Bideford’s Nat West Bank.

An iconic building in Bideford, Nat West Bank (formerly National Provincial) closed on 29th May 2018. Peter Christie looks back on its history, and Gerald Waldron remembers his time as a bank employee.

End of an era.

The closure of Bideford’s Natwest bank seems a suitable time to look at its history. The story begins around 1790 when four men established a bank in town. They were James Ley a prominent merchant, Stephen Willcock a wine merchant, John Glubb a lawyer, and Charles Cutcliffe a Barnstaple banker. Their new venture seems to have been set up in Ley’s house on the N.E. corner of High Street.

A map from 1842 (above) shows the building split into two, whilst the main photograph (taken around 1870) clearly shows which section was being used as the bank. The fact that the business became known as ‘Bideford Old Bank’ suggests it was the first such establishment in the town.

In 1843 under its ‘official’ name of J.Ley & Co it was taken over by the National Provincial Bank which had been founded in London a decade earlier. At some time the building next door was incorporated into the bank as shown on this 1888 map (below).

Under its new name it continued to provide banking services to Bideford, and in 1930 plans were submitted to modernise the building. These saw a new doorway at the eastern end with the old entrance being closed up along with a reinforced strong room. The work was carried out by John Cock, a Bideford builder and one-time Mayor of the town.

Since then various changes have been put in place to meet modern requirements (e.g. an ATM and bullet proof glass screens). Sadly the gradual movement to on-line banking has seen the Natwest directors decide to close this branch – Bideford will be the poorer.

Peter Christie.


Reminiscences of an old-fashioned banker at National Provincial Bank in North Devon in the 1950s.

I applied to join the National Provincial Bank in 1950 and had to go to London for interview with the Chairman & General Manager. It so happened that his wife had presented prizes at Bideford Grammar School’ s Prize-Giving not long before, and I was one of the recipients, so I was offered a job without a formal interview. My first appointment was at Torrington for 6 months, I then did my National Service and returned to the Torrington branch for a further 6 months before being transferred to Bideford.

My first taste of banking was at Torrington where the Manager opened the post which arrived at 8 o’clock. He unlocked the door for staff at 9 o’clock before having breakfast upstairs in his flat and then going fishing during the season. He returned later in the afternoon to lock up then spent the evenings doing business with customers in the local pubs.

From what I remember there were 20/30 members of staff at Bideford but they had to cover the branch office at Northam, a daily agency at Appledore, and a monthly morning visit to Clovelly. One member of staff plus a guard went by taxi to Clovelly, but no business was carried out there apart from selling postcards of the premises at 6d a time. Two members of staff ran the Northam branch but were not allowed to leave the bank so coffee and doughnuts were delivered by Patts, who ran a café across the road.

Male members of staff had to wear suits, collars and ties at all times. All entries were entered manually in ledgers. The bank was open from 10 am to 3 pm but staff had to remain until they balanced the books – sometimes quite late in the evening. Once £500 couldn’t be accounted for and, after searching everywhere, staff had to give up. However, 6 months later a junior was cleaning dust from under the safe and found the missing bundle of notes. Any dirty notes at the bank had to be taken out of circulation, parcelled up with the bank seal and returned to the Bank of England. Two members of staff carried the packages up High Street to the Post Office!

At the beginning of 1955 I was transferred to London at a week’s notice. Shortly after I arrived at the Bank’s hostel two others were transferred from Bideford. I myself was contacted within the first week at my new branch about playing rugby for the Bank. I was told I was posted to London because I played rugby, and I thought it was because of my mental ability! How times have changed since those days, with Northam and Torrington closed, and now Bideford.

Gerald Waldron.


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Shipping notes No. 157 (April/ May).

Bideford Quay.

Nothing since last issue. I understand that the next vessel at Bideford will be at the beginning of July.


LE George Bernard Shaw is still fitting out – first sea trials in July .Readers who may have been passing on the bus might have noticed that there is no gun on the fore end of this vessel; this is because it will not be fitted until she gets to her home base in Eire, using a gun from a vessel the Irish Navy bought from the British Government when we handed Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1999 (see below).

Bristol Channel Observations.

