Listen to the memories of Delia Temlett and Sheila Brooks about the former bakers in Victoria Street and the town.
Victoria St. is one of the oldest streets in the town centre, together with Oxford St., and Manor Rd (previously known as Church St). A few isolated dwellings stood near the church in the late 18th century, including thatched cottages of fishermen. Nothing of these remains now. The early years of the 19th century, paticularly following the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, saw the development of the east side of the street more along the lines we know now, however many of the properties have since had business frontages added and front gardens removed. The entrance to ‘The Arcade’, cut through to Alfred St ( High St)., can just about be seen at the left of this picture. The entrance mosaic can still be seen today.
Still standing in 1838, at the junction of Victoria St. and Regent St., (Alfred St / High St. did not exist at this time) was the old Mason’s Arms, which had been a one time brewery and a long time gathering spot for town tradesmen. This building was demolished in 1894 and ‘The Lifeboat’ Temperance Hotel was built on the site and opened in 1895. The new structure is the handsome building we still see on the corner today. It allowed room for the widening of the passage on its Regent St side, to become a proper extension of Alfred St, thus completing the length of what is now High St.
The Bridgwater Gazette of 29th Oct 1899 reported:
‘A NEW CLUB – At the “Lifeboat” restaurant a new club, to include billiard and reading rooms with ample opportunity for social intercourse, and the great advantage of a free library for members, was opened on Saturday. The venture is an admirable one and deserves the success which we trust it will have.
Business was so brisk at the Lifeboat that a temporary pavilion was constructed on the site of what is now No.7 Victoria St., to accommodate overflow from the restaurant. This was superceded by the new permanent Lifeboat Pavilion in 1902, which stood on the site of what is now the Ritz Cinema.
The Lifeboat Pavilion
The iconic Tuckers Garage building (above), was constructed in 1939, at No 47, on the site of a Regency period dwelling. However, the attribution of the picture below, which appears to be at the southern end of Victoria St. where Victoria Court now stands, as ‘Tuckers Garage’ suggests that this was the company’s earlier premises.
Another garage in Victoria St. (Possibly on the corner of Chapel St?.) Advertisement from Burnham on Sea Golf Handbook, date unknown.
Advertisements from Burnham on Sea Holiday Guide, 1940’s.
(Information courtesy of Winston and Robert Thomas: ‘The Book of Burnham on Sea’)
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