EAW005853 ENGLAND (1947). The city centre, Exeter, 1947

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Details

Title [EAW005853] The city centre, Exeter, 1947
Reference EAW005853
Date 18-May-1947
Link
Place name EXETER
Parish
District
Country ENGLAND
Easting / Northing 292126, 92666
Longitude / Latitude -3.5284337268599, 50.723018862416
National Grid Reference SX921927

Pins

The Royal Clarence Hotel - the first building in England to have been called an "Hotel". Having survived the bombs of WW2, it suffered very severe damage by fire on the 28th/29th of October, 2016, alas.

John W
Sunday 30th of October 2016 04:45:20 PM
The burnt out St Catherine's Chapel and alms-houses. Amazingly the bell tower remains intact unless it was repaired after the bombing and prior to this 1947 photo. Also the chapel as it is today with the bell tower prominent.

Allen T
Wednesday 3rd of September 2014 05:53:51 PM

Allen T
Wednesday 3rd of September 2014 05:44:39 PM
On the night of 3-4 May 1942 a bomb fell on the Chapel of St James in the south choir aisle of the cathedral, causing some damage to the late 13th-century fabric. Windows have been blown out but scaffolding has been erected to prevent any further collapse. Photographed in May 1942 by Margaret Tomlinson.

Allen T
Wednesday 3rd of September 2014 05:37:15 PM
The Roborough Library (1940) - still there now, used for Drama studios

Jon Primrose
Tuesday 6th of May 2014 08:55:04 PM
The bottom bus park. In the 1950's the green Exeter Corporation (City) buses operated out of here and the red Devon General buses took over the top bus station.

Allen T
Monday 11th of November 2013 09:54:03 PM
An amazing photo of all that was left of Bedford Circus - just the façade of a few buildings. The Exeter City Council have had a lot of criticism over the years for not saving and rebuilding the Circus but it's difficult to see what could have been done to reinstate these buildings. Photo English Heritage.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:58:28 PM
This is information is wrong. The photograph does not show Bedford Circus. It shows the facade of a terrace in nearby Southernhay West. At least a third of Bedford Circus was left entirely intact. Part was destroyed and the rest was gutted by fire. It could easily have been reinstated. The same goes for the terraces in Southernhay West. The facade shown standing in the photograph simply needed supporting before being tied into a new construction at the rear. It was hardly rocket science. Please don't merely repeat mis-information.

wolfpaw
Sunday 26th of January 2014 11:26:13 PM
The Norman Gatehouse at the entrance to Rougemont Castle with the Exeter Courts in the background.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:47:37 PM
For over twenty years this end wall was supported by two huge angled timber supports. Then a semi circular building housing a jewellers was added in a pastiche Georgian style which in my opinion finishes off this Georgian terrace superbly.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:29:46 PM
Dellers burnt out structure reduced to a base for safety reasons.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:10:19 PM
Provincial Bank formerly the Exeter Bank owned by the Baring brothers.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:02:56 PM
This bomb site had an Ovaltine advert on it for years.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:00:54 PM
Nat West Bank.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 08:58:42 PM
Tinley's Restaurant

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 08:57:35 PM
Underwood Business Machines office where my father worked.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 08:56:14 PM
The private coach park and possibly a Royal Blue charabanc.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 08:54:33 PM
Almost certainly part of the Roman city wall which was demolished to make way for Eastgate shopping centre.

Allen T
Thursday 7th of November 2013 03:00:16 PM

Maurice
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 06:29:40 PM
The Iron Bridge

Maurice
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 06:27:26 PM
Completed in 1836 at a cost of some £10,000 to ease the passage of carts up the steep sided Longbrook Valley the 800 ft bridge has six, 40ft arches and a 26 ft roadway that created a wide and flat access across the valley from St David's to the city. Each arch has six iron ribs which are cast in two pieces. The Iron Bridge adjoins the site of the old North Gate removed in 1769.



Many considered the bridge unnecessary and others considered its manufacture out of cast iron to be old fashioned at a time when Brunel was working on his Clifton Suspension Bridge. However it was decided to have a cast iron structure.



With thanks to Exeter Memories.

Allen T
Thursday 7th of November 2013 03:48:52 PM
Entrance to St Davids Tunnel

Maurice
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 06:27:04 PM
St Davids Station

Maurice
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 06:25:43 PM
It's just possible to see the line of the city wall. Today all the trees have been removed and the wall is easy to follow.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 05:13:29 PM
Now the Southgate Hotel.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 05:11:39 PM
The fledgling Exeter University now hugely expanded with a worldwide reputation.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 05:01:23 PM
Prisoners walking in the exercise circles in the exercise yard.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:54:39 PM

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:53:37 PM
Exeter Library which during the war was a command centre. It was bombed and over a million books and manuscripts went up in smoke. The fire damage to the roof is still visible in this photo.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:51:26 PM
Exeter Courts building housing the Crown and County Courts.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:48:39 PM
Cars belonging to the Savoy cinema patrons just across the road?

