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Exeter in the 1910's

1970s - 1990's

Click on a picture to enlarge - updated on 18th January 2015

Around the city in the 1980's


Looking Forward bronze A night view of the Guildhall Centre with the Looking Forward Bronze - the polished surfaces indicate that it had not been in place very long - from the 1981 guide. Also see Story of Looking Forward bronze Courtesy Exeter City Council

Exeterfrom the airAn aerial view of the city showing development in Southernhay (top middle). St Mary Major Church has been demolished and the Roman Bathhouse exposed (middle left)
- from the 1981 guide.Courtesy Exeter City Council

Clifton Hill Sports Centre The Clifton Hill Sports Centre opened in 1984 on the site of some former allotments and a brickworks. Photo 2005 David Cornforth

Exeter Market tariff boardAn interesting photo of the tariffs charged at Exeter Market, Marsh Barton in 1986.  Photo 1986 Ray Harrington


The Ship Inn Ship Inn - St Martins Lane looking towards Cathedral Close - cars were still parking at this end of the Close, by the Royal Clarence, in 1989. Photo 1989 David Cornforth

HMS Exeter's helicopterOn 29th January 1983, HMS Exeter's crew was given the Freedom of the City. The ship's helicopter landed on Cathedral Green as part of the day's celebrations.
Photo 1981 Alan H Mazonowicz

Head Weir Mill - partly demolished The partly demolished Head Weir Mill sometime before 1987. The Mill on the Exe was built on the site, to open in 1987, and become one of Exeter's favourite pubs and restaurants. Many think the Mill on the Exe was part of the mill, but the photo shows that it was almost completely demolished, requiring a mostly rebuilt Mill on the Exe. Photo Alan H Mazonowicz

Trews Weir MillTrews Weir Paper Mill before it was partly demolished in 1982 and later converted into upmarket housing. It is a desired address in Exeter and two bedroom flats on the development are currently priced (2006) at £210,000. Trews Weir was named after John Trew who raised the existing St Leonard's Weir to feed the new canal, in 1563 and also drive the wheels for the paper mill. Photo Alan H Mazonowicz

Wippell's, the ecclesiastical outfitters closed their shop in the High Street and Cathedral Yard in 1983. This was 100 years to the day after they opened.

In 1989, the City Council acquired the Custom House on the quay when HM Customs and Excise moved out.

Entertainment and leisure in the 1980's



BBC Radio Devon studioDevon Air busLocal radio hits Exeter
The BBC first opened the Radio Devon office, in a house, on St David's Hill, and started broadcasting on the 17th January 1983 from two portacabins on the site of the present studio. The commercial radio station, DevonAir started broadcasting in Exeter and Torbay on 12 December 1980 after beating Bay City Radio for the franchise. Their studios in Exeter were also on St David's Hill. Gemini Radio took over the franchise in 1994. This bus could be seen in Exeter from about 1980. Photo left Dick Passmore right David Smith

DevonAir interview Frank Bruno DevonAir car DevonAir interview Frank Bruno 1988
The radio station ran the DevonAir Motor Show at Powderham Castle in the summer of 1988. Their presenter, John Pierce, who interviewed the famous boxer at the event, has the distinction of presenting programs on both the opening day of DevonAir in December 1980 and BBC Radio Devon in January 1983. Photo John Pierce NEW Photo left shows the Renwicks sponsored DevonAir car.

The closed up ABCABC being demolishedOn the left is the sad, boarded-up ABC Cinema in October 1987 waiting for the bulldozers. It was replaced by a branch of Dillon's bookshops, now Waterstones. The photo on the right shows the half stage of demolition from the rear – the huge steel beam that held up the circle has been exposed. See ABC Cinema Photo left Clive Carmoc and right by John Waite.

