Category Archives: History

Local history, pictures, stories.

Bideford’s Iron Bridge(s).

(“Bideford Gazette”, 17th June 1825).   Mention the ‘Iron Bridge’ and every Bidefordian will know where you mean – but there were once two such bridges. The first and earliest was at Landcross on the Bideford-Torrington road and was a … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago: February 1918.

During an air raid on London a Gotha bomber was brought down by Captain Hackwell of the Royal Flying Corps. He is the second son of Mr W H Hackwell of Sudden Farm Langtree Torrington and he worked in a … Continue reading

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Thomas Burton; 1875- 1959.

Everyone in Bideford knows where the Burton Art Gallery is, nicely situated in Victoria Park, adjacent to parking and Hockings’ Ice Cream van. But how many people know why it’s called the Burton Gallery? Was there someone called Burton? Well, … Continue reading

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Freezing.

In this age of man-made global warming it is unlikely that we will see a repetition of what occurred in Bideford in 1894-5 and 1963. Simply put, this was the freezing over of the River Torridge around the Bridge. Both … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago; December 1917/ January 1918.

Christmas is coming and in spite of the War, Bideford plans to celebrate the season. The Christmas Market will take place on Friday 21st December. Coles and Lee, trading from the Gazette Office, suggest that handbags make excellent presents, as … Continue reading

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Bideford’s ‘prefabs’.

During the Second World War huge numbers of houses were destroyed by enemy action, and as early as 1944 Winston Churchill announced an EFM (Emergency Factory Made) housing programme. In 1945 the new prime minister Clement Atlee began implementing the … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago – November 1917.

Children from Bideford schools have collected approximately two tons of horse chestnuts, which will save a ton of cereals in munitions work. North Devon Appeals Courts: Many columns in every edition are given to reporting the proceedings of employers appealing … Continue reading

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Rope Walk – “The Battle of the Posts”.

Rope Walk today is a narrow but well used roadway running parallel to the Pill. Its name obviously records the presence of the ropemaking industry which was once so important to the ship-owning merchants of Bideford – but how many … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago – October 1917.

The Borough of Bideford announces, under the powers conferred by the Retail Prices Order 1917, the Sale of coal prices for the forthcoming winter months: Best Lydney House Coal £2.0.0d per ton. £2.2.6d delivered to the customers’ house. Lancashire House … Continue reading

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All the fun of the Fair!

Fairs have been visiting Bideford for one hundred and fifty years at least and even though today they face huge competition from computer games and local attractions the travelling show people still come. The history of the fair in Bideford … Continue reading

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One hundred years ago – August 1917.

Meetings are held around the district to mark the 3rd Anniversary of the start of the war. Mr W T Charlwood presided over an evening gathering on Bone Hill. The salute was given by the Scout Bugle Band and prayers … Continue reading

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A brief history of the Custom House.

Bideford’s buildings are constantly being reinvented – and anyone walking along to the Post Office will have noticed the old Custom House has become a new coffee shop – with some of the best views over the river from its … Continue reading

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A brief history of the Palladium Club.

The Club began life in 1919 as the stables for the Heavitree Inn. In 1926 it was the Palladium Cinema and the ticket office was situated where Patts’ Fruit and Vegetable shop now is in Mill St. Later it became … Continue reading

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Bideford’s Newfoundland links & the Chope Collection.

Devon has strong historic links with the Canadian Province of Newfoundland dating back to the 16th Century, when boats from local ports sailed to the waters of Newfoundland to fish for cod. Initially men left Devon in April and returned … Continue reading

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HMS ‘Alliance’ visits Lundy.

During the month of April 1967, the submarine HMS ‘Alliance’ was operating in home waters in the South of England and for a day or two anchored off Lundy. One submariner, whose name is unknown, came ashore and probably spent … Continue reading

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