Dear Mrs Powling,
I have just discovered your epistle on St Marychurch in the fifties,
written on 2nd August 1917, which I read with great interest. It
evoked many pleasant memories of my home village, being St, Marychurch
born and bred. My offering – YERTIZ.
I believe I can fill in some of the blanks you mentioned, although I
can only rely on memory for dates and cannot recall street numbers. I
left St Mary Church in 1946 to join the Royal Navy so was mainly absent from
the village for a large number of years, apart from periods of leave,
so some of my recollections may be outside your time slot.
Firstly, let’s fill in your blanks, starting with the butcher on
corner of Rowley Rd, this was Eastmans, secondly the
fish/fish-and-chip shop was owned by the Melhuish family next door to
the (then) Commercial Hotel.
The mens’ outfitters at the corner of Park Rd and Petitor Rd was owned
by Bob Kellow, who later became Mayor of Torquay. On the opposite
corner was the Delicatessen (Addisons ?) and next door to that was the
shoe repair shop run by the Atkins Bros who were quite famous for
their “pillow fights on a greasy pole” at the Walls Hill Annual
The store at the bottom of the main street opposite the Chapel that
you don’t recall the name of was probably Home and Colonial.
Can I just mention here that on the opposite side of the Opway (Devon
word for what you referred to as Carriageway) was Freddie Matthews
Estate Agents office. (distant relative of mine)
Mottas, as well as bread and cakes, also sold Delicatessen products
during the war and queues were frequent at their shop in the hope of
supplementing the meat ration with a little salami. It was rumoured
that they had a sign in their shop saying that they offered 10%
discount to old age pensioners when accompanied by their parents!
You didn’t mention the confectionery shop until lately run by Stella
Hockin after her parents relinquished it. This was the shop with
pink-tile facing frontage. Previous to the Hockins this was run by a
Miss Bridges for a great number of years. In her shop she had a three
step stairway leading to an open passage which led to her living
quarters at the rear. If you entered the shop and she was not there
one could hear her coming along the passage with the sound of her club
foot thumping on the floor.
A little bit of interest about Rowley Rd. The St Marychurch Annual
Flower Show was held there with stalls both sides of the road. Around
the corner from Eastmans was the Labour Exchange and this was the ARP
HQ in the war, where as a Homelands schoolboy, I served as a Warden’s
I hope that this will prove to be of interest to you, it is offered as
glimpse into the past.