Monday, 21 November 2011

Normal Service will be Resumed – Eventually

Just a quick apology for my absence but we are in the midst of a house move  which, from start to finish is scheduled for under 6 weeks. Things are manic and the uncertainty of it all is not helping my stress levels.
We are due to move on 12th December and then we are off on holiday on 17th December.
Hopefully, the New Year will see me back to normal and having the time to spend on my computer and chatting to you all.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

From Little Bobby Chambers

Anyone for cricket 1

Hi Jean, really enjoying the blog, was it only yesterday? Apologies for lack of photos, more chance now the winter is upon us, and that my son, Seth, is home safe and sound from Afghan, phew. the reunion seems so far away, if anyone fancies a day out prior give me a call on ( deleted), just for a quick breeze to the old stomping grounds, a little taster say. hope you are well, best wishes LBC.

Deleted your number Bobby for safety reasons. Contact me instead or leave a message .J

Monday, 7 November 2011

Email from Graham Whiting

Hi Jean
I trust you are well? You asked if we were still in Torbay,Were
not, Carol moved initially to Isleworth then finally to Peterborough. I've told
her that I have made contact with you and when she gets herself sorted out she
will contact you.The problem is she recently moved and everything is all over
the place. I am living in Norfolk after moving first from Torbay and then to
London and finally to Kings Lynn.Ive been here over thirty years.I am still
working which is not necessarily a good thing but, I cant afford not at the
moment.Our parents eventually moved to Kings Lynn and both passed away here.I
was looking at the photos on your blog and can recognise Alan Dixon,David
Chambers and Barry Symons. I didn't really know the Westmacotts in Summervale. I
got to know them more in Foxhole Estate.When one of the boys(I cant remember
which) complained about my music being to loud.( I thought every one liked
Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran)
I was in Ilminster just a few weeks ago and had a wander around. Found
Summerlands as it is now called (The hill down to the prefabs didn't seem so
steep as when I was young)I got extremely nostalgic. Which is why I ended up
discovering your blog.I don't know what is that time in my life was very magical.
Silly Old Sod.I was very surprised to see photos of ourselves and others.Carol
and myself weren't around a lot during those days it seemed.Because when we were
six years of age they diagnosed that we were TB contacts and were sent off to
a Sanatorium for a year.Then we moved to Blackdown view. But I managed to keep
in contact with my friends i.e Malcolm Driver, Michael Jolly etc but I can
still remember things like the Coronation Celebrations,I think also we had the
BBC visit us in the rec. when Donald Gray was an announcer / commentator.(If
you remember he had only one arm)I have photos of both of those occasions
which I will copy to you. (Well I would if my scanner would do as it is told
so they may arrive later on their own)I also remember the STC Christmas Parties
and the wonderful presents we received.
A lot of water has flowed under that bridge hasn't it. And I wonder just what
near seventy year olds would have to discuss.I suppose we have photographs to
jog our memories.But it does seem such a very long tome ago now. Anyway I will
close now. Apologies for not replying sooner.
Best wishes



Another birthday party


Bun bobbing


Maggie Mason

More from our on the spot reporter– Peter W.


I think this was the house on High Street where I collected the papers for my Sunday morning round. I believe Mike Smith did a round from here too. Did anyone else?image

Mr Britten's house in Brewery Lane. What rent did we pay him for our prefabs? Was it 5/- a week or 7/6d? Can anyone remember?


Me with my back to "The Green" - now full of houses. Our prefab was to the left of the picture. Is the road wider now that when we lived there?


A fairly empty Market Square. "Frame of Mind" was Mr. Bradburn's newsagents, where I had a morning and evening paper round. Part of "The George" now an upmarket restaurant.IMG_3458

I recall this Silver Street cafe as a milk bar, where we would enjoy our milkshakes on a Saturday morning. I'm fairly sure it had a juke box. Can anyone remember?

I remember the Meadow Vale Cafe just along the road from the church and opposite the Chemists.JJ


Formerly Mr Giles, the newsagent's shop in Silver Street, with the narrow Wharf Lane on the right. We spent many an hour in here pouring over his stamps. Sometimes he would drop hints for us to leave, if we didn't look like buying any stamps!

