Jul 282017
Mona Island - Exmouth

Mona Island

Mona Island - Exmouth

Mona Island

Mona Island - Exmouth

Mona Island

The Historic Exmouth Plaque erected by the Exmouth Society states:

“This was the location of Pratteshide (Pratt’s landing place) from where the ancient ferry to Starcross, with royal concession, operated for many centuries. Nearby stood Douste’s House, built by Roger Douste prior to 1240 AD, where all shipping dues and ferry rents were paid. In the late 19th century, the area became known as Mona Island, named after one of the cottages on the site”.

Mona Island was originally on the shore of the Exe Estuary, but is now quite a distance away following the land reclamation in the early 19th century which evetually created the area occupied by the Colonies.

Feb 012016

THere have been three distinct Railway Stations serving Exmouth.

Exmouth's first railway station

Exmouth’s first railway station

The first station was some distance South of the present building, based on two residential buildings fronting onto Imperial Road. It opened in 1861.

The second station opened in 1924 to handle increased demand. This station included two new platforms, bringing the total to four. The goods shed closed in December 1967, becoming a skating rink and later part of the Exmouth Sports Centre.

The third and present station was built to the west of the second station to make way for an urban relief road (Marine Way). This station has just one platform. It opened in May 1976.

Jan 232016

At one time Exmouth had four cinemas. Only one survives today, the Savoy.

Savoy Cinema

Savoy Cinema

The Savoy Cinema on Rolle Street was previously the Public Hall.

Fever and Boutique, previously the Forum Cinema

Fever and Boutique, previously the Forum Cinema.

The Forum Cinema on the Parade opened as the New Picture House in the 1920s on the site of the Little Theatre. It closed in the 1960s(?), becoming a bingo hall, the Elite Social Club and currently (2016) Fever & Boutique Night Club.

Regal Cinema

Regal Cinema

The Regal Cinema on St Andrews Road opened in the late 1920s as the Manor Theatre and closed in the early 1950s. It subsequently became a ballroom, bowling alley, night club (Samantha’s), bar and soft play area. When Samantha’s closed in 2008 plans were drawn up to convert the building into fourteen flats, however this was put on hold over concerns around parking.

Site of Royal Cinema - Exmouth

Site of the Royal/Grand/King’s Cinema in 2017

The Royal Cinema, also known in the past as the Grand and King’s was previously the King’s Hall just off the Exeter Road by Mona Island. The building had been erected in 1889 as St Margaret’s Church. After the congregation moved to the newly built All Saint’s Church the building was sold at auction in 1909. The first real film to play in Exmouth, of the funeral of King Edward VII, was shown here in 1910. This cinema was also the first in Exmouth to show a “Talkie” in January 1930. This was “The Singing Fool” which starred Al Jolson.

After closure in 1979 the Royal Cinema was demolished and replaced by housing.

Before the Second World War Exmouth’s cinemas did not open on Sundays. During the war there were however shows on Sundays for the benefit of service men in the area. In 1946 a public meeting voted against Sunday cinema, however this was overturned by a subsequent local poll (2,357 votes to 1,106) so cinemas in Exmouth have been able to open on Sundays ever since.

Jan 012016

The Exmouth Gas, Coke and Water Company (Limited) was formed in 1844 and became the Exmouth Gas and Coke Company in 1865. By 1880 it was carbonising 1000 tons of coal a year and in 1900 produced around 40 million cubic feet of gas.

To meet demand a new gas holder was erected in 1910 with a capacity of 300,000 cubic feet. This was eventually insuufficient, so in 1931 another gas holder with a capacity of 750,000 cubic feet was built on a new site in the grounds of what was formerly Llandovery on Albion Hill.

Albion Hill Gas Holder Exmouth

Gas Holder at Albion Hill, Exmouth.

The output of gas in 1950 was approximately 240 million cubic feet which would have required some 13,000 tons of coal to be carbonised.

The Gas Company was nationalised in 1949.

Today little evidence remains of the gas industry in Exmouth. The gas holders have been removed, though the Albion Hill site remains fenced off and unused. The original town centre site has largely been taken over by Jewsons.

Old British Gas South Western depot site

Part of the original Exmouth Gas Works site located close to the Famous Old Barrel in Exmouth. Due to be redeveloped, probably flats. Photo was taken in August 2014.

Dec 302015

Exmouth Clock Tower

Exmouth’s Jubilee Clock Tower was erected to the design of architects Kerley and Ellis to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The Hon. Mark Rolle provided most of the £350 needed for construction and Lady Gertrude Rolle laid the foundation stone on the 15th of September 1897.

The clock was originally hand wound by a council employee, but is now electric. The original mechanism can be seen in Exmouth Museum.

The Tower became a grade II listed building in 1978.

Dec 302015

Exmouth’s open air swimming pool opened in 1932 on the seafront site of what is now Ocean at the end of Carlton Hill. It originally used water pumped from the sea and was the scene of many galas and home to the Exmouth Swimming and Life Saving Society, who previously had had to use the Docks for their activities.

The sea water was replaced in the 1970’s with a fresh water system. In 1985 the council gave up running the pool and for a few years after that it was run privately before closing permnanently.


Ocean now covers the site of Exmouth’s open air swimming pool

In 1889 building work started on a swimming pool at the end of Camperdown Terrace (now the site of the Buoy Store). However, while superintending the works, Thomas Redway (of brickworks fame), died suddenly and what was know as the “Saloon Pool” was never completed.

Nov 112015

B & Q - Exmouth

The Exmouth B & Q DIY store closed on the 7th of November 2015 with the loss of 50 jobs. The Liverton Business Park outlet closed as part of a national downsizing exercise by the Kingfisher Group, which owns B & Q, following news of a rent increase by the owners of the site, Clinton Devon Estates.

The building, after an extensive refurbishment, is now home to The Range.

Feb 162015

Once one of Exmouth’s largest employers, Pankhurst Engineering, closed in September 2008.

Pankhurst Engineering

The Littleham Industrial Estate factory at its height employed around 300 workers. Plans were submitted in 2013 to use the site for 50 residential units, which included 20 affordable homes.

Pankhurst Engineering

The factory made farm equipment and special dies, tools and jigs related to injection moulding.

Jan 232015

The first Clarks shoe factory was located in the centre of town, across from the “First and Last” pub close to the Exmouth Post Office. This opened in January 1961. (Thanks to Art Hine for this information).

The next factory was on the site of the Salterton Road Tesco Store.

The final factory was built in 1990 on the Liverton Business Park (Unit 6) and at its peak the 17,500 sq ft building employed upwards of 200 people. It closed around April 1999 and the building was taken over by the Seattle-based company Medical Equipment Incorporated followed by Homemaker (2006 – 30/06/2010), and Mooreways (28/12/2011 – 2013).

Mooreways 2015

Mooreways, pictured after its closure. This was the site of Clarks’ final factory in Exmouth.

Jan 222015

Daniel Warren of Minehead, inventor of the submarine telegraph, is buried in Littleham Churchyard.

Daniel Warren's Headstone

Daniel Warren’s Headstone

In July 1858 a petition to Parliament ran as follows: A Petition of Daniel Warren of Exmouth in the County of Devon, a decayed Solicitor, praying their Lordships “to recommend him to the Consideration of the Ministers of Her Majesty’s Treasury, as an Object deserving of a small Pension for the short Remainder of his Existence, for having been the first Originator and Inventor of the Submarine Telegraph,” was presented, read, and Ordered to lie on the Table. (Journals of the House of Lords, Volume 90).