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Heavitree - photos of an area

Page updated 20th July 2015

I would welcome photographs for this page of people, places and events of Heavitree during the last 150 years – if you have a photo, with or without an interesting story, contact me here.

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North Street, HeavitreeA view down North Street from Fore Street, with the old street lamp installed by Councillor Nethercott in May 1912, in the middle of the road. It was a gas light, designed to be self-lighting, and timed to come on at 9pm. The unveiling was attended by a crowd of several hundred, when, after Councillor Nethercott drew back the covering, the National Anthem was sung, accompanied by a single cornet. Until the 1960s, there was a subterranean gents lavatory immediately behind the lamp, and behind that, a blue police box. The building to the left (the Indian restaurant) was a hairdressers, and then a Crown Post Office. Photo Express & Echo.

Fore Street at nightFore Street, Heavitree, looking towards the city in the 1930s. Partridge's, the newsagent at 60 Fore Street is on the right. In the distance can be seen the United Reform Church.

The Mote Garage, Fore StreetThe Mote Lodge Filling Station, Heavitree - 1920s
1923 Harry Edmunds Courtenay filling station
1939 George William Blanchon motor engineer
1956 Arthur Lionel Underhill filling station.
1967 The Mote Service Station under J S S James
1973 The Mote Service Station
2009 Tesco Filling Station.

Thorn Garage, Fore StreetThorn's Garage, Heavitree 1950s
Thorn's Garage started as a china, ironmonger and cycle agent in the first war. By 1956, John Thorn and Sons were an ironmongers, radio and television engineers and motor engineers, with five Shell pumps between the shop and Fore Street, Heavitree. The 1967 Kelly's indicates that Thorn's have become Lloyd's Bank. In the 1940s and 50s many people had radios powered by accumulators - they were a glass container, 6 inches square, 9 inches tall, with a carrying handle. Thorn's was a charging point for the batteries costing 4d for a weeks charge and small boys would collect the batteries for their neighbours for a small fee. The white building to the right of Thorns was the old Heavitree School. Photo courtesy of Den Perrin.

Fore Street, HeavitreeForming part of the route out of Exeter towards Honiton and London, Fore Street, Heavitree was always the centre of the area. There were, and still are, three public houses serving the many travellers on the road. The tram route into Exeter ran along Fore Street.

Tram passing the Horse and GroomA tram passes the Horse and Groom public house in Fore Street. The public house that is now named the Heavitree, was run for several years by the Exeter City and England footballer, Cliff Bastin.

Ambulance car at the City Hospital A view down Church Street towards Church Lane. Sivell Place is about two thirds down, on the left. Heavitree Brewery had its brewing plant in Church Street, on the site of the present Maltings retirement apartments. The shop on the left has recently participated in a scheme to redecorate the front in an 'old Heavitree' style – the owners are to be congratulated on a superb renovation. The Conservative and Unionist Club are a prominent occupier in Church Street, while Richard Ford's Heavitree House once graced a site opposite the church, but was demolished for a housing estate after the war.

A Heavitree Brewery truckThe Royal Oak, the only building to survive with a thatched roof in Heavitree, was first listed in a directory in 1844 as the Royal Oak Tavern. It was badly bomb damaged in the blitz and rebuilt after the war. The original Royal Oak moved from further up Fore Street to this site in the 1820s.

Ambulance car at the City HospitalA Heavitree destined tram allows two passengers to alight in Heavitree Road, near the Polsloe Road junction. The original horse tram ran from Eastgate along Heavitree Road. The electric tram track terminated at Crosspark Terrace.

A Heavitree Brewery truckA newly completed Heavitree Brewery delivery lorry would have been a common site in and around the city before the brewery, in Church Street, closed in 1970. Courtesy of John Hill.

Heavitree Cricket TeamThe Heavitree Cricket Club with their trophies in the 1930s. Before the Second War, Heavitree Cricket Club had its pitch in the grounds of Wonford House in Barrack Road, on an area now filled by the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. They were Division One Shield winners 1924, runners-up 1931; Premier Division winners 1936, 1937, joint holders 1933, runners-up 1935; Devon County Cup winners 1927, 1932, 1938, joint holders 1930 and 1939. Photo and stats courtesy of Phil Hoare.