My Mum used to go Old Time Dancing with Mrs Giles & Mrs Hurlstone.from the bike shop. I just remember some beautiful dresses with layers of coloured  net. i learnt to dance before i could walk – almost.JJ


Bonners the butcher, formerly Britten the butcher. I recall going in here with my mother and,occasionally,on my own on an errand for her. She always said he was a very rich man!

Faggots and sawdust come to mind seeing this shop. My Mum always said that the faggots were made with she didn’t buy them.JJ


Now the town library in Ditton Street. Was it a library in the 50s? I never remember going in it.

Yes I remember it well.I was an avid reader in those days and loved The Famous Five books which i read at an early age. One of many buildings built of Ham stone from the nearby quarry. Mellow yellow gets better with age.JJ


Tesco gets everywhere! In Ditton Street looking towards Market Square, with Blackdown View at the top. I think I remember a shirt factory on the left beyond the second car. Was it called Days?


Looking towards the football "grandstand" at the Rec. We spent many a happy hour there, including hanging around in the stand, though we never sat in it on match days. We usually stood behind the goal at the Summervale end, having sneaked in for free!

The grandstand was where we often played games. We must have been small as we had to climb up the steps they were so deep.JJ


The stand looked a bit tatty when we visited. I suppose it's been there for over 60 years. I recall the extension to the main stand being built in the early 50s.

The grandstand was where we often played games. We must have been small as we had to climb up the steps they were so deep.JJ


Not sure where in the Rec this is ? JJ


Thanks for the trip down memory lane Peter. JJ

Friday, 4 November 2011

PETER’S VISIT TO ILMINSTER. Great photos and reminiscences.

Here are some photos which Peter has sent me of his recent visit

1. Top of Brewery Lane; no cars in the 50s or theatre! The theatre was a fruit and veg store in our day.

I remember them finding a tarantula in some bananas.(JJ)

top of Brewery Lane; no cars in the 50s or theatre!

2. Corner of New Rd. Was a cafe with juke box.

corner of New Road. Was this a cafe?  I think so, with a juke box.

3. Me at top of Summervale; now blocked off to traffic.

Me at the top of Summervale. Road now blocked off to vehicles but pedestrian access allowed.

4. .Looking down Brewery Lane. Our prefab was probably just past these modern garages on the right.

Looking down Brewery Lane.  Our prefab  was probably just past these modern garages on the right

5. Looking up Summervale towards the blocked off road. Methodist church at top.

We steered many a home-made trolley down this road without any fear of cars hindering our descent!

Looking up Summervale towards the blocked off road. Methodist church at top.  We steered many a home-made trolley down this road without any fear of cars hindering our descent!

6. I think "The Green" was on the right. My grandparents prefab would have been at the end

of this road on the left. Yours too Jean!

I think "The Green" was on the right. My grandparents prefab would have been at the end of this road on the left.  Yours too Jean!

7. he International Stores used to stand here. I recall taking my mother's weekly grocery order

here for it to be delivered on a Friday. We always ate well on a Friday evening!

.The International Stores used to stand here.  I recall taking my mother's weekly grocery order here for it to be delivered on a Friday.  We always ate well on a Friday evening!

8. Ditton Street, fortunately clear of traffic. Now one-way only.

Ditton Street, fortunately clear of traffic.  Now one-way only.

9. The old Plaza cinema on the left. Occasionally we would let kids into the cinema free by

opening the door on the left in this alleyway! It could also be the unofficial exit if you wanted

to leave the cinema quickly!

The old Plaza cinema on the left. Occasionally we would let kids into the cinema free by opening the door on the left in this alleyway!  It could also be the unofficial exit if you wanted to leave the cinema quickly!

10.The old boys' grammar school, now a first school.

The old boys' grammar school, now a first school.

11. Wharf Lane, now completely blocked to traffic. It was two-way traffic in the 50s.

Looking at it now it makes you wonder how any vehicle could pass through it at all!