15/4 at 13.35 cargo vessel Borkum, 5,469 tons d.w., owners Borkum GMBH & Co KG Germany, inward bound for Swansea.

16/4 at 11.22 cargo vessel Paula C, 4,498 tons d.w., owners Carisbrooke Shipping Cowes IOW, inward bound for Newport. At 11.30 cargo vessel Pollux, 3,689 tons d.w., owners Gerhard Wessels Germany, inward bound for Birdport.

18/4 at 17.35 vehicle carrier Don Carlo, 28,142 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for |Portbury. (She is one of the largest vehicle carriers in the world).

21/4 at 13.35 self-discharging bulk carrier Yeoman Bank, 38,997 tons d.w., owners Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, inward bound for Portbury.

22/4 at 15.22 vehicle carrier Grande Benin, 26,097 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 1035.

25/4 at 0725 vehicle carrier Florida Highway, 18,930 tons d.w., owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 2028 cruise liner Marco Polo, 22,080 gross tons, owners Cruise and Maritime voyages UK, inward bound for Avonmouth.

28/4 at 07.15 cargo vessel Fokko Ukena, 3,627 tons d.w., owners Kapitan Siegfreid Bojen Schiffahrtsbetrieb EK Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 07.25 cargo vessel Egon W, 3,015 tons d.w., owners Egon W KG Germany, inward bound for Newport.

29/4 at 10.25 cargo vessel Bon Vivant, 2,510 tons d.w., owners MV Bon Vivant Sia Latvia, outward bound from Port Talbot having sailed at 06.37. At 10.30 cement carrier Encofrador, 6,528 tons d.w., owners Tedela Vegvin Spain, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 06.26. At 11.02 cargo vessel Eemsborg, 10,750 tons d.w., owners Wagenborg Shipping BV Netherlands, inward bound for Cardiff. At 12.30 vehicle carrier Grande Sicilia, 12,353 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

30/4 at 12.32 cargo vessel Lauren C, 5,000 tons d.w., owners Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd Cowes Isle of Wight, inward bound for Sharpness.

1/5 at 16.23 vehicle carrier Virgo Leader, 20,111 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

2/5 at 12.15 cargo vessel Erle, 4,690 tons d.w., owners Sea Rabbit Chartering Turkey, outward bound from Birdport (having sailed 30th at 19.09). At 12.35 vehicle carrier Vega Leader, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.03 hrs. At 13.55 vehicle carrier Virgo Leader, 16,396 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 10.03.

4/5 at 17.23 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

6/5 at 19.10 vehicle carrier Grand Pioneer, 19,120 tons d.w., owners Cido Shipping (H.K) Co Ltd Hong Kong, inward bound for Portbury.

7/5 at 13.50 vehicle carrier Grande Portogallo, 12,594 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 09.12.

8/5 at 15.57 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury.

9/5 at 19.10 cement carrier Ronez, 1,117 tons d.w., owners Heulin-Renouf Channel Islands, inward bound for Port Talbot.




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One hundred years ago – May 1918.

The Ministry of Food announces that it can release considerable additional supplies of frozen meat. Therefore from Sunday last until further notice 8 pence worth of uncooked meat may be purchased in respect of each 2 coupons in the ration book per week. It has also been announced that meatless days in restaurants will no longer be compulsory.

The Local Food Committee has met and announced to farmers, dairymen and the public that The Cream Order 1917 will still remain in force until further notice despite relaxation in other supplies. No cream may be used or sold except as directed under the Order.

Northam Choral Society has been re-formed by Mr Clifford Grout and has given a concert in the Northam School Room. A varied programme of choral, instrumental and solo performances were enthusiastically received and all proceeds are in aid of War Funds.

Property for sale.