Exeter Carnival cart by HeavitreeExeter once had a Carnival and the annual Cart Horse Parade. The caption for this postcard indicates that this is Heavitree's entry for Exeter Carnival in 1905. Entitled 'How Buller Won the VC', it has a tableaux on the cart of General Sir Redvers Buller and his horse during the Zulu Wars in South Africa. Just two weeks before the Carnival, on the 6th September 1905, the large, equestrian statue of the General had been unveiled at the junction of Hele and New North Road.

Heavitree ChurchSt Michaels Church, Heavitree is a mostly Victorian rebuild of an much older church dating from as early as 1152. The postcard shows the churchyard about a hundred years ago, before the grassed area in the foreground was filled with graves. The photo was probably taken from the edge of Church Lane. The opposite site of the lane, which is the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, was open fields then. An altogether, more rural area than today.

Heavitree BridgeFlooding at Heavitree  BridgeIt is difficult to believe that this small country bridge (right) is now the staggered junction of Rifford Road, East Wonford Hill, Sweetbrier Lane and Honiton Road, along with the painted yellow boxes and multiple traffic lights. It was an area (left) prone to flooding due to the Northbrook. It rises near Little Gratnor field, Stoke Hill, flows down the valley through Polsloe as the Mincinglake Brook or Whipton Brook, and was locally known as 'The Panny'. The lower length has been known as the Wonford Brook or Wonbroke and Northbrook. It flowed under the bridge and across the Topsham Road on its way to the Exe. The bridge disappeared when the road between the bridge and Gallows Corner was widened in August 1932.

Midway TerraceThe houses of Midway Terrace in Heavitree Road, are similar to, and were developed at the same time as Baring Crescent and Baring Place in the 1820s. The ten houses, in pairs, were constructed by William Hooper who was responsible for much development of the old Baring estate of Heavitree and St Leonards. He lived in No 138, Midway Terrace, where he died in 1831.

Mont le GrandMont le Grand off Polsloe Road is considered by some to be the most attractive group of houses in Heavitree. Constructed in 1840/1 in the Regency style (Exeter always took a while to catch up with the latest fashion). The name dates from 1837, when Hill House (now Selsdon House) in Polsloe Road was described as Mont-le-Grand. The houses were occupied by the well off army officers clergy and professional me who had need of a house large enough for several children and servants.

Crosspark Terrace from the westStafford Terrace is just before Crosspark Terrace as you drive out of the city. The small lane immediately left leads to Roseland Avenue, while the left, part way down is Whipton Lane. The houses would have become desirable residences when the tram reached the terrace. Drews Almshouse is out of frame, to the right.

Crosspark Terrace from the eastThe monkey puzzle tree in the garden of one of the houses of Crosspark Terrace can be plainly seen in this Edwardian postcard. A similar tree is flourishing today. It is sobering to think that there were four casualties from the terrace during the First World War – Lance Corporal Leslie Vincent Castle aged 23 and Private, William Ernest Chapman, aged 19, Sapper, Martin de Thierry, aged 27 and Lance Corporal, Lionel Laver, aged 23.

St Lukes after it was bombedThe bombing of 1942 badly damaged much of St Lukes College, and the attached St Luke's School. This photo was taken in 1950, indicating the slow progress of repairs to the college. Photo Maurice Swansborough.

Blessed Sacrament ChurchThe Church of the Blessed Sacrament was constructed on land that had been the site of a house named Heavitree House, that pre-dated Richard Ford's Heavitree House in Church Street. The land was purchased in 1930 and the church constructed in 1935. The photo shows the church before the blitz – the tower was badly damaged by a bomb and the top part of the tower had to be demolished, leaving the modern church with a truncated tower. It contains a single bell of four tons, which at the time, was the second heaviest in Devon.

Party in the ParkThe centenary of Heavitree Park bannerDuring August 2006, Heavitree celebrated the centenary of the creation of the Heavitree Pleasure Gardens. The event was marked with the unveiling of a centenary obelisk by the Lord Mayor, Peter Wadham, assisted by David Morrish. These banners appeared along Fore Street to publicise the Party in the Park on August Bank Holiday Monday. Photos David Cornforth.

Work for installing the archThe Arch at nightThe white elephant and small dog graffiti (right) appeared on the end wall of the gun-shop in Fore Street during 2008 as a protest against the placing of the Voice of Heavitree Arch (left) next to the side of the shop. Here, workmen are laying new, decorative bricks at the entrance to Gordon's Place, in preparation for the installation of the work. Photo left - Exeter City Council, right - David Cornforth.

Sources - Discovering Exeter - Heavitree by Trevor Falla, various trade directories, Phil Hoare and other articles on this site.

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