Wharf Lane, now completely blocked to traffic. It was two-way traffic in the 50s. Looking at it now it makes you wonder how any vehicle could pass through it at all!

12.Boys' grammar school from Wharf Lane. High windows to prevent people from peering in

and the boys from being distracted from their Latin! Somewhere along there,

nearer the red door was an indoor pool. The water was always freezing and GREEN I remember (JJ).


Boys' grammar school from Wharf Lane.  High windows to prevent people from peering in and the boys from being distracted from their Latin!

13. Ditton Street Secondary Modern. We would enter through these gates on the right,

having walked through the Rec to get there.

Ditton Street Secondary Modern. We would enter through these gates on the right, having walked through the Rec to get there.

14. Ditton Street primary school. I never went there but David and Paul did. Mr Wade was

the headmaster at the time.

Ditton Street primary school. I never went there but David and Paul did. Mr Wade was the headmaster at the time.

15.The original kissing gate at the bottom of Brewery lane, with me looking a lot older that I did

in the 50s. On the right was an old earth bank and just below here we would nip over the hedge

to do some scrumping in Mr Britten's orchard. Naughty boys!

The original kissing gate at the bottom of Brewery lane, with me looking a lot older that I did in the 50s. On the right was an old earth bank and just below here we would nip over the hedge to do some scrumping in Mr Britten's orchard.  Naughty boys!

16. The Girls' Grammar School where you were educated Jean. Sorry about the scaffolding.

Who else went there? Wenda and Carol Richards I think. Did Carol Whiting attend?

NO. Carol Whiting went to Chard Convent with Gloria and Pat Laughton.(JJ).

The Girls' Grammar School where you were educated Jean.  Sorry about the scaffolding.  Who else went there?  Wenda and Carol Richards I think.  Did Carol Whiting attend?

Friday, 28 October 2011



First of all I must thank Peter & Glenys for taking on the task of organising a reunion as I’m afraid it would be beyond my capabilities these days.

From what Peter says it appears that the Shubbery would be favourite but we must get some idea of numbers before we commit to a date.

I intend to contact as many people as I can but I need everyone to also help by contacting friends and family who may be interested. I then need you to contact me with numbers on my email address -

Or – Peter

If you have any comments or ideas please feel free to help out




Tuesday, 25 October 2011

News From Graham Whiting

“Hi! to all you Summervale pensioners.Just to let you know that I and my sister Carol are still here and fit and well.I have Three children Five Grandchildren with one more on the way. I also have two step grandchildren.Sad to hear of my child hood friend Kenny Laughton passing away plus many more on your list.My condolences to all. good wishes to the rest of you. A lot of good memories came flooding back to me with some not so happy.

Love to you all Graham”

1st. day at Convent 1948


I’m so pleased to hear from Graham, I have been searching on several sites to no avail.

This photo is of Carol & Graham on their first day at Chard Convent – Gloria Dixon & I were also there..

Love your man bag Graham!!!!


Saturday, 15 October 2011


Peter Westmacott has been busy networking and has told me the following people are interested in the reunion.

Mike Smith & Maggie plan to come, also Brenda Simpson plus her sisters.

Glenys ( Peter’s wife) has said she would like to come (but she might wander off at some time if there's too much nostalgia!!) and Clive Williams  wife, Pam, also plans to come.

David Westmacott   probably although not brother Paul as he is his Mum’s main carer.

Bobby Chambers has expressed his interest already.

Me, not sure about Mike, I don’t think it is his ‘thing’ but we’ll see. All partners would be welcome of course if they want to come.

Today – 15th October Peter is in Ilminster looking for a suitable venue. The Shubbery appears to be rather expensive but Peter has come across a place called Monks Yard at Horton.  You can check it out here -

Welcome to Monks Yard, your friendly local cafe, business and party venue. Let us help you plan your perfect event, be it a large conference or intimate wedding.  Come and see why we are different, we'd love to meet you!

