Victoria Street

 

Follow the link below to see a .pdf of the occupancy of shop premises in Victoria St over time:

Follow this link for Victoria St maps

Listen to the memories of Delia Temlett and Sheila Brooks about the former bakers in Victoria Street and the town. We know that there have been a number of bakeries in Victoria St over time: Sherrell’s Bakery at No. 53a (1914); Harding’s Bakery (1937) and the Victoria Bakery at the same address in the 1980’s; Johns’ West End Bakery at No.53 (1960’s – 80’s); Weare’s(1914), later Davies’ Bakery (1939)  at No.17  and Thomas Baker’s bakery at the same address in the 1960’s. The ‘Baker Bothers’ they refer to was at No. 2 Princess St where A.K. Auto Spares & Cycles is now.

 

WearesBreadVan

 

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, particularly 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 pictures below are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Note the sign for ‘The Arcade’ at left of picture above.

The old Mason’s Arms, which had been a one time brewery and a long time gathering spot for town tradesmen stood at the junction of Victoria St. and Regent St. When this  building was erected Alfred St / High St. did not exist as we know it now, there was a  narrow alley between the building and the one at the east end of Regent St , where the brewing vats could be seen. Joseph Braithwaite bought the building in 1894, he had it demolished and  ‘The Lifeboat’ Temperance Hotel  built on the site, which 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.

In the picture above the buildings south of the Lifeboat had not yet been erected. The corbels on ‘The Arcade’ indicate that this block was constructed in 1906.

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 marquee was erected  on part of the site subsequently occupied by the buildings on the south east end of the street,  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.

Lifeboat PavillionThe Lifeboat Pavilion

Advert below from Mate’s Guide of 1903

The advert above is reproduced from a ‘collectable’ postcard but appears to be a genuine reproduction as it has a Pople Typographers by-line. It is notable though that it is described as at ‘Alfred St and Regent St’ rather than in Victoria St. The date is unknown.

 

Below we can see the 1906 block, pictured in the 1960’s. The premises on the corner had originally been No. 4 and No. 6 before becoming amalgamated, probably sometime between the wars. ‘The Arcade’ stands in the centre, at that time occupied on the Victoria St side by Douglas Wood, Electrical Contractor. For more information about The Arcade see the High St page.

Tuckers

The iconic Tuckers Garage building (above), was constructed in the around 1939, at No 47, on the site of a Regency period dwelling. Previously Tucker’s had resided  where Victoria Court now stands (below). This block had originally housed Somerset Engineering (flat metal products) when it was built at around the turn of the 20th century.

Woodmans, No 43:

Advert from 1970

 

Heal’s Grocer’s, No 37:

Interflora sign in window places this photo as after 1923.

Brewer’s Fishmonger & Poulterer, No 35:

Advert from Burnham Gazette 1914

 

Cox & Cox Furnishers, Removals & Undertakers (No 20) was constructed in the early 20th century on the site of a stonemason’s business. It later became Co-op Furnishing (1970’s – 80’s) and then Scott’s Furnishings. Next door was Cox’s Auction House, a building for many years now (2019) occupied by a window blind business (advert below from Mate’s Guide 1903).

Berrill’s  hairdresser & Tobacconist at No 23, the corner with Princess St, was the subject of the following report in the Burnham Gazette, 19th Sept 1914:

UNWELCOME VISITORS

Mr Berrill, hairdresser and tobacconist, Victoria St, Burnham, received two very unwelcome visitors on Monday. In the afternoon a sheep was discovered behind one of the shop counters. The unprofitable patron was summarily ejected before any serious damage was done. Later in the day a bullock invaded the shop, and it looked as if the animal’s horns would demoralise certain glass cases &c. By peaceful persuasion however, the bull was induced to withdraw his huge carcase. He departed after leaving his “card” as a souvenir of the eventful occasion.

At the south end of the street  Hawkings Motors  was situated at No 1. It  had developed  from the  Hawkings Motor Co & Sperring’s Cycle Manufacturers built on the site in 1897. Advertisements below from Mate’s Guide 1903 and  Burnham on Sea Golf Handbook, c1910’s.

Garage jpeg

It later traded as Burnham Motor Co, probably at No. 5. , in the block now reconstituted as Victoria Court  which had also at times  been home to  other motor and engineering businesses including Tuckers and latterly Burnham Auto Spray (see below). 

(Thanks to Winston and Robert Thomas: ‘The Book of Burnham on Sea’ for some of the information above and to Cedric May for photos of Victoria Court before & after renovation)

Other related links:

Tregunter

St Andrew’s Church

The Mounting Steps & Stables

The Old Vicarage

2 thoughts on “Victoria Street”

  1. I Have several issues with some of your information. 1914 Kelly’s Directory list Burnham Motor Co at number 5 Victoria Street. 1923 Kelly’s list Brooke Bros at this address and Kelly’s of 1939 list Tuckers as being here. Your written information lists Tuckers at 9 and the map at 7. I believe that Wallbutton’s in Regent street were at number 16 and he later registered the Burnham Motor Company name in 1935 Regent Street which I think was next door at 18 (I have the original Companies house document for this but it only lists it as Regent Street) I am also led to believe that Wallbutton’s were at 44 and not 48 Cross Street. I also have the Registration document for when Burnham Motor Company were Re- Registered in Nov 1951. I am currently doing research into all of the local garages, proprietors and staff .

  2. Thanks for all of this Des. It just goes to show the complexity of trying to pin these things down. Some of the conclusions I have come to have been based on comparing details of street photos with census and trade directory information and guide adverts, and trying to clarify timelines from this. Some of the information appears slightly contradictory and property numbers in some places are rather confusing (possibly even misprinted in some sources!). It seemed that the garage and engineering businesses in the Victoria Court area may have occupied a part of the building not clearly related to the footprint of the frontages, and this is what the map is trying to show. I will have a closer look at my info sources and possibly amend some of the text for the streets in question. We would be very interested in your research on the garages if you are willing to share it.

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