Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Gerald Counter's Sidmouth: an insight into Eastern Town >>> revisited

Exactly four years ago, this piece appeared - and is reproduced as a reminider of what the Eastern Town was:

Gerald Counter's Sidmouth: an insight into Eastern Town

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 whole life. 

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 chip shop. 

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, Fortfiel

Futures Forum: Gerald Counter's Sidmouth: an insight into Eastern Town

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