Musuem’s archive alphabet records local memories

View of Lower Union Street, Torquay

View of Lower Union Street, Torquay - Credit: Archant

When Torbay Museum posted the letter U images onto Facebook back in August they received an extraordinary number of views - around 40,000 - and prompted some very interesting memories from the local community.

The museum is recording these memories that are often not found in local history books.

For a change, museum staff thought they would share some of these comments and reminiscences with Torbay Weekly readers.

The first letter U stands for Union Street located in the heart of Torquay.

These two photographs are from the 1960s. We asked people if they preferred the current state of the street or the way it looked 60 years ago?

Jill commented: “Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could have a combination of the two? Retain the charm and diversity of the old town, but without the traffic? Union Street at the moment is looking soulless and holds little appeal for locals and visitors alike. It deserves better.”

While Carol recalled: “Look at all those lovely old shops that aren’t there now. Hodges, Hepworths, Dolcis and there were many more back then. We could buy anything we wanted.”

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Of the view of Lower Union Street. Carol also recalled: “Yes, I remember Mogridges on the left and Frank Hastie gents’ outfitters on the right. Both were flooded badly back then and I saw bales of beautiful fabric bobbing about on the dirty water in Mogridges’ basement. Frank Hastie laundered quite a lot of shirts etc. and re-sold them cheaply.”

The second letter U stands for Upton, a part of Torquay that is very poorly represented in the museum archive.

“When I was a young boy, we lived in Upton Road, adjacent to the park. We played football here and it was always known as ‘The Canteen’. This would have been the early 1960s. I don’t think many people will use that term now, 76 years after its use by the US Army,” recalled Christopher.

Of the view of Lymington and Teignmouth Roads, Amie said: “Wow, must be just before my parents’ house was built along Daison Cottages as some are built but not all.”

Victoria added: “The wall behind Penny’s is still there and now runs past ATS, I’ve often thought it looks old when I’ve walked past it, shame it always full of weeds and rubbish!”

If you would like to access all the images from our archive alphabet Torquay Museum now has a dedicated page on its website. Just visit and under ‘explore’, you will find the pictorial records collection and the A-Z images. If you would like to purchase a print just follow the instructions on screen.