When I was Young


This is a memory my Granny told me

Her first job was in a Haberdashery shop (near where Bygones is now). She was 15 so it would have been just after WW1. She had a long walk to work, she was growing up on farm at Daccombe, the lady who owned the shop stood on the doorstep looking at her watch, if you were a minute late you were in trouble!!!

The era would have been about 1920 though after the first world war.

My Granny was Mildred (Milly) Emma Fanny Keen and she married Ronald Rogers in 1933.  They went on to run a Butchers (now called Palks) and by all accounts did really well, they then went into farming.

My Granny has a tree in St Marychurch graveyard. 

Deborah McPeake

Sidlow’s news agent! 

Is that the Sweet shop that was opposite the Bus stop?  I am sure I used to buy sweets there on my way to School. (Torquay Girl’s Grammar)  They did some rather good peanut brittle!  I think it was a No. 55 bus but could be so wrong it was back in 1955.  I lived in Fir Park Road.  Dad’s friend was Mr Pateman of Lownds& Pateman who made Devon Violets perfume.

We only lived in St. Marychurch for about 3 years but I remember that very happy time very well.  Long walks on Petite Tor and early morning swims on Oddicombe beach.  I was a Red Cross First Aid cadet and spent some time in the summer helping at the First Aid hut on Babbacome Beach I think it was.

Diana Barnes

More from Margaret Powling (the optician story)

Uncle Arthur went to have his eyes tested and I said I wanted mine testing too!  I pestered the life out of my parents, I’d never been in an opticians and so they said, “OK, we will make you an appointment”.   So off I went.

Anyway, the upshot of all this was that the optician said to me – I was about eight at the time – “Please read the card” so I did as I was told and tried to “read” the card, i.e. make words out of it.  So I said gobbledygook!  And the optician was seriously worried about my sight!  So he told my parents I needed to see a specialist, and I saw a specialist who had more sense, he said “Tell me the letters,” so I could manage that.  “There’s nothing wrong at all with your daughter’s eyesight … “ he said.  My parents weren’t best pleased with me, but I explained I was only doing as I was asked, to “read” the board in front of me!

But they were seriously not amused!

Margaret Powling

The Bookmark shop

My parents, John and Madeleine Leek used to own the Bookmark shop at 66 Fore street, St Marychurch in the sixties. I wondered if any one would remember them.



was great for little mince patties

Glynis Castle Elliot

Who owned Mottas Bakery in St Marychurch Fore St?  I am one of Stanley and Margaret Wilson’s (nee Motta) grandsons and I
used to stay at Mottas Bakery during the summer holidays with my grandparents in the 1980s.  Best pasties and cream slices you could buy!



Biddick & Avery

I was born on 12 June 1940 in the flat over 13 Fore Street, Biddick & Avery, the shop run by my father Leslie Avery.

John Avery


In the 1950’s and 1960’s

……… for 9d or 1/6d people could go and see two films and continue watching them as the programme ran again.  For those who didn’t have the price of a ticket, they might be let in through the fire door at the back by friends who went to spend a penny once the show had started.  The manager was given the name ‘Torchie’ because when the children made a noise he would come down the aisle with his torch to silence the misbehaving.

A regular stop off on the way to Saturday morning pictures was the Tudor Cafe next door to buy penny stalesies, this was a bag full of yesterdays buns for a penny.

Fore Street, the Tudor Cinema is on the right.

Reddenhill Road

I always used the cut through from Babbacombe Road would come out at the NatWest building opposite was a sweet shop.  Always bought my sweets here as you could get 4 chews for a farthing, sherbet, and lots of other lovely sweets.  My parents sold sweets but far too posh for me.  Then there was Hawkes Chemist owned by my friend’s father.

Babbacombe Creamery where as a 10 yr old I bought a tub of clotted cream and ate the lot in one sitting there and then and was promptly sick.

Reddenhill Library at the back of the newsagents with Grey Cars opposite.

Babbicombe Library.


Everywhere in those days was buzzing.  A fantastic atmosphere in the summer.

Glynis Castle Elliot

Babbacombe Road

My parents had a cafe in Babbacombe during the war which was turned in to a gift shop during the fifties and sixties.  The shop was No. 74 where the lighting shop is now, next to the launderette.  The grocers shop with my brother and his car was next door.  At one time it was a sheepskin shop owned by the Beales.

I grew up in a “village” atmosphere which was Babbacombe then.  When I am trying to get to sleep I walk through Babbacombe of that time from Babbacombe Garage where my friend, Gillian Archer, lived in the 1930 flat above the garage down past the bakers over the road to Babbacombe Primary School where you could hear the children playing there were outside toilets there too.

There was also the butchers with sawdust on the floor and Babbacombe fish and chip shop where you got sixpenth worth of chips.  Opposite was a pet shop.  Then on the corner was a cobblers.  Further down you had Bowdens Dairy and I used  to play out the back with Stephen and Sally Marriott.  Opposite was Keytes carpet and curtains.  Then we had Havills, Columbines gift shop a cafe, The Globe, a grocers then our shop.  The laundrette was even there then, but in those days owned by Havills.  Finally Canns fish shop.  Opposite was the newsagents, Stephens flower shop and greengrocers.  Mrs Stephens used to scare me to death with long dark hair.  I thought she was a witch!  ALSO a bakers and another grocers.

74 Babbacombe Road. Photo by Glynis Castle Elliot.
74 Babbacombe Road. Photo by Glynis Castle Elliot.


Great times.  Out in the morning back in the evening.  Over Walls Hill, down to Babbacombe Beach.

Glynis Castle Elliot


Every Whit weekend we visited my Devon Grandparents and took them out for the day.  We always ended up at The Grange on Babbacombe Downs for a meal.  Grand-dad and my father always had the mixed grill, Nanna breaded plaice, chips and peas with a Mackeson.  It was probably the only alcoholic drink she had all year.

The Grange photo by martyn strange
The Grange photo by Martyn Strange



My grandfather, Arthur Lock Thomas, who lived at 94  St Marychurch Road,
was Sunday School Superintendent at Furrough Cross Congregational Church
back in the 1940s-50s, but he also attended Abbey Road Methodist Church
where he sung in the choir.  He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre
in WW1 when with the Royal Medical Corps.

Chris MacKey