An extraordinary amount of property has been advertised for sale during the month. On May 21st at the New Inn Bideford on the instructions of G H Fairbrother; Lots include “Riverview”, Yeo Vale, near Whitehall 3 beds; “Little Whitehall” also 3 beds and attic box rooms; 2 dwelling houses 1 & 2 Bellevue each with 3 beds and “West View”. All the foregoing have river views and large gardens.On the last day of this month at the Friendship Hotel, Market Place, Bideford, an interesting and varied estate that was the property of Mr James Prouse (dec’d) is offered at auction. Lots 1 & 2 are blocks of shares in Bideford Gas & Coke Co. and Torrington Gas Co Ltd. Lot 3 is a freehold detached house “Rocklea”. Lot 4 is a factory and store, Tan & Lime pits known as Westcombe Tannery Bideford together with 2 dwelling houses and gardens. Lot 5 is a block of freehold property at 3 High Street, Torrington, comprising a shop, dwelling house and a newly erected building at the rear and fronting onto Church Lane and being used as a cinema and extensive yard. Lot 6 is two leasehold cottages with gardens at Caddywell Torrington.

(These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website


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Bideford Art School: a brief history.

Bideford Art School (now Bideford Arts Centre), a listed building on the Pill, has an interesting history. It started life in 1896 as a technical college, a result of ‘self help’ Victorian values. Our photo above shows the plaque on the side of the building which mentions the Mayor, and also Alderman Narroway, who was a great supporter of Bideford Library. (His portrait can be seen there in stained glass.)

The last two decades of Victoria’s reign led to what was known as ‘municipal socialising’ where museums, art galleries, technical colleges were created for the public good. Bideford’s college developed into a specialist art school, possibly because of the nature of the area, a pretty place where artists gathered, and became well known for its art and craft teaching.

I recently spoke to John Butler, former curator at Burton Art Gallery and talented wood carver – (seen here in his studio in Butchers’ Row.)

John left school at 16 and went to Bideford Art School to do what was then known as the ‘Pre Diploma’ course. Following on from that he completed his art education,as many did, at a larger art school.

The students at the Art School benefited from high quality teaching and small groups.

There were some excellent artists trained there. Allin Braund became famous for lithographs and trained and taught at Hornsey School of Art in the 1930s. Rosemary Sutcliffe, author of ‘Eagle of the Ninth’ and many other books on Roman and Greek history, was a well known member of the Royal Society of Miniaturists; Leslie Worth, who became President of the Royal Watercolour Society, was born in Lime Grove. Bertram Prance became a cartoonist for ‘Punch’ magazine, as did George Belcher, and Michael Darling (occasional cartoonist for Buzz ).

Under the leadership of Jim Paterson in the 1950s it continued to flourish with potter Harry Juniper, and artists Judith Ackland (who with Mary Stella Edwards lived in the cabin at Bucks Mills and produced some fine water colours) and Sheila Hutchinson. Their work can be seen as part of the Burton Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

In the 70s the Art School became a general further education college, and art education was diverted to North Devon College in Barnstaple (Now Petroc), unfortunately with the resultant bigger classes.?



Did you attend Bideford Art School ? Share your memories of it with us.


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Shipping notes No. 156 (March/ April).


No shipping since last Issue.


Le George Bernard Shaw still fitting out ; no date yet for trials.


British Channel Observations.

11/3 at 08.38 vehicle carrier Grande Napoli, 14,565 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

14/3 at 10.17 vehicle carrier Orion Leader, 25,626 tons d.w, owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

15/3 at 12.15 container ship Cape| Manila, 41,534 tons d.w., owners Scholler Holding Ltd Cyprus, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 14.36 on the 14th

17/3 At 14.55 vehicle carrier Aegean Highway, 18,687 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

18/3 at 07.50 bulk carrier Kambos, 33,225 tons d.w., owners Finland Shipping Inc Greece, inward bound for Avonmouth ; (seen again 24/3 at 07.10, having sailed from Avonmouth at 00.21.)

19/3 at 15.00 chemical tanker Ek Star, 13,780 tons d.w., owners Ek Tank Sweden ,outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 10.13.

22/3 at 12.55 vehicle carrier Grand Benelux, 12,594 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed from Portbury at 07.18. At 14.05 vehicle carrier Coral Leader, 12,164 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury.

24/3 at 10.40 vehicle carrier Jasper Arrow, 21,040 tons d.w, owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury . (Seen again at 16.43 25/3 outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 11.46).

25/3 at 07.10 vehicle carrier Hawaiian Highway, 20,606 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 01.52. At 08.12 vehicle carrier Grande Ellade, 18,885 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 02.54 hrs . At 16.44 ro-ro vessel Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w., owners Anja 2 SNC France, outward bound from Portbury with wing parts for Airbus France, having sailed at 10.35.