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:47:12 PM
Signs like these were put up by businesses on the site of their trading premises.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:27:47 PM
Late morning Sunday May 18th and no commercial activity but still quite a few people walking as the Sunday bus timetable means only a couple of buses to be seen.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:22:42 PM
On reflection I think this photo could have been taken in the early to mid afternoon and the cars parked outside the Savoy cinema probably belong to the cinema goers.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:46:21 PM
Bushes and nature beginning to take over the Georgian Bedford Circus.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:14:45 PM
Southernhay West still the main area for professional firms such as accountants, solicitors and surveyors as it has been for 250 years.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 04:11:17 PM
Exeter Fire Station.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 10:00:16 PM
Hele's School.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:58:29 PM
This later became the Exeter Technical School and then the Exeter Technical College.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 05:04:53 PM

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:57:26 PM

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:56:10 PM
Paul Street Bus Station full of Exeter Corporation green and cream buses. The lower bus station was for coaches.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:49:31 PM
Paul Street Chapel where nuns operated childcare for working mothers.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:46:49 PM
Central Station.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:44:22 PM
A temporary nissan hut.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:43:42 PM
In 1947 this was the main telephone exchange.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:42:16 PM
Now a small car park. This terrace of offices was never extended only a small single storey extension was added.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:40:52 PM
Bradninch Hall.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:38:24 PM
Northernhay Gardens.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:37:23 PM
Garages and workshops backing onto the old city wall.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:35:55 PM
Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

Allen T
Tuesday 5th of November 2013 09:34:18 PM
Opened on the 1st January 1743 as the Devon and Exeter Hospital it acquired its "Royal" in 1899 after the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York.

Allen T
Wednesday 6th of November 2013 05:10:17 PM
Southernhay East burnt out buildings that were rebuilt. Probably damaged by incendiaries.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:26:00 PM
Southernhay House. A merchants house still standing. What a lovely rear lawn. now backed onto by modern solicitors and accountants offices.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:24:45 PM
Reid and Lee Vauxhall garage.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:20:56 PM
What must the psychological effect been on the residents as they came to terms with their historical medieval city reduced to this in a couple of bombing raids.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:19:51 PM
After consulting the superb Exeter Memories site I see that there were in fact nineteen raids of one degree or another on Exeter and 265 people were killed and 111 seriously injured while 677 were injured to a lesser extent.



One of those killed in May 1942 was my mother's younger brother Douglas Holden, aged seven, trapped in their burning home in Summerland Street. He died of his burns three days later.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 07:45:31 PM
A pre-war bustling High Street reduced to a bleak landscape with virtually no commercial activity at all. It would be ten years before this part of Exeter became commercially vibrant again.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:18:00 PM
There was good money to be earned by demolition firms and those that carted off the rubble. Then a few years later the builders moved in. As can be seen the priority had been to open up the roads, pavements and thoroughfares. Hardly any rubble to be seen five years after the bombing and just two years after the war.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:15:41 PM
Five years of undergrowth and the land returns to nature.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:12:50 PM
The luck of the draw! This part of Southernhay West was flattened whereas the other side of Southernhay West was virtually untouched.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:11:22 PM
The Theatre Royal.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:09:54 PM
The site of the Hippodrome now Boots the Chemist.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:09:29 PM
This part of the High Street which ultimately included Marks and Spencer wasn't completed until the mid 1950's.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:08:38 PM
City Roman wall most of which still survives today.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:06:24 PM
St Mary Major Church.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:05:19 PM
Site of Dellers Restaurant.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 05:03:55 PM
The Savoy (ABC) cinema which narrowly survived the destruction of the nearby Hippodrome. The Hippodrome was a sad historic loss as great music hall acts such as Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel all appeared here for Exeter impresario Fred Karno.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 04:39:02 PM
Built on the site of the New London Inn, the art deco style Savoy was the most technologically up to date cinema at that time when completed in 1936.

Allen T
Wednesday 3rd of September 2014 04:28:36 PM
Lloyds Bank, about the only building left standing in that part of High Street.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 04:32:28 PM
Burnt and blackened trees! All that remains of the Georgian Bedford Circus. There is an argument that Bedford Circus could and should have been saved by the city council but there is no doubt that the prevailing view in most bomb damaged towns after the war was to clear away the old and replace with what we now regard as bland soul-less modernity. It should also be remembered that after five years of rubble and destruction Exonians just wanted to get back to a relatively normal life with shops etc.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 04:28:42 PM
Stunning photo of Exeter city centre after the bomb damaged rubble had been cleared away. What is astonishing is how close the cathedral came to destruction from the stick of bombs that destroyed Bedford Circus and much of the city centre. As I recall the cathedral had minor bomb damage.

Allen T
Monday 4th of November 2013 04:15:01 PM
I agree that we were very lucky that the Cathedral survived, but not sure I'd describe this as 'minor bomb damage'. http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_story/story_134.php



It has been suggested that if one more flying butress had been damaged their would have been a major collapse of the central roof.

Kate Burhouse
Sunday 4th of May 2014 12:27:54 PM

User Comment Contributions

The modern Georgian style end terrace jewellers shop which compliments the original terrace.



Thanks to Exeter Memories.

Allen T
Friday 8th of November 2013 09:37:51 PM
A sad thought to go with this picture is the graves of those killed in the air raids, all standing together in regimented rows at the city cemetery. Some of those killed were never identified. There also graves of German airmen shot down over the city nearby

Charles Dale
Thursday 7th of November 2013 03:05:21 PM
My mother's brother who was killed in the blitz aged only seven is buried in Higher Cemetery just a couple of rows away from the graves of German airmen shot down during the bombing. Understandably this was difficult for people who experienced the bombing to accept.

Allen T
Thursday 7th of November 2013 03:05:21 PM