When Seaton had a train station and holiday camp
PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 June 2015
'My Seaton' was the subject of the final illustrated talk of the Axe Valley Heritage Association's spring season.
Alan Nicholas told the story of how he and his family came to the town, as evacuees, in October 1940, when the toolmaking company of J H Shand, for whom his father worked, was required to evacuate their premises in South East London and set up their business, of building tools for the war effort, in a part of the Axminster Carpet Factory.
He described how the employees and their families arrived at Seaton Railway Station, were met by the billeting officer and allocated temporary accommodation with the good folk of Seaton. Alan said his family were very lucky in that they were taken in by a very well-known local family, Mr and Mrs Frank Norcombe. He then told how they eventually moved into Violet Terrace - now Windsor Gardens.
He showed pictures of the terrace and of the Regal Cinema which was once the centrepiece of the town. He then showed pictures of Seaton Home Guard platoon, the anti-tank defences on the seafront and the barricades which were constructed along the whole length of the beach. Then came tales of the bombs that fell on Seaton and the death and destruction that was caused.
Moving into the 1950s, he showed photographs, taken by himself, around the town, on January 1, 1955. These included all the local landmarks, such as the now long gone railway station, the gas works, Blue Waters caravan park, Warners Holiday Camp, the seafront and the town centre streets.