With a lovely cafe serving fresh, locally sourced food and plenty of outside space we offer something for everyone. Need a conference room? studio? workspace? We are here to help.

Flexibility and a personal approach are two things that make Monks Yard different from the rest. We're close to the A303 and M5, with lovely outside spaces.

Peter will let me know more when he gets home.

Having spoken to Marion Brown and Roger Everson last week I think they would come and Marion said Carol Brown would love it if she is well enough.





Tuesday, 11 October 2011


EVERSON Maimie : Obituary

Published in the Torquay Herald Express on 6th October 2011

EVERSON Maimie Passed away peacefully at Mount Tryon Nursing Home on 26th September 2011, in her 91st year. Loving wife of the late Harry. Dearest mum of Gary and Lois, Roger and Carol. She was much loved by all her family. A service to celebrate Maimie's life will be held at Torquay Crematorium on Tuesday, 11th October at 10.30am. Family flowers only please, enquiries to T. & I. Stockman 882385. Maimie's family would like to thank her friends and staff at Mount Tryon for their care and support over the years.

So sad to read this but more memories came flooding back.

What a lovely couple they were .Harry the perfect gent and Maimie with her curly hair and always so glamorous

Eversons, Vane &

Here is Maimie on the right, front row . Several other familiar faces too!

ladies at crown


I last saw Harry & Maimie by the harbour at Torquay. I was sitting on a bench in my lunch hour and they sat down beside me. We had a lovely chat about old times and Harry and I exchanged email addresses. We corresponded quite often and he kept me up to date re  STC et al.

My condolences to Roger and Gary.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011


hi Jeannie, little Bobby Chambers here, reunion, what a great idea. would be free most anytime. photos whisk me back to halcyon days, I’m pretty sure that is David in the bike photo. hunting for my own pics, will post soon as. best wishes LBC.

I would love to see your photos Bob, any of your Dad’s Bike and Sidecar? Loved that!


Barry Alan Bobby

Don’t you just love the Brylcream???Open-mouthed smile

Friday, 9 September 2011

From Peter Westmacott

Hello Jean
What a brilliant pair of photos these are. So clear and full of action. I don't ever recall seeing the one of all the boys working so eagerly on their bikes, over near the Dixon's house.
I think I can identify most of the boys shown. From left to right, the first is my brother Paul, then Gloria Dixon (I think) and Derek Drayton. In the next trio it is Mick Jolley, the one leaning over hard to tell, then my brother David. In the last group I have no idea who the boy is with his back to us, but the others are David Chambers, Alan Dixon and myself. Why on earth was I wearing a jacket (and tie?)? Perhaps I was supervising the others, or maybe I didn't want to get my hands dirty!
It was very difficult trying to identify all those in Mrs Newlyn's scout group. Yes, Clive is clearly recognisable in the middle. I think the one next to him, with his face half obscured,
might be Clifford Hargest. The tall boy in the topper might well be Craig Swift.
Lovely pics, Jean. Keep up the good work!!
Peter Westmacott

I was confused( so what’s new?) Allan Dixon looks smaller and younger than the others so even though I thought it was Gloria she looks older than him. Similarly, your little brother Paul looks older than Allan – strange.But I guess you are right and I also thought Clifford Hargest next to Clive.

Come on , someone else take the identity parade and help us out.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A New(ish) Ilminster website

I came across this website a few weeks ago -

And I sent them an email asking if they would put a link on their site to our Summervale Blog.Under the Community heading they have a history section and I felt that we could add some interesting photos and stories to that.

They have agreed in principle to us interacting and I sent this email today -

I'm not sure how this will work with your website. Perhaps you could put a section under Community Groups headed - Post War Memories. I could then write a piece introducing my blog and including the link so that anyone interested could see the blog. They could then contact me direct.

I suggest that you and your committee could look at the blog -

so that you can see all the photos and read the memories of those who lived in Ilminster after the war and still call it " home".


In the meantime they sent me 2 great photos -

The Bike Boys


Allan Dixon and Peter Westmacott on the right & possibly David Chambers?


?? Michael Jolly, David Westmacott?


