Capture Burnham is a local history initiative by North Sedgemoor Local History Group in association with  Somerset Film. It has been funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Burnham & Highbridge Town Council. We hope it will stimulate your interest in Burnham’s history and encourage you to visit, follow the heritage trail and maybe even contribute to the site through the comments and gallery functions or by becoming a contributor. Capture Burnham is by no means comprehensive, it is intended to be an archive, which grows over time capturing the changing town and landscape around us. The initial content has been researched and written by a large number of local people following nominations from the public. Many of the pictures on the site have been given by members of the public and are used in good faith, and we are not aware of any copyright infringement. If there is, please inform us and any necessary correction will be made.

John Strickland | Chair North Sedgemoor Local History Group


Many images on this site appear courtesy of the Glyn Luxon Collection & others, not always recorded, who kindly donated them to John Strickland. Major contributors include Ann Popham and Bob & June Thomas. Some images are individually credited.

Information and images from ‘The Book of Burnham on Sea’ by Winston & Robert Thomas appear by kind permission of Bob & June Thomas.

The advertisements which appear are  taken from Mate’s Illustrated Burnham 1903; Patey’s Almanac 1949; Burnham Official Guides, the Burnham Gazette and other local or regional newspapers. Thanks to Alan Wheway for use of these guides and also  much of the newspaper, census & genealogical research.

Many of the extracts from the Burnham & Highbridge Weekly news are from a collection gathered by Royston Broome.

A list of NSLHG events can be found here

A more comprehensive list of sources can be found here.


This short film from the Norman Gobey collection, filmed on 9.5mm in 1937 shows the town decorated to mark the coronation and the events organised to mark the occasion.

76 thoughts on “About”

  1. Good afternoon. I’ve currently taking over one of the activity coordinators role at Kathleen chambers care home on Berrow Road and would love to arrange a activity with a local Burnham on sea historian. Please can you let me know a little more and would a monetary cost be involved.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    1. Hello Laura,

      I am John Strickland and have given talks at Kathleen Chambers home in the past. Please contact me with some dates and times in January or February and also how long you would like me to talk for.

      1. hello there

        I’m so very sorry I have not been in contact until now I completely missed your reply.

        I was just wondering if you still had any availability this month to come and visit us at Kathleen chambers

    2. Hello Laura,

      There is no charge for me helping you this time. Please let me know how long you would like me to be with you and which days suite you but I am not available on a Tuesday afternoon. If you suggest some days I will then correspond via my personnel email. One audio recording I have is from BBC Somerset’s broadcast of the story of the Berrow Wreck and the arrival of the vessel on 3rd March 1897. It is audio only but I could give an introduction of how ,with a couple of my history colleagues, we researched this project and then run the broadcast which is approx. 1 hour.
      What do you think ?

      1. hello would either Thursday 22nd Feb or the following Thursday 29th Feb be a suitable day in the afternoon anytime between 2pm and 4pm .

          1. that will be fantastic thankyou so much. I will try my best to keep looking on here for any correspondence as its not coming through on my works email .

            I will see you next Thursday afternoon would 2pm be ok

          2. Hello Laura yes I will arrive for 2 pm and bring my radio recording if the group decides to hear this. If not I can talk about our local history and what our research has discovered. Do you have a CD player ? if not I can bring mine.


  2. Hi John. Ben McGrail here from ITV West Country – I’ve been trying to track down a contact number for you but I’m struggling! Would you mind sending me an email please so I can give you a call? Many thanks!

    1. Hello Ben,

      You should have my email and contact number in your in box now.
      Thanks for getting in touch,

  3. Hi John,
    I am, as ever, compiling events, but do not see your upcoming lecture subjects in your website. Even if you have to leave a caviet that items are subject to change etc., I would like to know of future events. June calendar about to print. Colin.

    01278 789 032 + voicemail

    1. Hello Colin,

      We have a break from meetings in July and August but reconvene in September for our A.G.M. when the forth coming programe of talks is given. ( June’s topic is given under the News feature for May).
      Thanks for your interest and in sharing our topics.

  4. Hello,

    I am an artist researching the history of Burnham-on-Sea for a mosaic mural proposal, as a potential continuation of the recently unveiled mosaics on the seafront. There is so much history to be inspired by! I would love to have a conversation about which aspects might be best to illustrate and could be most representative of the overall story of the town, I have some ideas but could do with some guidance.

