Grew up in Monastery Road just above Winner Street, later lived in Primley Park too - so that old part of Paignton holds some great memories.
As a kid Winner street, seemed a very exciting vibrant place, 100's of special, some very different, quaint little busy shops - you look at it now and it seems so old fashioned, run down and unloved - these lovely old streets are the ones that have taken the biggest hit in the age of the out of town supermarket's that control the food chain with an iron grip in this country now.
Pocket money every saturday and I would run down to the sweet shop at the top of Winner st (opposite the entrance to Church St) and buy a huge glass bottle of Dawes Cherryade - which was made around the corner in curledge street and 4 packs of football cards with bubble gum - not forgetting to bring back my bottle from last week which was returnable for 2p, I would have a red moustache for the rest of the day after having drunk the lot!
That area was great to grow up in and it certainly toughened one up, the biggest dare any of us could do was to walk up to the spooky old deserted monastery at the end of the road and even stay there own your own for a few minutes - there was always tales of someone having seen ghostly visions of monks etc etc.
More good memories from Dave's photos today and, like Justin, the Winner Street, Church Street, Palace Avenue area was the playground of my childhood. Although I don't have memories of Monastery Road myself, my mother grew up there and I had my wedding reception in Monastery Hall after tying the knot at Oldway in 1982.
One of Dave's pictures shows the Honeymoon chinese restaurant at the junction of Well Street and Church Street. This was previously the Victoria Inn. During my teens after I had moved to Brixham this was the chosen drinking venue when we visited friends in Paignton. A fine 'local' and one of the few in the 70s that sold real ale when it was hard to find and the CAMRA Good Beer Guide was considerably thinner than it is today!
Many thanks for posting your memories on this thread jmgull and ricardo, I hope over the coming weeks to stir up a few more for you both.
Living in Newton Abbot I never knew the monastery excised until I was in my early twenty's. At that time I was a milkman working over in Torquay, until One day I was asked if I could go over to the Paignton depot and do a round in Paignton for them.
I said yes and soon found myself discovering the monastery at 4am on a very dark and windy morning, I was used to working out in the dark early mornings, but I will be honest and say I got the milk on the nearby doorsteps extra quick that morning.
I can't seem to find out much about the old monastery, I did read somewhere it was built in the 18th century, but I'm not sure if that is correct. I do believe the Marist fathers who were catholic priests came to England found that many English Catholics had to travel quite far to attend mass. So they bought this building and turned it into a chapel for the Catholics in the town.
It is now owned by Torbay Council who wanted to knock it down and build houses on the site, it has not happened yet. It they thought it could be knocked down, I guess it can't be a listed building and if that is the case I feel it should be.
As far as I know its now standing empty and starting to suffer the effects of being neglected. Some local people are trying to save the building and are looking for ideas to get it back into use.
I hope it never gets knocked down, such buildings do have such history and should be preserved at all costs.
It was almost 24 years after Grace Brothers shut up shop, the family-run Rossoters department store which inspired the classic sitcom closed its doors for good.A victim of the credit crunch, Rossiters, which had been trading for more than 150 years, shut in February 2009 after being hit by falling sales in the bleak economic climate.The independent department store is said to have influenced the writers of 'Are You Being Served?', David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd who visited when they spent a summer season in Paignton, Devon before creating the BBC comedy series in 1972.
In 1858, at a time when Paignton was little more than a country village, a drapery shop was founded in Winner Street by two sisters, daughters of a local farmer - Sarah and Jane Rossiter.
The two sisters and the very first shop in Winner Street
Both Jane and Sarah were married within a few months of their shop opening its doors and set about founding a family dynasty which would steer the business very successfully for many years to come. Jane retired at the time of her marriage and played no further part in the business.
Over time, the business outgrew the little shop in Winner Street where the owners, their families and their staff had lived over the shop. Sarah and her family moved to Palace Avenue, Paignton's main shopping street, in 1888, and over the years, acquired adjacent shops to enlarge their premises still further, making room for the new "departments they were gradually adding. In 1934, the family partnership was converted into a private limited company with four directors including Sarah Rossiter's son "Mr Frank" who, as the 1901 census shows. Followed the family tradition in living above the shop at 7 Palace Avenue.
