What’s hidden in the council vaults?


- Credit: ©ARCHANT } NORFOLK 2002.

I was away from Devon the first weekend in March and so had two Sidmouth Heralds to read this weekend.

As a former resident of Sidmouth, I am concerned, amongst other things, about the fate of the Drill Hall, as I always believed it belonged to the citizens of Sidmouth, but had no idea when it was given.

The report in the issue dated March 1 names the donor of the site as George Radford in 1895, but no details on when the hall was built or who did so.

I would assume that the details of the gift of site would have been held by the former Sidmouth Urban District Council and, along with details of other donations such as The Ham, taken to the Knowle by East Devon District Council.

The Ham site has lost at least six feet from the seaward end in recent years due to the pumping station works.

Kay Bagwell opened the shop in the 1960s but I am sure that Stan Bagwell and others were selling fish as the trawlers came in.

As a youth I recall the boats being hauled up by people power turning the capstan, two on each of the four arms, long since replaced by diesel engines.

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The last time I bought any such fish was in the mackerel season in 1958 when they were for the next day’s breakfast.

I agree with Kay when she says that the people who depend on the sea are not consulted, hence the rock groynes instead of repairing the wooden ones (as done at Holcombe) which had served Sidmouth since about 1927, including the war years when access to the beach was in one place only.

What I now wonder is how much more information about The Ham, the former Manor Hall and possibly Knowle is hidden in the EDDC vaults at the headquarters.

I would like to attend many of the SOS meetings, but for an hour’s meeting I have to allow at least three hours due to travelling time – longer if I rely on Stagecoach.

JAS Waller