27/3 at 18.45 tanker Selini, 74,296 tons d.w., owners Tsakos Shipping and Trading SA Greece, inward bound for Portbury.

28/3 at 18.37 bulk carrier Federal Yukina, 35,868 tons d.w., owners Fednav Canada, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 14.57.

30/3 at 07.51 bulk carrier Venture Joy, 43,532 tons d.w., owners Louise Shipping SA Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 09.27 vehicle carrier Vega Leader, 16,396 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 04.30.

2/4 at 08.20 vehicle carrier Gentle Leader, 21,122 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury.

3/4 at 06.38 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury.

Norman. 01271 861183


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Buzz Byte – April.

If your computer or laptop/tablet is misbehaving, there’re a few things to try before going into panic mode and dashing off to your local PC repair centre.

The most common recommendation is to simply turn it off and then on again. You may need to leave it unplugged for 20 minutes or so before trying again, this is a very common trick and works for other electrical equipment too such as Sky boxes and Xboxes!! There’s a multitude of D.I.Y computer fix tutorials and web pages that you can follow if you want to try to fix it yourself but bear in mind that you could make the situation worse, especially if you’re are inexperienced, and you should never expect free advice from a computer store; some things are best left to the professionals. Check your software is up-to-date and that there are no updates needed; updates are released to improve the performance of your PC system, so by not installing them your PC may not contain vital software such as security patches.

We’ll visit Windows updates in a future column. What are the common errors that have computer users breaking into a cold sweat and require technical knowhow to fix?

The Blue screen of death, aka a stop error – This is considered the most serious possible error code and is caused by a hardware or driver related fault. All may not be lost, get the PC into a repair centre who can try to boot the machine in safe mode and fix the error. It can be a time consuming and complicated repair, but a blue screen doesn’t always mean certain death. It could just need a firmware update or hardware components may need replacing.

404/ Page not found – this isn’t usually a fatal error with your PC, just a web page that you are trying to access. Double check that you have spelled the wed address correctly as miss spelling will generate an error code, and is known as a client-side error! If this is all you get when you log on to the web then there is an error with the router, the line or the PC. BT engineers can check your line, if this is OK then a computer technician will need to text your equipment to determine where the fault is.

DLL file missing error – This error affects any DLL file across all the Microsoft operating systems. There are lots of DLL files that can cause lots of trouble. This is an example of what a DLL file error looks like. Error Loading C:\Users\Admin1\AppData\Local\Temp\ubielbpl.dll The specified module could not be found.

Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing.)


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Shipping notes No. 155 (February/ March).

In port – Bideford Quay.

Celtic Crusader – (ex- Scorpius, 1998: Lamego, ’13); built 1994; flag Cardiff, UK; owners British; crew Polish, Russian, Latvian; from Cork to Castellon; arrived 27/2, sailed 2/3; loaded 2,860 tons ball clay.


The proposed launch of LE George Bernard Shaw on 2nd March was postponed, due to the ‘Beast from the East’, and was put back to the a.m. tide of the 3rd March. She was floated out from the building shed about 07.00, and is due to be delivered to the Irish Navy in the summer of 2018.


Bristol Channel Observations.

11/2 at 16.08 cargo vessel Fehn Courage, 2,600 tons d.w. ,owners Fehn Bereedenrubgs GMBH & Co KG Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth.

16/2 at 08.00 vehicle carrier Neptune Aegli, 6,580 tons d.w., owners Aegli Shipping Co Ltd, inward bound for Portbury. At 09.12 cargo vessel Hathor, 3,850 tons d.w., owners Q-Shipping BV Netherlands, inward bound for Birdport. At 09.50 vehicle carrier Tongala, 22,585 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.24 hrs.

17/2 at 14.10 tanker Kensington, 13,000 tons d.w., owners Hudson Kensington Ltd London, inward bound for Avonmouth.

20/2 at 14.17 vehicle carrier Hoegh Target, 15,500 tons d.w., owners Leif Hoegh Autoliners Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

21/2 at 08.15 vehicle carrier Porgy, 18009 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury. At 12.05 vehicle carrier Bishu Highway, 17,649 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. (K.Line) Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.19 hrs. At 13.25 container vessel MSC Brianna, 60,200 tons d.w., outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 09.48.