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Hello Svetlana and thank you for contacting us.
      I am keen to be of help with this and I will contact you again via your email /web address.
      I will need a valid email or mobile number to contact you. Your website contact email given is not functioning.
      If you send another comment with your details I can get these without posting for public display.

      1. Hi John

        Sorting through my late mother’s personal effects, I have found a plan of proposed changes to Burnham pavillion dated April 1963. My father worked for Burnham Urban District Council at the time and apparently made a model of the proposed new structure. I wondered if you might be interested in it?

        1. Hello Susan,
          I would love to see this please. Do you need my personal email details for making contact ?
          Thanks for thinking on us,

  5. Hi, I’m trying to find out some historical background to Berrow Manor. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kate,
      Thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately neither John Strickland nor I have any information about Berrow Manor, however John is making enquiries of other contacts and we will let you know should anything come up. Have you tried the Somerset Heritage Centre at Taunton?

  6. Hi John, I lost a good friend Keith Greener Todd ( died digging in sand dunes at Berrow 1955 ) he was just13 yrs old, his parents Jean and Wilson Todd had only lived here for a few months, then moved away (to where I wish I knew ! ) his father was a wing commander in the royal air force stationed at Germany at that time, I would love to find out where any of his family is now in the hope I could tell them about Keith. I have a big story to tell if anyone interested.
    Mike Gardner

    1. I would have been six in 1955 and although I didn’t know Keith I remember my mother telling me about the very sad event. Maybe , just maybe one of his relatives may read your posting and get back to this site.
      Thanks again for sharing this with us and if you feel it appropriate then please share more about Keith with us as many of the pupils post comment on the appropriate school file. Which school did you both attend?

  7. Hi John,
    I have been researching my “ancestors” and I came across this wonderful website while trying to find out when the row of houses at the beginning of Love Lane was built. I understand that the War Memorial Hospital was “founded” in 1922 and it was built on the site of an orchard. I wonder if the houses were built prior to that or later. I lived at 11 Love Lane (on the corner of Kingsway Rd), from when I was born in 1948 until I left Burnham in 1964. Sometimes our address was referred to as 11 Manor Road. The name Strickland rings a bell for me but I am not quite sure in what context. I may have known your family. I deduce from some earlier posts on this site that you were born a year after me, and your father was a teacher at King Alfred’s?, but I actually went to the girls grammar school in Bridgewater so I didn’t know him from school. Maybe we can communicate privately if you have the time? Thank you for working so hard on the history of Burnham. Judi Boscaro (nee Dredge)

    1. Hello Judith,

      Thanks for the comment and also the kind words. I have a colleague who does most of the upkeep of the site . I will drop you a personal email.


  8. Hello Chris,
    Copyright is not the same for all images. We have been given the many owner’s permission to use them specifically for this site. If you let me have details of the individual images I will check – as I do own copyright for some. Alternatively we would be willing put your article on this web with you named as owner.
    Let me know your thoughts and thanks for visiting this site.

  9. I am starting to compile a web-page about the signalling at Burnham station over the years. What is the copyright situation please about possibly re-using any of the photos of the station on your website please?

  10. I was born on Remembrance Sunday, November 11th, 1945, at Burnham War Memorial Hospital. My parents lived in St. Andrew’s Road until 1947 when they were allocated a council house in Highbridge, part of the government rehousing programme following the war.
    After attending Highbridge infant school I went to St. Andrew’s School on the seafront where the headmaster was Mr. Holly. He was larger than life with a booming voice to match and we lived n fear and trembling of his cane which he used at any opportunity on those who misbehaved.
    Right now I am writing a memoir of my childhood in post war Somerset which I hope will revive many memories.

    1. Thanks for the comment Ruth. Interesting to hear about your memoir. If you have any specific memories to share with us from that on our other pages we would welcome it. Happy Birthday for next Thursday!