No idea! Help.


Note – there is a CAR outside Mike Smith’s bungalow – A rare occurrence.


Mrs Newlyn’s Scouts? ( She is at the back on the left).


I am assuming they are scouts as I don’t recognise anyone except Clive Williams – the love of my young life -


Clive in the middle in white.

Who are the others? Apparently this photo came from the Bristol Evening News.



Hi Jean,
Thanks for the photo and all the info.I have a small suitcase jammed full of photos of this era,my father ran the STC Social Club with others and was often the MC/compare at various functions in Ilmister.
Ron Dixon took most of these pics,when the bad weather arrives, I am planning to have a major sort out of my late fathers paperwork,photos and other various items.
A little bit of info about me,I decided to take early retirement from the radio comms business and at 60 I achieved my aim.
My wife and I are avid golfers so we have spent most of the summer playing golf and spending time with our two and a half year old
So there you have it,I will endeavour to dig out those pics and post them to you later in the year,well done for all the time
and effort you have put into the Ilminster project.
Best Regards.

Gloria did say you had loads of photos and I’m really looking forward to seeing them. I remember your Dad very well from the various concerts he was in.He made all us kids feel very comfortable if we went on stage.

Here is another photo of your parents with Maimie and Harry Everson in a boat somewhere. I don’t recognise the other couple.

Eversons, Vane &

I know Harry has died a few years ago – we used to correspond by e-mail , amazing at his age. Not sure if Maimie is still around. Someone may know ????


I recently trawled through Facebook entering various names of old Summervaleans. Found one familiar name and sent this message -

Are you the son of the late Eddy Vane who worked for STC in Paignton. If so, my name is Jean Boyce and I have a blog dedicated to Summervale and Ilminster. Please get in touch.

AND this morning I received this reply -

Hi Jean, Yes my father was Eddie,as you probably know he died nearly a year ago.The whole family inc.his great grandson were due to visit on his 95 birthday.Sadly he passed away a week before, we were all very sad he did not see his great grandson.I did hear there was a blog but at the time I could not bring myself to visit it, but as they say time is a good healer.Barry

Another to add to my list – how exciting


Yes, I received a letter from Gloria Dixon telling me about your Dad. Of course most of our parents have passed on but Mrs Satchell and George Brown are still here.

Just for you, here is a lovely photo of you aged about two? I hope you like it, will read the blog and perhaps contribute to some of the wonderful memories we all have. As you are much younger than me – I’m now 67, you will probably have some very different memories of Summervale.

barry vane & mum

If you have any old photos I would love to see them.




Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Watching the riots on TV really brought it home to me how very lucky we are to live in the relatively peaceful area of South Devon. Although we see in the local press on a weekly basis that someone has been killed of badly injured in a fight it had no impact on me at all. Well, no impact other than not want to go into town on a Saturday night anymore but when I was 16, I was more frightened of Dracula appearing from behind a bush than seeing anyone have a fight.

There were the Teddy boys of course with their slicked back hair, tight, tight trousers and brothel creepers; the bikers ( more my type) with leather jackets and powerful bikes and then later, there were the Mods with their parkers  and scooters and umpteen mirrors decorating the handlebars.

At the Jive Club on Thursday night in the Church Hall there was never any trouble despite the fact that knuckle dusters and flick knives were mentioned- no I never saw any. Neither was there any drunkenness, just hours of jiving to the latest records – Elvis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers  et al. This was around 1958 – 1960 when I could dance all evening mostly with my girlfriends, the boys were propping up the walls waiting to take someone home if they were lucky.

Remember Elvis’s King Creole ? Loved it!

Fashions were varied, for jiving we wore sloppy joes ( usually our Dad’s jumper ) over tight trousers and baseball boots on our feet for that extra spring in the step. For “ going out” we wore pleated skirts, rolled up around the waist over several paper nylon petticoats which crackled as we walked. On our feet were the winkle picker shoes with the highest heels we could find.


Remember those wonderful Jukeboxes in the corner of every cafe belting out the Top Twenty but not deafening as is today's music.