22/2 at 08.07 cargo vessel Frezya S, 7,486 tons dw., owners Nova Warrior Ltd Istanbul, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 01.11.

24/2 at 16.15 container ship BG Diamond, 13,250 tons d.w., owners First New Horizons Shipping Co Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth.

25/2 at 15.03 cargo vessel John-Paul K, 4,250 tons d.w., owners Rufinia Beheer BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

27/2 at 07.28 cargo vessel SP Viking, 4,934 tons d.w., owners BBS Bulk V111 AS Norway, inward bound for Sharpness. At 09.43 vehicle carrier Morning Calypso, 18,200 tons d.w., owners Eukor Car Carrier Inc South Korea, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again on 28/2 at 11.45 outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 07.40).

4/3 at 10.40 cargo vessel Lady Anneke, 3,718 tons d.w., owners Lady Anneke BV Netherlands, inward bound for Sharpness. At 12.30 vehicle carrier CSCC Shanghai, 12,500 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 06.58. At 15.45 vehicle carrier Grande Spagne, 12,500 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury,

9/3 at 06.10 vehicle carrier Grande Europa, 18,461 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 01.46.

10/3 at 15.30 vehicle carrier Neptune Dynamis, 6,850 tons d.w., owners Dynamis Shipping Co Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 09.34 – at the same time passing inward, the container vessel BG Diamond, 13,250 tons d.w., owners First New Horizons Shipping Germany. inward bound for Avonmouth.



01271 861183


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Protheroe Smith (1809-89).

Protheroe Smith was born in 1809 in Bridgeland Street, Bideford, the son of a doctor, William Smith, and one of twenty children. He was educated at Bideford Grammar School and was destined for a military career, but injured his hip in an athletic activity, which put paid to his career as a soldier.

He decided on a medical career instead, and in 1833 qualified as a surgeon at St. Bartholomew’ s Hospital in London. Here he was appointed Lecturer in Midwifery and Diseases of Women, one of only two such posts in Great Britain and Ireland.

At this time, gynaecology was very much in its infancy, and very definitely a Cinderella subject. Smith was only the second person ever to carry out an ovariotomy without anaesthetics (on a woman who lived another 45 years), and the first to do the same operation with anaesthetics. An argument raged at the time, as to whether anaesthetics should be used during childbirth, as the Bible appeared to forbid it. Protheroe Smith argued from the Bible itself that the use of anaesthetics was perfectly acceptable, and wrote a well-known paper on the subject. The matter was sealed however, when Queen Victoria gave birth to her eighth child, with the use of anaesthetics. He was also an enthusiastic inventor of surgical gadgetry.

However his most important achievement was the founding of the first hospital in the world specifically for women.

In those pre-NHS days, hospitals were funded by subscription, but this proved to be an unpopular cause, partly because of its original name, the Hospital for Diseases of Women, which meant only one thing to the prudish Victorians: venereal disease.

It took five years and a lot of hard work for Protheroe Smith and a committee of pioneering doctors to gain proper support and funding, but the hospital finally opened in 1843 in Red Lion Square in London, transferring soon afterwards to larger premises in Soho Square, and renamed the Hospital for Women. By 1849 it had 5,000 outpatients, with 20 beds.Once opened, interest was shown by other cities in England and the USA, and general hospitals soon had gynaecological wards where females could be treated with more privacy and dignity, and medical expertise developed for women’s diseases. Before this doctors were generally ignorant of female complaints, and simply turned women away

A later report stated: “The foundation of this, the first hospital devoted entirely to diseases peculiar to women, is a great milestone in British medicine and gynaecology and has hardly received the recognition it deserves’.

He retired from his official post at the hospital in 1885 and died in 1889, aged 80. A memorial plaque celebrating his life and work can be found on the south wall in St. Mary’s Church.

Possibly Protheroe Smith has done more for humanity than any other Bidefordian, and his story should be better known.

Chris Trigger.


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One hundred years ago – March 1918.

