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St Leonard's Road

Streets List

In 1570, Lawrence Radford built a house at the end of what would become St Leonards Road, probably on the Mount Radford Lawn, playing field. He named the house Radford Place (House). John Baring purchased the house in 1770 and substantially rebuilt it in a Georgian style - the entrance drive approached from the north-east along the line of the modern St Leonards Road.

In the early 19th Century, this part of St Leonards saw a building boom. Piped water arrived in 1833, a year after the cholera outbreak, and gas in 1836. A burgeoning middle class of retired army officers, admirals and civil servants moved into the pleasant, leafy suburb of Exeter. There were already a few houses built by the Barings and more houses were added. Part of the road crossed the grounds of Grove House, on its way to Radford House.

A prominent house in St Leonard's Road was no 52 (in 1897, no 56 now), which was the Mount Radford School that ran between 1868 and 1968. Its last headmaster was Theodore Ernest Vine MA who leant his name to Vine Close, off Radford Road. The school advertised that it was 'assisted by efficient staff and masters', which conjures up incongruous thoughts of the young Tommy Cooper, who attended the school!

The southern end of St Leonards Road terminated at Mount Radford Lawn, the site of Radford House. The house was demolished in 1902 and Barnardos Road built. A few houses were lost in the bombing of the Second World War, and more modern structures built in the gaps as replacements. The corner house of St Leonards Place and St Leonards Road was during the 1950's and 60s listed as a transmission depot for the BBC, and was also, according to one source, a small BBC radio studio.

In 1897, 15 out of 48 households had women as the head - either spinsters or widows. There are two reverends, a head teacher, the head of the School of Art, and two commercial travellers. Here is a list of households in 1897:

St. Leonard's road, Magdalen road.
EAST SIDE.
Fire alarm
1 Dymond Mrs - widow of John Dymond the Exeter historian
3 SteeleThs.Barton, com.trav
5 Petherick John William, sen
7 Gregory Colonel George
9 Waterfield Misses
11 Irish James
13 Crawford Henry
15 Cardew Misses
17 Warren George Hobson
19 Michelmore Hy. William
21 Templeton James
23 Stanford Mrs. Charles
.....here is Premier pl
25 Taylor Mrs
27 Peppin Mrs
.......here is Wonford rd
29 Thomas John
31 Bastard Stafford
33 Grose Misses
35 Holt John
Barnes Mrs. (The Grove)
CLAREMONT :
2 Birkett Ernest Wilkinson
3 Strong Col. Thos. Edmund

WEST SIDE.
4 Roberts John
6 Hamlin Walter Henry
8 Slessor Charles
10 Hamlin Hubert Palmer Osborne
14 Gray Miss
16 Wills George, com. trav
18 Holden John Henry
20 Geare Rev. Edward M.A
22 Wilson Edward
24 Westron Misses
26 Birkmyer James B.
(head master of School of Art)
28 Warren William Hugh
30 Mortimer Thos. Sandford
32 Matthews William
34 Hucklebridge Miss
34 Eames Miss
.....here is Wonford rd
36 Hitchins Edward Lytton
38 Bennett John George
40 Heath James
41 Shopland Mrs
42 Sharp Frank Conway
43 Tait Charles James
44 Daw Miss
45 Townsend William
48 Brenton Rev. Henry Wheeler B.A.
(The Hollies)
Hucklebridge John Eames
(Albuera)
52 Vine Edwin Hy. boys' schl - headmaster of Mt Radford School
54 Clapp Cecil Robert Mainwaring
M.A., LL.M
56 Bluett Miss

Two well known people who have lived in St Leonards Road are Juliet Morris, ex-presenter of Spotlight on TV and radio and TV presenter, and Dominic Wood of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. In a few years, no one will have heard of them!

Source: Various sources including St Leonards by Hazel Harvey and Express & Echo

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