Along with the Jukebox went the Espresso coffee in chic glass cups. The machines took some getting used to with the fresh coffee in the filter and the steam jet, very hot, to froth up the coffee – I just loved it. We were never taught how to make pretty patterns in the froth though – that is a modern idea.

The coffee bars were mainly for teenagers, we were quite content to drink coffee of coca cola or juice in those days – alcohol was not on our minds. Perhaps drinking laws were enforced more strictly then and, of course, it was not easily available. You could only buy it from a pub or an off license. Perhaps we should return to those days – definitely  take it out of supermarkets. Other countries are far stricter :-

Alcohol in America

Legal Issues

By and large, alcohol consumption rules are set by the states, and in some places, by the counties or cities. Closing times vary from city to city, and in some states (primarily rural areas) there are still 'dry counties' in that you cannot buy alcohol in that area.

In many areas grocery stores can sell beer and wine, but not hard liquor, for that you will need to go to a liquor or 'package' store. In some states, the sale of liquor is controlled entirely by the state and you will need to go to an ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) store to buy it.

A few important rules:

1) You cannot drink alcohol in public. Taking a beer out of a pub onto the sidewalk is illegal in most states. Public consumption of alcohol, while tolerated at places like sporting events (the 'tailgate party'), drive in movie theatres and a few other situations, it is generally not allowed in the US. At most bars, you'll either have the cup taken from you at the door by security, or channelled into a 'beer garden' which is separated from the public sidewalk by a small fence. Walking down the street with a glass of beer is certain to get you a citation for 'public consumption'.

2) The drinking age is 21 (with LEGAL PROOF). You are 50, you have grey hair, you look like a geezer, technically, this is not enough to buy alcohol in many states. To get into many bars and buy alcohol, you often have to produce a government issued ID (drivers license, passport) that shows your picture and has your birth date. Some stores will only accept a US drivers license or liquor ID (ID for people over 21 who do not hold a drivers license), so not even a military ID or US passport will be accepted, but this is usually the exception to the rule. In some cases, only ID from that state or a neighboring state will be accepted. It may seem silly, but many a bartender can tell you about how they have turned away grey-haired old ladies because they couldn't produce proof of their age. If you plan to go out drinking, take an ID and avoid any problems. Whether they 'card you' (ask for ID) varies, but better safe than sorry.

3) Driving while drunk is a big no-no. This happens thousands of times a night, and some bars miles from anywhere you have to just ask 'how the hell are you supposed to NOT drink and drive with a place like this." But getting stopped for a DUI test can really cause some problems with your insurance, losing your license for a minimum of six months in many states, and also creating a lot of problems for immigration and VWP. It's best to find a 'designated driver' (i.e. the buddy who gets free Cokes from the bar) and have them deal with you getting home.

4) Every state has a minimum alcohol purchase age of 21 (18 still persists in some US territories). Before the mid 1980s some states had a lower age (it's a matter of state law) but the federal government made certain highway funding conditional on adopting a 21 drinking age. However, the laws still differ in detail by state (for example, in some cases it's illegal for under 21s to consume alcohol as well as buy it, in other cases it is only illegal to purchase alcohol). Providing alcohol to under 21s may be banned by a specific statute or something more general like "contributing to delinquency of a minor". People have been jailed for allowing under 21s (their children, or more usually, friends of their children) to drink alcohol at a party in their house.NIH APIS explains some of the complexities regarding underage possession or consumption of alcohol.

5) In some states, under 21s are not allowed in certain areas of bars, hotels or liquor stores.

6) Taking alcohol across state lines brings you within the scope of federal law. It is not a problem to bring alcohol for your own use from one state to another, but anything, for example, involving under 21s, could lead to offences under federal law as well as state.

7) Being deemed an "alcohol abuser" - which can happen if you are convicted or cited for alcohol related offences (eg DUI) - can cause complications for your immigration status, if you are not a US citizen. Even if you manage to overcome the problems DUI will cause in getting US resident status or citizenship, it could prevent you entering Canada (Canada is even stricter on DUI than the United States) and especially if you live in a border state, this could be a real inconvenience.