It is reported in the 5th March edition that HMHS ‘Glenart Castle’, a hospital ship, was torpedoed some miles offshore between Hartland Point and Lundy on 26th February. The ship sank in several minutes and only a few of the 182 on board were saved. This action took place in an area speciality designated as a free zone and not liable to attack. (A memorial stone is on the cliff path at Hartland)

Property for Sale: Hole, Seldon & Ward offer Nos. 11, 12, & 13 Milton Place Bideford, and 1 & 2 Torridge Street, Bideford East. Also stables premises at Westward Ho! totalling ½ acre (which later became Twose Garage, now also demolished and rebuilt as Nelson Court).

Bideford Food Control. Mr R S Chope reported that requisitioned stocks are now in hand of margarine and will be available on 25rd March for general distribution. All retailers have been trained to administer the coupon rationing system except one retailer who was selling his stock without a certificate of approval. Application from dairymen to sell margarine from their carts to meet the demands of ration cards were approved. In last month’s article we reported that meat was becoming very scarce. Early this month a considerable quantity of venison was made available by Mrs Clemison and distributed at markets across our region priced at 8d per pound. It is also reported that store cattle, sheep, store hogs, bullocks, cows and calves were all in good supply and fetching reasonable prices.

Bideford Council have applied for another field in the Hartland Road area, currently owned by Sir George Kekewith, to be purchased and converted to allotments. The owner is prepared to sell but the tenant objects War Agricultural powers will be invoked to compulsorily purchase the land. Since the outbreak of war the council have provided 150 allotments totalling 20 acres around the town.

Silent Knight – Minerva 6 person tourer. 4 speeds and reverse. Cape cart extension hood with side curtains. Beatsonon double folding windscreen. Upholstered in brown leather and well stuffed.

An Adler 12hp touring car – seats 5 people. Body by Morgan of London; painted dark blue. Owned by a doctor.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website


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Felicity’s traditional fish cookery; March.

Charles Kingsley wrote the ‘Water Babies’ in Victorian times. In the story Tom, the chimney sweep’s boy, meets the gentleman salmon and the nosey drift of trout when he jumps in the river to become clean and safe! He plays with the mackerel and herring whom he meets at the mouth of the river where it joins the sea.

Here is an interesting recipe for smoked mackerel fishcakes -quick and easy. You could make 4 large ones for a satisfying supper, even served in a burger!

Smoked Mackerel, Chilli and Lemon fishcakes (for 8 fishcakes, or 4 burgers).


500g potatoes.

Flat-leaf parsley.

Lemon juice.

Chilli flakes.

300g smoked mackerel fillets.

1 tbsp. flour (and some for dusting).

2 tblsp. Oil.


1. Peel, dice and boil the potatoes for 15 mins.

2.Chop the parsley.

3.Drain and mash the potatoes with the parsley, chilli flakes and lemon juice.

4.Flake the fish into the mash, add the flour and mix well.

5.Put them on a plate and chill in the fridge for 30mins. (or freeze for future use)

6.Heat oil in the large frying plan and cook on medium heat for 7mins.each side.

Serve with green vegetables and tartare sauce or horseradish sauce with added mayonnaise.


These cheese scones are extra delicious served with cream cheese and smoked salmon. They can be served for fish teas.

Cheddar and Smoked salmon scones.


225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting.

1tsp. baking powder.

50g salted butter, diced.

100g Mature Cheddar Cheese.

150ml milk, plus extra for brushing.

100g mature smoked salmon.

Chives and lemon.


Preheat the oven to 220C or gas mark 7. Stir together the flour and baking powder, then using your fingertips rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Using a table knife, stir in ¾ of the cheese and then the milk to make a fairly soft dough. On a lightly floured surface pat the dough out to a thickness of 2cm and stamp out 5cm -wide rounds. Reuse the trimmings, to make 12 scones. Transfer to a baking tray, brush lightly with milk and scatter over the reserved cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Spilt each scone in half, spread the base with soft cheese and chives, add a piece of smoked salmon and replace the top. Serve with small slices of lemon wedges for squeezing over the salmon.

(Photo of scones is courtesy of Waitrose Cards.)


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Buzz Byte; March.

