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Images of Dawlish

These images was presented and discussed at the History Group meeting on February 5th 2019. The first five pictures (with an accompanying map) are shown here, the remainder will be posted at a later date. If you have any further information (or corrections) on any of these pictures please let me know.

                                                                                                                                                 David Gearing


1

This picture of Tudor Cottages was painted by Miss N Harvey in 1913. It was sent to me by Simon Walker of Hitchin Historical Society, asking if I knew what it depicted. He had acquired it together with a number of pictures of scenes local to Hitchin 


2

This is a Chapman photo, taken around 1905, of Hancock’s Helter Skelter. This was one of the attractions of the Regatta Fair which at that time took place on Tuck’s Plot (aka York Gardens). Hancock’s also ran a travelling circus, which might have been set up elsewhere in the town.

From other photos almost certainly taken on the same day one can see that just to the right of the helter skelter there was an old fashioned carousel with bobbing horses, then swings, and finally spinner chairs.

The helter skelter was clearly popular, as there seems to be a queue waiting to pay a penny to climb the internal stairs to the top, before sliding down the spiral chute. (Someone wearing a white hat can be seen half way down.)


3

This is ‘High Trees’, Oak Park Villas, which is south off Elm Grove Road, parallel to Gatehouse Road. It’s now split into apartments. This picture was probably taken in the 1950s.
I was particularly interested in the car with the distinctive number plate HFX 5. It’s an Austin A90 Atlantic Sports Saloon, which was manufactured from 1949-52. This one looks like a convertible, but that’s a fabric-covered roof. For the time it had exotic styling and a high specification, including powered windows, and a powered hood for the convertible version. It was aimed at the North American market, and had the same engine as the Austin Healey 100 sports car – but it was outshone by the Jaguar XK120. As a result fewer than 8000 were made, of which about 60 now remain, an estimated half of which are still roadworthy.


4

This is a Chapman postcard produced around 1920, presumably for advertising purposes. The building is part of the old London Hotel, after alteration to allow road widening. It was purchased by Mr F G Hopkins who incorporated a garage on the ground floor. (Is that a Model T Ford on display?) The garage doors have adverts for Pratt’s Perfection Motor Spirit and Shell, and for ‘Vulcanizing by HF Process’. Vulcanizing was a process to repair splits or holes in solid rubber or pneumatic tyres whereby a sustained high temperature causes the compound the tyre was made from to bond with new material.

The accommodation business was called the London House Private Hotel. On the right hand side there is an off licence with bottles in the window and advertisements for Bass ales with the distinctive red triangle trademark.


5

This is a view looking NE across the western end of the town. When this photo was added to our database it was described as ‘View from church tower, 1908?’ - clearly this refers to the tower of the parish church, St Gregory’s. I don’t think this is the right date or viewpoint. Firstly it must be after 1912 when No 5 Stockton Avenue (big house slightly to the left of centre and just below the skyline) was built. Secondly, it can’t be from the church tower. If you look at the map below I’ve marked the parish church tower (pink), and then two prominent landmarks: the spire of the United Reform Church (URC) in the Strand (red) and The Priory (green). If the photo had been taken from the tower of St Gregory’s (marked as St Michael’s on the map) the URC spire would be seen well to the right of the Priory, whereas it appears to be half way between the Priory and No 5 Stockton Avenue (location shown in blue – not on the map because that’s from 1897.) So the photo must have been taken from what’s now Westcliff Road, somewhere near the position marked with a black square. The tall line of trees below the viewpoint were lining Barton Lane.

6