    2. Hello Ruth,
      You might not remember me,but I remember you well, together with Sally Hooper ( who I think was your cousin?), Janet Edwards,Pam Fishlock and others who used to hang out with us boys.My closest friends then were Tim Hunt and Nick Hamilton.
      I also found out from an old DMS newsly that. Ron had died some years ago and about your work for Cyberknife.I knew Ron from DMS and I remember meeting you both in the Silver Lining Cafe probably before you were married?
      I left Burnham in 1966 and since my parents died in 1989 and 1992 , have only been back twice for funerals.( One of these was for Jackie Keeley,nee Short,who you will probably remember as another of the old BGG crowd.She married my friend Robin and I saw a lot of them when they first lived in London.
      I live in Essex where I have been since leaving Burnham,and it’s good to hear a voice from the past.I look forward to reading your memoir!
      I was very sorry to hear about Ron and would be happy to make a donation to the CK Trust if you let me know bank account and sort code.
      With best wishes,

  11. Hello, I found this fascinating archive whilst trying to trace the whereabouts of a particular ancestor, and I wonder if you can help me at all.

    I have seen a legal document from 1944, where she gives her address as 5 Rectory Road, Burnham. I would like to know what this building was. My relative was a single mother, and had mainly worked as a housekeeper, so I wondered if this house was an institution or a home of some description. (My relative was living in Bristol at the time of the 1939 Register.) I have looked at old maps, but cannot be sure which property in Rectory Road was no 5. Was it the one marked School House on some maps?

    Any help on this would be most appreciated.

  12. Hello, please would it be possible for someone to get in touch with me regarding local history? Many thanks.

    1. Hello Clare,
      Sorry my delay in replying as I have had a few days away from my computer. I opened your mail to my email address before this message and I am very keen to progress your suggestion. We can now correspond via our emails.
      Thanks Clare and so pleased you suggested this.

  13. John
    Could I have your email address as I have a photograph that may be of interest,
    Best wishes
    Justin Downes

  14. Hi there,
    I’m sorry to bother you.
    I’ve just watched the video of the Burnham-on-Sea Coronation celebrations, and I thought it was superb. Thank you for sharing.
    I am researching my family history at present and I am trying to find out where my mother attended school in the early 1940’s-50’s. Would someone be able to help me find out more information about the schools in that period please? I am not sure where to start.
    My mother, Sylvia Mitchell, was born in 1936 and lived at Julia Terrace.
    Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards,
    Claire Trask.

    1. Hello Claire,

      i was born in Burnham in 1949 and attended the infant school in Princess Street and then
      St Andrews Junior school on the sea front. I’m confident these would be the schools your mum
      would have attended if schooled at this town. Both schools are detailed here with some early
      photos. Have a look under places – schools – St Andrews and then Home – news – Princess School.

      1. I’m currently researching some background material for a YouTube video. Once aspect of the channel I run is beachcombing, and in particular, Burnham-On-Sea (local to us).

        I’ve come across the remains of the Marine Lake (fascnating).

        Would it be possible to utilise two or three photographs from your archive showing the marine lake – I will give accreditation? I’d also like to narrate this part of the video using some of the information obtained here as well.


        1. Hello Pete,
          I have sent you images via our personal emails. Please feel free you use the information as well but please remember to give this site the accreditation.
          Thanks for your interest in our town’s local history.

    2. You probably know this already, as it is taken from the 1939 Register, immediately before WWII.
      Charles E MITCHELL (c) 3 Julia Terrace 61 Esplanade 20/06/1910 M Married Carpenter & joiner Heavy work Local A R P Demolition ???
      Ivy L MITCHELL (c) 3 Julia Terrace 61 Esplanade 24/03/1914 F Married Unpaid domestic duties
      Sylvia A MITCHELL (c) 3 Julia Terrace 61 Esplanade 28/11/1936 F Single Under school age m=BRYANT 08/01/1959

  15. Hello John,
    I read on BoS.com that you have cancelled meetings. The Tavistock History Society have done likewise. However, I was their first speaker to present a slide show to them which was covered in the Tavistock Gazette because we used Zoom. I presented Sir Francis Drake’s world voyage. I can offer your society a slide show of Sir Francis Drake’s movements in Somerset. Drake was in: Bridgwater, Yeovil, Stogumber and Monksilver. I have taken pictures of Drake locations in 46 countries. Please visit www,indrakeswake.co,uk

    1. Hello Michael.
      Thank you for this posting and your offer for our meetings which I’m sure will we contact you again to take up your offer

  16. Hello John….
    Hope that you and your family are all keeping well……
    I resurrected my camera recently……….
    (what’s that round your neck Grandad ?)…….. and decided to have a bit of fun (during lockdown etc.) with our family …….by taking some ‘unusual ‘ photos of Burnham on Sea and turning it into a ‘Quiz’……to see if they could recognise the locations ⁉️
    Clearly this would not have any relevance to your fantastic ‘history’ website but I thought that you would personally enjoy the challenge……I’m afraid there are no prizes available
    Take care

    1. Hello David,

      Sorry but your photos didn’t come through so can you drop another comment and if necessary we can then communicate via our own email addresses.

