Page updated 21st March 2014
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The second of several pages for the different areas of Exeter. If you have a photo of a place, event or people in St Thomas, that would be suitable for inclusion on the page, or know more about one of the photographs, please Contact me.
In October 1914, a Canadian Motor Transport detachment of motorised machine-guns and supply column passed up Alphington Street and Cowick Street, watched by a large crowd. They camped at Fairfield in Okehampton Road for the night before driving over the Exe Bridge and up Fore Street, and proceeding to their destination. Photo courtesy the Westcountry Studies Library.
The Coronation of King George VI in May 1937 was a time for celebrations in many streets across the land. The people of St Thomas turned out in their droves, placed tables and benches in the streets and laid on a tea for the children and a drink for the adults. I'm not certain where this photo was taken, apart from St Thomas. Photo John Garnsworthy.
Before the Gateway Shopping Centre (now Somerfield) was built in Cowick Street, a large rectangular area from the shop fronts to the rope walk was owned by French's Mill and Seed Merchants. The large building in this photo was the cubing mill, and behind is Wippell's in Buller Road. The mill was sited just where the row of shops is now situated at the rear of the car park. Photo Murray French.
St Thomas railway bridge before Cowick Street was widened and a pedestrian arch made parallel to the road arch. Circa 1955. The small hut like shop to the right of the arch was Paddy Lawler's Emporium. Paddy would have all sorts of junk for sale. For many years he had a large stuffed bear that would be put out the front, often wearing a corset or pair of bloomers, or similar, of which he had managed to find a plentiful supply, for sale. At night, the bear, being too large to go in the shop was put around the back and covered with a tarpaulin. Many a young police constable was given a scare by a senior colleague, by being asked to investigate the rear of the building on a dark night. See Willie the Transport Manager. Photo Express and Echo and memories of Peter Hinchliffe.
This is the only photo I have of the Turks Head, which was on the north side of Cowick Street. It is now the entrance road into St Thomas precinct, with the General Buller, just behind. Other pubs in this view are the Moreton Arms and the Railway Inn.
The north side of Cowick Street by the railway viaduct. The Railway Inn was just behind the lamp post – it was a City Brewery house that was closed in 1939, and demolished after the war. The National Westminster Bank is now on this site.
The new road layout for the twin Exe Bridges included widening Cowick and Alphington Street. They started on the northern side of Cowick Street, leaving the King's Arms in situ, as it had been rebuilt a few years before, a few yards behind the old building line. In this photo, all the shops and tenements on that side, including Swan Yard have been bulldozed before the road is widened. Photo Express and Echo.
Cowick Street became a famous land mark when the Monty Python team decided to film part of a sketch in the street. Entitled 'Up you street' it featured two tramps who find a bottle of champaign and two glasses in a rubbish bin. See Up Your Street
St Thomas Station was the headquarters of the South Devon Railway, and as such, it had to have a building to suit its status. There was a grand entrance at street level while it was fully enclosed at the platform.
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