Have you ever heard of a software programme called Adblocker (sometimes referred to as Adblock or Poper blocker)? What is Adblocker? It’s exactly what it sounds like, ‘a piece of software designed to prevent advertisements from appearing on a web page.’

According to research Adblock Plus is the world’s most popular ad blocker, being used on over 100 million devices. As individual requirements and preferences differ you need to look at the pros and cons of each package to determine which one best suits your needs. Most of these programmes are general adblockers, but you can get specific software designed for use with YouTube or Facebook. Again, according to personal preference if you like seeing on-line ads then don’t install it, but if you like to use the internet without being swamped with offers and enticements to buy products or services then install one of the many software solutions on the market. Packages should allow you to disable the functions on websites of your choice. However some sites use pop-up technology on their websites and you won’t be able to view them unless you disable it on that page. Companies are getting wise and you will encounter some sites that identify that you have an adblocker installed and ask for it to be turned off; you have to decide if you want to by reading the accompanying message from the

business/charity/individual. Having an adblocker installed should help your browsing speed as the software will prevent unwanted plug-ins or advertising tags.

In the past we have experienced compatibility issues with some internet browsers such as Internet Explorer or Edge but find that Mozilla Firefox or Chrome don’t provide too many problems. If you are having trouble accessing some or all of the features on a website, try changing the browser you are opening it in. If that still doesn’t work give your local independent computer company a call. If you use your phone to stream data and browse the internet some packages have dedicated mobile ad blocking, which would be different from the PC version.

Nickie Baglow.


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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 prefabricated structure probably made in South Wales. It was brought to North Devon by boat in 1825 when the present riverside road to Torrington was being constructed. (See above.) It was rebuilt using steel in 1926.

The second ‘Iron Bridge’ is the more familiar one over the Torridge that used to carry the railway to Meeth and is now part of the Tarka Trail (below). This was built when the railway was extended to Torrington in the early 1870s – but its construction was not without controversy.’

In September 1869 the Mayor of Bideford, C.Pedler, wrote to the Board of Trade opposing the ‘construction of a railway bridge by the London and South Western Railway Company across the Torridge‘ on the basis it would impede the river for boats. The Board passed this letter on to Mr.Galbraith engineer-in -charge of the new line who replied ‘Bideford town council could not be serious in opposing the construction of the proposed bridge across the Torridge as it will improve rather than injure the navigation of the river.

In November of that year the council held a ‘Special Meeting’ to discuss the proposed bridge which saw tempers fraying – and when the vote was taken to oppose its construction the vote was split equally between those for and against. A journalist who attended the meeting noted ‘the proceedings were unfit for reproduction in any respectable newspaper.

The railway company merely pushed on with the scheme though in October 1870 councillors reckoned there had been ‘a deviation on the original plans and an encroachment on the river‘ – an allegation repeated in November 1871. Indeed so incensed were they over this presumed illegality they sent the Borough Surveyor up to London to trace the original plans to bolster their argument. Unfortunately the surveyor had to report that ‘from a careful examination he was satisfied that the work was being done according to the plans.‘ By now the bridge was virtually complete and so the councillors withdrew their objections – and the bridge went on to become an iconic part of the scenery on this part of the river.

Peter Christie.

Today. The iron (railway) bridge is now the property of Devon County Council and was recently repainted. The Tarka Trail comes under the management of Martin Caddy of DCC, who is Public Rights of Way Officer for all this end of Devon.




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Shipping notes No. 154 (January/ February).

In port – Bideford Quay.

Celtic Crusader – (ex- Scorpius, ‘98 ; Lamego, ’13); built 1994; flag, Cardiff; owners, British; crew Russian, Latvian, Polish; from Leixoes to Castellon; arrived 18/1, sailed 20/1; loaded 2,100 tons ball clay.


The fourth vessel for the Irish Navy will be floated out from the building dock on the 2nd March at 06.00 (high water). She will be named LE George Bernard Shaw.

Bristol Channel Observations.

19/1 at 07.20 container ship BF Cartagena, 5,218 tons d.w., owners Paula Foroohari Schiffahrts Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 11.05 vehicle carrier Vega Leader, 16,396 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan (having sailed from Portbury at 07.48).