    1. Hello Gill,
      I’ve just pick up your message and will help if I can. I don’t have a lot about of history of this building and it would help me should you be willing to drop another message here to give more details to your request. I will need a bit more time once I know if it’s a specific period or name you are interested in. If its something you would prefer not to share here please let me know and we can communicate via our emails.
      Thanks for using this web.

  17. REPLY FROM JOHN STRICKLAND (with apologies for delay in approving the post due to a system problem):

    Hello Charles,
    Thanks for getting in touch. I was in the same class as you and I remember you well. I still live in Burnham and am in regular touch with Mike & Pete Hawkings, Mike Cross, Rodger Bawdon and see Pete Evans occasionally and Robin Heal. If you want we can correspond via our email’s and I can share emails with you for those ex school friends but please reply to this web site first.
    It’s good that you got in touch and I can remember spending the day with you on your parents farm where we built a fire and collected dried cow dung as fire lighters!
    If you want to read more about King Alfred School then visit .

  18. High John. Charles Fear here. I was the same year as your brother and your Dad taught me Science in 1961 ,1st year. I am in the shot measuring focal length in Mr Bromfield’s Physics class in your excellent movie.

    I became a teacher, took two degrees (one from Cambridge) just to prove the 11plus wrong! I have a wife, two sons and a daughter, two are lawyers and one doing his MA in English at UCL. I did three Fulbrights to the USA, am now retired and live near Woodbridge/Aldeburgh in Suffolk. It would be good to catch up with you and hear about others from those 1960s! My hobbies have included rowing eights, motorbiking (racer), gardening, reading, serious music ( choir ) and stuff!

    1. Hi Charles have just read your post on Capture Burnham , and your reference to the School film.My brother and I also featured in the film , both in the Science Labs, and on some garden footage in the greenhouse. We are also seen with Mr Flamburt grafting an apple tree . You may remember the Hawkings twins Mike and Pete . I ended up working at the School as a Lab Technician , appointed by Mr Strickland and Mr Edge, and as the School grew and more labs were added I became Senior Technician in charge of 8 Laboratories and two assistants . Others featured in the film are Michael Cross , Geoff Higgins, Carol Jotcham, Violet Cornish , Sandra Welch, Dorothy Barable ,Barbara Williams , Spencer Dibble and Pete Hand. Staff shown include Miss Giles , Mrs Bacon , Mr Thomas and Miss Hartley. They always say your School day’s are some of your best and I certainly enjoyed mine !

  19. Does anybody have a photograph of Rosewood Cottage in Love Lane. It belonged to Rosewood Farm and was pulled down when Love Lane was straightened out. Love Lane used to be kinked and ran past the allotments and the row of cottages. The cottage was situated in what is now the road, in front of the Rosewood pub, directly opposite the three bungalows that are currently there. My mother was born there and I would like to obtain a photograph.

  20. I wonder if anyone has information about Charles Pearson who was a photographer and apparently took a lot of photos of Burnham around 1900. The reason for the question is that he also took some of Allerton which were turned into postcards. I am secretary of the Allerton History Group .

    1. Hello Elizabeth,

      Thank you for contacting us. We do have a large quantity of his images on postcards but I personally know very little about him as a person. I think he had a shop/office in Burnham at one time and I will ask our members if they can help answer more. Have you tried a search on the internet maybe even ebay as that seems to work for Burnham images.

      1. thanks John – I couldn’t find anything via google about CP.
        I’ll keep trying – might be interesting to know more

  21. In Feb there was a query about grounded coaches near the station.
    I have information about two that were lived in as housing in the early 1950s- one at the end of Southend Gardens off of Donstan Road. This was cut in two as it couldn’t be got round the clock which in those days was where the large roundabout is now at the top of Market Street. When on site it was put together and a family lived there very happily.
    The other was half a carriage at the bottom of the plot lived in by a gent who had bought the ground where no 3 Donstan Road is now. He ended up having to move off and my parents bought the land and had Mr Stanley Scott build the house. Hence the road name- Don his son, and Stan for the elder Scott.

