dances over about an hour and wound up with a huge dance for the audience to join in.

By this time it was dark but a lovely atmosphere with the high tide bobbing the boats around next to us, and all the illuminations shining brightly. The promenade around the harbour is a pedestrian area made of brick pavers and wonderful... Read more

Them Were The Days

YMCA, Astwell Hall c1955, Torquay
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My family (Isaac..Reg, Lilian, June, Pat, aunty Mary, uncle Denny, and cousins Andrew and Mark and Grandad Isaac) used to holiday in this hotel each year from about 1968 to 1975. I have some wonderful childhood memories of Astwell Hall and can remember a lady called Miss Cotton ran the hotel in the early days before a gent called Mr Lane took over. I can also recall a dog called Rufus! Being a YMCA hotel they were always organising money making schemes for charity which included football matches on Abbey meadows. A concert was held every Thursday and us kids always did a turn. I distinctly remember one year early on when we sang the 'so long, farewell' song from the sound of music which the 'Mcdonald' family from Scotland played a big part...the name Sheena rings a bell.  In about 1973 or 4 a porter named Michael or Mick impersonated Mick Jagger and sang 'Brown Sugar' on the stage. It was great fun on dance night when we danced... Read more

Heather And Gorse Clog Dancers Perform For The Grand Hotel in Torquay

Grand Hotel 1912, Torquay
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The front of the Grand Hotel as shown in this view from 1912 is remarkably like the hotel now, in 2008.  Its only when the dancers and musicians of Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers went inside that we found a huge sun lounge, a wide terrace overlooking swimming pools and a fountain that are modern additions!

The Grand Hotel and local radio station, Gemini, had organised a fund raising day for local charities under the hotel's banner of an "Easter Eggstravaganza" and we were part of the entertainment programme. This was Easter Saturday - the earliest Easter for almost 100 years and believe me the weather reminded us!  We danced on the wide terrace and most of our audience watched through windows from the warmth of the hotel's sun lounge!  A few hardier souls ventured outside and sat under parasols to protect themselves from the occasional flurries of sleet and fine snow! It was a truly cold day but the hotel did provide us with a barbeque lunch... Read more

Wartime Memories of Torquay!

I wrote an article entitled 'TORQUAY AT WAR', which is may thousands of words; too big for insertion on this web site. If you are interested in viewing this tome, please Google
'Torquay at War by Philip Linder' It is very graphic and is a potted history of the years of 1939 to 1945. Enjoy!

A Close Call

In 1941, during the Second World War, and I was a page boy working at the Osborne Hotel. I always rode my cycle to work and back. I believe it was on a Sunday that I was pushing my cycle up the lane at the side of the Palace Hotel, I stopped when I heard the roar of planes and cannon shells being fired at the hotel. A huge explosion followed as a bomb hit the hotel. I think I broke the world record as I ran back the way I had come from. That day many RAF personel died in this attack from German fighter bombers. How lucky I was to be so close to the attack and not get hurt. Oh yes, my cycle was a casualty as the blast broke one side of my handlebar and meant I had to walk home.

I Love it

Torquay has an unjustified reputation of being a 'dump'.
I visited this town for the day during a holiday in nearby Dartmouth.
True, one day can't be enough to make a proper judgement but I really liked Torquay and wondered why people do consider it to be a 'dump'.

Local Bakery

Hello. My name is Sheila and I often search the webb for things in reference to Torquay, Devon. My mother lived there for a short while in 1946 where she met my father, his name was John and he was in the navy. He was helping out at a local bakery delivering bread, when he met my mother, Frances. She lived almost opposite Torr Station which now has another use. She was in a domestic post for two elderly teachers who worked at the local college. I would love to hear anything of interest about any thing connected to what I have already written. I was born early 1947.

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