The much-loved and respected Sidmouthian, Gerald Counter, who died last year, produced an impressive set of memoirs with his friend Julian King - 'A Life in Sidmouth'
Friend fulfils book promise to old Sidmothian - News - Sidmouth Herald
Tributes to ‘true Sidmothian’ who never wanted to leave - News - Sidmouth Herald
The book has been so popular, that it has had another print run:
Sidmouth celebrity’s book reprinted - News - Sidmouth Herald
Here is the final section of Gerald's reminiscences - 'Looking back' - copied here with Julian's kind permission:
His reminiscences have been echoed by others:
Growing up in Sidmouth and Beer | sidmouthmemories
Gerald's views on Sidmouth have been looked at before:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: Eastern Town then and now
Another of Gerald's friends, Graham Cooper, worked with him in identifying the eastern part of Sidmouth - and here is a detail from the map they produced:
And here is Graham's commentary on Gerald's understanding and insights into life in Sidmouth:
Gerald was very concerned for the decline of Eastern Town where he had spent his
He told me how active it was with long established fisherman’s
families and recalled how walking through you could smell the herring being
cooked thro the open doors of all the cottages.
It seems some of the former
residents were transferred from the substandard homes and decanted into the new
estates at Arcot and Manstone.
He was saddened by the loss of the local
community and counted the houses bought up as holiday homes which he believed
was destroying the spirit of the place.
When we looked at the Ham Lane car park
together he describe the terraces and small businesses which once occupied the
site. Some of the compounds were to service the fishing while others were
utility yards and brewery bottle storage.
In other words Eastern Town and the car
park was once a thriving and vital part of Sidmouth where he claimed you could
buy all you needed from the convenience stores including the corner fish and
Understandably he questioned what so called modern day “progress” had
done to the neighbourhood of his childhood and enthusiastically supported
reintroducing residents to the area and the notion of re-establishing the street
grain with mixed development.
Sidmouth, Devon. Belvedere, Port Royal, Fortfield