Bideford Athletic Club 1920
As part of their jubilee celebrations some of the children at Westcroft School decided to interview some senior residents of Bideford about how the town had changed over the years. Here are some of the replies.
Jimmy Floyd and Terri Schiller interviewed Mr Floyd (aged 71):
Mr Floyd remembers that in the war there was barbed wire along the quay, and an American camp in Kingsley Road. Mr Floyd used to live in what was once The Angel Inn, which was very old. He now lives in a more modern house.
Kay Stone and Siobhan Teape interviewed Mrs Gwyneth Dendle:
Food has changed over the years. Now there are pre-cooked meals, and fridges and microwaves main meals can be ready in moments. Before the fridge, meat used to be kept cool in a “meat safe”, which was outside in a cool spot.
Transport has changed a huge amount over the years. In 1940, one person in ten owned a car, now almost everyone has one. Mrs Dendle’s grandmother had the license of the King’s Arms, she ran it with the help of her grown up children. During the war it was full of relations home on leave, and some made homeless by the war.
Bideford has also altered over the years. There are lots more housing estates. In her youth, more people used public transport. Hardly anyone had cars. More traffic came in the twentieth century, and the parking spaces were not adequate. In those days trains and buses came regularly, and children walked to school.
Mrs Dendle liked listening to the radio, enjoying swing, jazz and classical music. She remembers Bing Crosby Frank Sinatra and Vera Lynn.
The food in England used to be plain, such as beef, rabbit pie, and fish and chips. Turkey, goose or duck was eaten at Christmas. Nowadays, more rice, pasta, spicy food, pizzas and couscous are eaten. Mrs Dendle thinks her father would have hated modern food. Mrs Dendle could remember a lot of shops that have all gone now. She likes living in Bideford and thinks the town needs to develop its tourist attractions in order to be successful in the future.
You can see more of these interviews displayed in the children’s section of Bideford Library.
On a perfect summer evening in June 1953 — the day before the Queen reviewed the Fleet at Spithead — my husband and I took our two young sons on a boat trip around the Fleet. The Battle Ships were all decorated with fairy lights and the crews were dressed in their white jackets — then from the shore came the small naval vessels bringing people in evening dress to a reception on board the big ships — a sight I shall always remember.