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Exeter in the 1990's

1980s - 2000's

Page updated on 2nd September 2015

Around Exeter in the 1990's


Lamas Fair, ExeterThe Mayors Carriage in procession down the High Street with Exeter school children for Lammas Fair. Early 1990s. Photo courtesy of Exeter City Council

Exeter University phonecardTwo clever Exeter University students 'borrowed' the famous beer logo and used it for phone cards, t-shirts, mugs and car stickers - that was one way to pay their university fees! This phonecard was issued by Exeter University - they have since become collectors items.

Roman re-enactment, Exeter 1998A re-enactment in 1998, of a Roman military camp in Northernhay Park. The City Council sponsors many such events throughout the summer. See the Timeline for more on the Romans. Photo David Cornforth

Northcott's Taming of the ShrewThe Northcott Theatre puts on a Shakespeare in the Garden production of the Taming of the Shrew in 1998. This was also in the natural bowl of Northernhay Park. Photo courtesy of the Northcott Theatre


The Redcoat bus at the Quay 1992For a few years in the early 1990s, Richard Holladay leased an open top bus, and in conjunction with the City Red Coat guides, ran tours for visitors. The photo from 1992 shows the vintage AEC Regent V at the Quay. The tours, which cost £3 for adults and £2 for children, were accompanied by a City Red Coat, who gave a commentary. The bus would depart from Central Station, go to the Quay, cross the river to Dunsford Cross and return via the University. See this video from the first day of operation. Photo Richard Holladay

Danes CastleSouth West Water removed most of the old Victorian reservoir at Danes Castle off Howell Road in 1993. The exposed siege castle was excavated by archeologists and preserved as an ancient monument. Photo 2005 David Cornforth

The cover for the disc, 'Night of a Thousand Dreams'.'Night of a Thousand Dreams' disc.NEW Johnny Ramone (local singer and BBC Radio Devon DJ, not the punk rocker) and his group, Johnny and the Strollers released 'City of a Thousand Dreams' and 'The Best is Yet to Come' in the early 1990s. Both penned by John and June Greenslade, the former was all about Exeter. A record - what's that! Anyone out there have a copy?

The first Mini Bus timetable 1992.NEW The 1992 timetable for Exeter's minibus service. First introduced to the Pinhoe to St Thomas service they commenced operations on the 27th February 1984 at 5 minute intervals in daytime, 10/15 minute in the evenings and Sundays; within 3 weeks the service was leaving people behind.

The foundations for the Blitz Fountain.Foam in the Blitz Fountain.NEW The Exeter Phoenix Blitz Fountain at Princesshay. The memorial was for the blitz of Exeter, in April and May 1942. The fountain was created by Roger Dean using fibreglass, and unveiled on the 50th anniversary in 1992. The photo left shows the foundations of the fountain during construction. The piece became a target for bottles of detergent, causing a mountain of foam to swell up and flow across the pavement. Photos Express & Echo

A steam visitor at Central Station.A steam visitor at Central Station.NEW This BR West Country class steam locomotive 34027 “Taw Valley" (left) at Exeter Central, on a special visit with BR Standard Class 4 75069 (right) in August 1992. "Taw Valley' went to the Woodham Brothers scrap yard, Barry Island, South Wales in 1976, and was saved for preservation. 75069 also went to Barry from 1967 to March 1973 before it was hauled to the Severn Valley Railway and then to Bridgnorth for restoration in 1974. Photos August 1992 David Cornforth

On 1st May 1997, Ben Bradshaw was elected MP in the General Election - he was the first Labour MP for the city since Gwyneth Dunwoody, 1967/70.

In 1996, Exeter City Council bought St James' Park back from Beazer Homes. Exeter City Football Club then entered an agreement to lease back their ground which they had been forced to sell for redevelopment because of financial problems.

The Exeter Maritime Museum finally closed, due to escalating debt in 1997.

In 1996, the first Internet Cafe in the south-west opened at Central Station

Train in Holloway StreetThis unusual load was hauled along Holloway Street towards Topsham on the 8th January 1992. The load was Ramilles, No 50019 Class 50 after being saved from the scrap yard. Now relocated at the Mid Norfolk Railway. Reproduced by permission of the Exeter Postcard Society

Northernhay Gardens Mediaeval FairA summer medieval festival in Northernhay Park during 1998. Advantage was taken of the natural bowl shape to demonstrate archery and sword fights. Photo David Cornforth


In 1991 Vincent Thompson High School was renamed St Lukes High School to reflect the roots of the school's foundation by St Luke's College. Also see St Luke's High School.

In August 1994, the pub chain, Wetherspoons purchased the Imperial Hotel. They spent £1.5 million on the refurbishment and opened to the public on 14th March 1996.

Picture House, ExeterThe Picture House in Bartholomew Street opened on 11th October 1996 with a showing of Thomas Hardy's Jude. The director Michael Winterbottom attended the showing. Photo David Cornforth

Tinley's at BroadgateIn 1990 Tinley's Teashop closed after 60 years of trading and the premises were taken over by Pizza Express. Parts of the building at Broadgate are 16th-century. The full history is given at Tinley's Teashop

Exeter from a hot-air balloon in 1994


Exeter from the airExeter from a hot-air balloon in 1994 - the Cathedral is on the right and the University on the left. The County Ground, St Thomas is centre left. Taken from over Alphington Photo David Cornforth

The Double Locks from the airThe Double Locks Hotel by the canal taken from the air in 1994. The River Exe is beyond. Marsh Barton is below. Photo David Cornforth

The view towards ExmouthThe view down the Exe Estuary towards Countess Wear and Topsham. The Double Locks pub is in the bottom left; the canal is not as straight as many would imagine. Photo David Cornforth

SowtonSowton Industrial Estate with the M5 motorway to the right, and Kestrel Way to the left. There has been further expansion since the photo was taken, with the Met Office north of the A30, and the junction with the new A30 and M5 completed in 1998. Photo David Cornforth

Alphington Cricket Ground from the airAlphington Cricket Pitch from the air in 1994. There is a game being played. The Alphingbrook crosses along the bottom and the Alphington Road runs across the top. Photo David Cornforth

The Tesco Store at Digby is being built in 1994The Tesco's Superstore was in the process of being constructed in 1994. The car park is visible on the left and the main building is almost complete. The service roads look as though they still have some work to be done. Photo David Cornforth

The Exeter bypass with Pynes Hill on the leftA view from above Rydon Lane, the A3015 looking towards the expanding Pynes Hill, home of South West Water. The turn on the extreme right of the photo leads towards the yet to be completed Rydon Lane Retail Park that contains Tesco and PC World among others. Photo David Cornforth

A quarry at Sandy Park, SowtonA quarry at the end of Apple Lane, Sowton from the air - normally hidden from view to the passing motorist, the size of the activity is clearly visible. The quarry is still working. Photo David Cornforth

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