The past in pictures

PUBLISHED: 12:39 28 May 2017

Theophilus Mortimore's poultry shop in Church Street, which traded between 1883 and 1886. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

Theophilus Mortimore's poultry shop in Church Street, which traded between 1883 and 1886. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

Archant

From the very first days of photography, the camera has recorded the shops and streets of Sidmouth.

Church Street. Photos from Sidmouth MuseumChurch Street. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

The area below the parish church at the top of Church Street is of particular interest.

From the photographs you can see there were many different businesses that, over the years, traded from the shops.

In the late 1800s, lace became very fashionable and the buildings were smartened up to welcome the grand people who came to buy it.

The thatched buildings, immediately below the church, were destroyed by fire 90 years ago, in 1927.

Thatched properties in Church Street were destroyed by a fire in 1927. Photos from Sidmouth MuseumThatched properties in Church Street were destroyed by a fire in 1927. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

The shops and cottages were devastated, nearly 30 people were left homeless and five business premises were ravaged.

The site was rebuilt in 1928 – 1929.

At the bottom of Church Street, running around the corner into the Market Place, stood thatched cottages and shops.

It is recorded that there was a fish shop owned by a Mr Robert Bartlett trading here as early as 1826.

William Spencer's thatched shop in Church Street in around 1880. Photos from Sidmouth MuseumWilliam Spencer's thatched shop in Church Street in around 1880. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

The last business to trade appears to be Theophilus Mortimore selling poultry.

By the 1880s the thatched buildings had been neglected and were in a dilapidated condition.

They were purchased by the Local Board for £700 for demolition.

They were pulled down in 1886 and, with the walls more than four feet thick in parts, the job needed both men and horses to destroy them.

Thatched properties in Church Street were destroyed by a fire in 1927. Photos from Sidmouth MuseumThatched properties in Church Street were destroyed by a fire in 1927. Photos from Sidmouth Museum

The construction of the interior of the building and materials discovered suggested that the cottages could have be constructed between 1574 and 1587.

In 1888 a brick building was erected on the site by Mr Gliddon.

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