    1. Thanks Jenny,
      Very interesting and gives more information about both town’s history. I think the one on the sea front known as ‘The Cathedral’ was moved to the Tennis club grounds in Grove Road and used as a changing room for a while.

  22. Thank you John. I have spoken to the new team and would be delighted to have a permanent display of photographs of old Highbridge.

  23. Hello, I am interested in the history of the Morland Community Hall and the surrounding area.

    Can you help me please, with further information, regarding it’s history.

    Many thanks.

    1. Hello Jane,

      Following our phone conversation this afternoon I will try and help regarding having historic images of Highbridge displayed as part of the improvements you are planning to this Hall. I will contact you again in the near to future.

  24. I am searching for information and photographs of the old grounded coach bodies that existed in the 1930’s to the early 1960’s, near the station. One was directly outside the Lifeboat house, parallel to the railway on the south of the line. Another was in the goods yard, by the eastern siding. Finally, two more were nearer the Jetty placed at right angles to each other, not far from the buffers at the end of the railway. I believe some of these were early Somerset & Dorset coaches, although the one in the goods yard seems to be something quite different.
    I do have a couple of poor quality images of the ones near the station and would be keen to knpow if any good quality images exist of them.
    Thank you, in anticipation.

    1. Hello Steve,
      The photo of the grounded coach near the station can be seen on this website. Here is the link http://www.captureburnham.co.uk/landmarks/burnhams-railway-now-and-then Not a clean image and I know very little of its history. If you would send me the ones you have I may be able to improve them and post them on this website if you wish. The one near the Jetty was a grounded Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Coach. I am hoping to put more about this under an article about Burnham’s Lifeboats as it was used by Pilots and other sea farer’s while waiting for the tide or a vessel to come in. I do have several images which will be on the article. Not sure about the other one near where the Buffer Stops are now but here is the link to the page showing it ‘end on’ while used as a bicycle store.http://www.captureburnham.co.uk/landmarks/sea-front/south-esplanade. Did this coach get moved near the station building when the South Esplanade was further modernised ? I have yet to discover. I hope this helps,

  25. I would like to correspond via email with John Strickland. I am a railway modeller and it concerns a detail from his recent appearance on TV in the Walking Britain’s Lost Railways series.

    1. Hello Roger,
      Thank you for your mail. I will email you with my contact details via your personal email address.


  26. hi is there anyone who could come and do a talk on the history of Burnham and highbridge please at a group I run , Burnham a.r.c active retirement community I know they would really enjoy this please could you message me. thank you for reading

    1. Hello Kay,
      Sorry for the delay in my posting this. I am now fully booked for talks until October but if you send me more details and suggested dates I will get back to you.

  27. New website about the Radio Station in Highbridge (Portishead Radio) has been launched. Although physically located in Highbridge, most of the staff lived in Burnham and the station was a valuable and important piece of local history – sadly gone forever without any commemorative plaque or memorial. Plenty of photographs and stories – and a few videos and sound files too.

  28. Fascinating site. I’m in the process of writing a novel at the moment where one of my characters is evacuated to Burnham for a short while. I wonder if anyone can advise which of the schools took in evacuees during WW2?

    1. Hello Mel,

      Thank you for your kind words. I have much information about evacuees coming to Burnham by train; being selected for accommodation by local residents and the schools involved.
      I have researched your request and the only school I found that definitely took evacuees was St Andrews which was opposite the Pavilion but sadly demolished in the 1980’s. One other school St Margaret’s which was on the sand dunes just North of Maddock Slade road was used as a V.A.D. hospital. There were many private schools in Burnham in the late 1800 and early 1900’s.
      I hope this helps.

      1. A few years ago John you provided me with some detail and photos relating to the buffer stop project for use in a book I was working on. You asked me to let you know when it was published and that happened this month. I’m afraid BT recently corrupted the contacts box on my PC and your email address disappeared. I would be appreciate having it again if you wish to oblige so that I could in more detail show my appreciation.

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