Sarah married a distant cousin, Robert Tucker Rossiter who was a Master mariner and so was often absent from home for long periods. Thus, in an age when a woman's property passed automatically to her husband upon marriage, Sarah remained free to make business decisions on her own behalf and this she did with great skill. In 1908, Rossiter and Son (as the Company was then known) celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 1934, the family partnership was converted into a private limited company with four directors including Sarah Rossiter's son " Mr Frank" - Sarah herself having died in 1923 aged 93.
I’m sure many of you will have fond memories of Rossiters especially around the Christmas time as so many children were taken there to see Father Christmas. It was feared Paignton would suffer badly when the store shut its doors for the last time. But that did not prove to be the case and the building ended up being taken over by a factory outlet shop
Due to growing up in Newton Abbot, I do not have many childhood memories of Paignton. I do have some childhood memories such as being taken to Paignton zoo, Goodrington Beach and the Torbay cinema on wet back holidays. Of all the memories I do have, the one that sticks in my mind the most, was approaching Paignton from Torquay seafront.
You knew even as a child as soon as you went past Livermead, it was time to wind up the car windows as failure to do so. Would result in having to endure one of the worst smells ever. Yes I’m talking about the Hollicombe gas works and having to drive through them ( it was on both sides of the road) had to be the most off putting thing ever, to want to go to Paignton.
After finding a 1904 map that showed the Paignton gas works were in Mill Lane very close to Church Street, I wrongly thought that site must have closed down when the site at Hollicombe was built. It was in 1923 Gas manufacture was centralised at Hollicombe and Paignton and St. Marychurch became holder stations only, so I do wonder when the old Paignton gas works finally stopped being use.
On September 4th 1942 during an air raid on Torbay there was a serious fire on the Hollicombe gas holder.The demise of the private gas companies took place when the industry was nationalised. From 1948 gas in the area was supplied by the South Western Gas Board.Gas production finished at Hollicombe in 1968. Natural gas arrived in Torbay in early 1973.
The Hollicombe site on the seaward side was turned into a park around 1987 I believe and I seem to remember it had a children’s play park on the right hand side as you entered the park. One of the old storage tank bases had been turned into a duck pond and having public access to this site, allowed one to walk under a railway line bridge onto the beach that has often been called gasworks beach, but its proper name is Hollicombe beach.
The other side of the site has been fenced off all these years and has become a place many wildlife have now made their home. Many will know there are plans to build a 185 houses on this site, but its not happened yet as neighbouring residents have been opposed to the proposals as they fear a clean up of the toxic site could spark health risks.
While I would prefer to see this site cleaned up and just left to nature, I wonder if there was so much fuss made when the old Paignton gas works were knocked down and built over. Looking at that old 1904 map, that old site most defiantly now has houses built on it.
On my way over to lunch at the Coach House in Babbacombe today, I decided to show Lyn another beach she has not seen yet. Thankfully we set off early as by the time we left the Coach House, it had started to rain and by the time we got home it was raining much harder.
It was a sad to see just how much Torbay Council has let what was a new park area become an eyesore in such a short number of years. The once full duck pond that I knew had sprung a leak was never repaired and is now fully over grown with weeds etc.
The play area is also gone and its shame such a large open area, is not being used for something, but what it could be used for I have no idea. The old railway bridge is not very high when you walk under it and the first half of it looks much newer then the second half. I have no idea if part of it had to be rebuilt, or if at one time there was only one line in and out of Paignton. If this was the case, then maybe to the newer bit was built to carry and extra line.
The main road through the middle of the old gas works.
The site they want to build new houses on.
The once nice new park area
The railway bridge you go under to get to the beach
1904 map showing the site of the old Paignton gas works
I regularly walk my dog on that beach in the winter Dave, it's ideal because it's enclosed, he has been known to make the odd "dash for freedom on a scent" - those who have hounds will know.
Such a shame to see that park in the state it's currently in, perhaps their is plans to do it up, the thick bushes and trees above the beach have been largely cleared away now, in a bid to rid the area of those in the community of the same sex that used to meet up there in apparently significant numbers (Tory mp's etc ) for a bit of hows your father against a tree .
Disclaimer - i'm not speaking from personal experience here, this was explained to me one day, in detail on the beach, by a lovely old dear with a poodle that lives nearby
Well I never Justin, I never knew those naughty boys were getting up to things like that down on the beach, hope the next high tide then away
If only that old duck pond was cleared out and had some nice plants planted in it, then it would look so much better. I expect in years to come some big tower block will be built on the land to the right when you enter the park.