25/1 at 16.45 bulk carrier Yeoman Bank, 38,997 tons d.w., owners Aggregate Industries UK Ltd UK, outward bound from Portbury (having sailed at 09.49).

26/1 at 08.25 cargo vessel Mekanik Krashovskiy, 2,650 tons d.w., owners Joint Stock Northern Shipping Co Russia, outward bound from Sharpness (having sailed at 00.29). At 14.30 vehicle carrier Grand Hero, 18,085 tons d.w., owners Cido Shipping H.K. Co Ltd Hong Kong China, inward bound for Portbury.

30/1 at10.40 vehicle carrier Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w., owners Anja 2 SNC France, outward bound from Portbury (having sailed at 05.23).

31/1 at 09.10 vehicle carrier Graceful Leader, 20,986 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carrier Ltd Israel (in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan), inward bound for Portbury. (At 10.10 1/2 vessel seen again outward bound having sailed at 04.48).

1/2 at 08.25 vehicle carrier Fidello, 30,137 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury.

2/2 at 08.00 vehicle carrier Virgo Leader, 20,111 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 11.02 hrs bulk carrier Aasnes, 7158 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, outward from from Portbury (having sailed at 05.57). At 13.25 cargo vessel Wilson Calais, 4,450 tons d.w., owners Wilson SA Norway (having sailed from Newport at 07.51). At 14.30 cement carrier Ronez, 1,117 tons d.w., owners Heulin-Renouf Shipping Ltd Channel Islands, inward bound for Port Talbot.

3.2 at 11.40 vehicle carrier Virgo Leader, 20,111tons d.w., owners Nippon Yesen Kaisha of Japan, outward bound from |Portbury (having sailed at 06.43). At 13.42 bulk carrier Neptune, 32,318 tons d.w., owners Briana Shipping Co Pte Ltd Singapore, outward bound from Avonmouth (having sailed 07.54).

6/2 at 11.40 vehicle carrier Grande Roma, 14,900 tons d.w., onwers Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.43 vehicle carrier Grande Napoli, 14565 tons d.w. owners Grimaldi Line of Italy inward bound for Portbury.

7/2 at 11.10 cargo vessel Argos, 3,666 tons d.w., owners Gerhard Wessels Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 16.40 vehicle carrier Grand Hero, 18,085 tons d.w., owners Cido Shipping (H.K.) Co Ltd Hong Kong, inward bound for Portbury.

8/2 at 11.30 cargo vessel Yasemin, 6,830 tons d.w., owners Is Finanstal Kiralama AS Turkey, inward bound for Newport.




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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 Bideford bank before the war. He enlisted in the Royal North Devon Hussars before transferring to the RFC. He was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry.

British Summertime, introduced in 1915, was discussed in the House of Commons and it was agreed that it should continue again this year so that local farmers could make use of the extra daylight hours. However no decision was made regarding its continued use thereafter or its duration this year.

Bideford Borough Food Control Committee desire to purchase on behalf of the Ministry of Food sound potatoes in lots of not less than ½ ton. Bags will be supplied from Bideford Railway station. Also in a Notice to the Public. There is a grave shortage of meat especially in the great centres of population. The Government is considering commandeering cattle and sheep. Farmers are urged to send suitable animals to market.

Property for Sale. A W Cock Auctioneers of Grenville Street has to offer the following :-   The Hoops Inn. Fully licensed for 6 days per week, comprising of a parlour, bar, breakfast room, kitchen and large cellar, wash house with copper furnace, 3 bedrooms and WC. All recently rebuilt. Also included is Stabling and outhouses, gardens, an orchard, in all about ¼ acre. Also for sale the adjacent property known as Coombe Cottage.

At Bideford Borough Sessions on Monday last George Arthur, a youth, was fined 6 shillings for riding a bicycle on the footpath in Mignonette Walk. PC Tuplin stated the facts.

Buyers from a large area attended the Sale of antique furniture at ‘Hazelhurst’, Belvoir Road, Bideford. The following were some of the prices achieved –   An antique oak drawer chest £40, oak wardrobe £30. Jacobean chest £13. Antique oak dresser £15. William & Mary settee £11, Grandfather clock £13, oak corner cabinet £6.7.6d

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714.

Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website


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