Maritime MuseumThe Maritime Museum in 1988 - one of the exhibits has been deliberately sunk at the moorings to swell the timbers, making the hull watertight. Photo 1988 David Cornforth

Advert for the Northcott Taking Steps posterThe Northcott Theatre is well established by 1981. They host visiting national dance, opera and music productions. Late Saturday nights was devoted to avant-garde and foreign films. In 1986 they produced Alan Ayckbourn's, Taking Steps. See also the History of theatre in Exeter and the great fire Courtesy Northcott Theatre

150 Years of Service Parade 1986
11 MB WMV film - filmed by Jack Holman, this video shows the parade of Exeter's police, fire and ambulance service in front of Diana, Princess of Wales. Video of Diana's walkabout to appear soon.

Start of the first Exeter Marathon 1982The First Exeter Marathon 1982
The start in Cowick Street of the first Exeter Marathon, in April 1982. Flagged off by the Mayor Ivy Johns, 1,200 crossed over the Exe Bridges, before returning to finish in the County Ground, a distance of 26 miles. Eight-hundred and ninety completed the course within the time limit, including two wheel chair entrants, watched by 20,000 lining the streets. One runner had to have treatment for a gashed knee after clashing with a dog in Fore Street. Photos courtesy of Tony Lethbridge.

Runners in Alphington Road 1982Runners in Cowick Lane 1982Runners in the Exeter Marathon
Left, the runners are heading towards Alphington, along Cowick Lane, and right, they are heading down the Alphington Road before crossing over the Exe Bridge. The winner was 29 year old Gordon Seward in 2hrs 31mins 50 secs. The first woman was Miss Angela Norris in 3hrs 28mins 47secs.Arthur Sundburg was the oldest to finish at 70 years old. £20,000 was raised for the Special Baby Unit at Heavitree.

The £8 million Riverside Leisure Centre , was built in 1984 and opened by Diana, the Princess of Wales on Wednesday 2nd July 1986. The Princess pressed a button that turned on the pool area including the water flume. She also tried her hand at snooker. The Princess had lunch in the Guildhall and then watched a pageant depicting 150 years of the police service, march down the High Street.

There was a vigil outside the ABC Cinema, at Eastgate, on the night of the 9th December 1980, by fans of John Lennon. He had been murdered the previous night in New York.


Aviation in the 1980's


A new £3 million terminal and control tower at Exeter Airport was officially opened on 13th July 1981 by Sir Henry Marking.

The last four-engined Lancaster bomber was given a major overhaul at a facility at Exeter Airport, during 1988. The aircraft is now part of the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial flight.

In 1985, Jersey European Airways, make Exeter Airport its operating, engineering and administrative headquarters. The airline is now called Flybe and still has Exeter as its base.

In 1987 passenger traffic through the new terminal had grown by 40% since its opening.

Local business in the 1980's


Mols Coffee House Mols Coffee House in 1988 - I've included this because it shows the shop occupied by Nottingham and Walsh. Before this it was the Fred Keetch Gallery. It became Elands for a number of years and is now a high class gift shop. Photo 1988 Allan Platt

Harlequins Shopping CentrePaul Street bus stationPaul Street bus station was demolished in 1982 in preparation for the building of the Harlequin's Shopping Centre. The photo shows the hard standing being broken up prior to the archaeologists surveying the site.  Harlequin's was opened in 1987 on a site that once contained shops and houses until the 1920's and then the Paul Street bus station. Photo bottom Dick Passmore

Advert for the House that MovedDuring the 1980s, the House that Moved is used to promote a business that sells gem stones and fossils. At the present (2006) the premises are used for a wedding dress business.

Greenslades advert Greenslades have joined up with the National Bus Company by 1981. They offer short excursions through Devon and Cornwall for visitors who do not have their own transport.

Having fun on the River Exe - 1988


The QuayThe quay side in 1988 during an afternoon of Dragon Boat racing. This was part of a national contest run by Cathay Pacific Airways - the boats were crewed by clubs, local firms and sports teams. Photo 1988 David Cornforth

Raft Race, ExeterDragon Boat A competitor in a raft race on the Exe during the late summer of 1988. One of the Dragon Boats racing on the river - the person at the bow is beating the time. The apartments next to the boat club are being developed at this time. Photos 1988 David Cornforth

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