8) US state and federal laws on alcohol use among recreational watercraft users (many waterways are under federal jurisdiction) and commercial drivers are stricter than in many other countries. Also, if you cause an accident or injury/death while under alcohol influence, US laws are also stricter and you face the real risk of a jail sentence (and deportation if you are not a US citizen).

Perhaps if we did tighten up on alcohol abuse by young people my grandson(aged 15) would not have been rushed to hospital recently in an ambulance , having been knocked unconscious with a savage blow to his right eye. Perhaps I should make a comparison with “then” and “now” in my next post.


Sunday, 28 August 2011





Please let me or Peter know if you might be able to make this reunion next year. If not, what date would work for you?


Thursday, 25 August 2011


Hello Jean
I am looking at the following possible dates: Wed 24 May, Wed 31 May, Wed 27 June, Wed 4 July or on the Tuesdays or Thursdays next to these dates. Do you have any preference amongst these dates? Can you see any problems with any of them?
When I am in Ilminster in October I'll certainly have a look at other likely venues. I agree with cyou about Travelodge; not the ideal place really. We did stay in the Horton once a couple of years ago, which was fine for one night, especially at their cheap rates. I think we got it for £19 for two! A good deal.
Best Wishes



Monday, 22 August 2011

Two Replies to our Reunion.

From Adrian Hooke

I would like to attend a Summervale reunion, given enough advance notice (since we would have to travel from California). Please add me to the "interest" list.
PS: I went to the school on North Street when I was about six. I remember girls being at the playground break, so there must have been a girls component. From there I went to the Ilminster Junior Boys' School in Ditton Street, which now seems to be some kind of Skills and Learning Center; then after the 11+ exam, on to Ilminster Grammar School. We probably moved into Summervale about 1946 or so - does anyone know when exactly it was built? I distinctly remember my 6th birthday in 1950 because we lived at 6 Summervale and I recall looking at the number on the front door. We left Summervale in 1954 when my Dad built a house up on Higher Beacon, leaving Ilminster permanently in 1957 to follow STC down to Paignton.

My Dad moved down with STC in 1940 but my mother stayed in London for a bit. My Dad had really gloomy digs in Chard and then my mother came down and they got married in June 1941. They lodged at at Sea Farm out on the Chard road for a while. I was born in Bridgwater in 1944 and we lived in Watergore and Puckington when I was very young. I suspect that it may have been 1945 when we moved to Summervale.
I first went to Chard Convent as well - my Dad had some wacky ideas about how I should go to private schools. I hated the place with those really mean old nuns (do you remember how they would beat kids and then give out rice paper as a treat?) and I would throw a screaming fit every morning when my parents tried to put me on the bus to Chard. Finally my mother got fed up and told my Dad that I was going to the North Street school - end of subject. Excellent move. I do remember that there were girls at North Street because there one one girl called Valerie Hallett who was a bit weird and who would poop her drawers just about every day.
I just took a Google Maps video tour around Ilminster - the place is still so recognizable. And Dyers down by the church should be a national monument. I remember getting my school uniforms there; they had this wonderful spring-loaded overhead wire system for sending your money to the central clerk's cage, who would return the receipt and change the same way. The little metal containers holding the money were always whizzing around overhead.
I hope that the reunion works out. We are still working for NASA in Washington DC but I have some health problems so we will relocate back to California in a couple of weeks. I will think about retiring if the economy and the stock market ever gets out of the current hole. We are hoping to visit the UK later in October

Here is a great photo of Adrian from his website -

Adrian Hooke


Still signs of that red hair!







Hi Jean and Peter, hope you are well and thanks for the e-mail regarding the possible Summervale reunion. I will be passing on the information to my mum Edith (known as Edie and Ede) Drayton who was 89 in July - she has been poorly after breaking her shoulder in a fall and then contracting the Norwalk virus in hospital but is now recovering well. I will also let me brothers know - the oldest is Derek and the middle brother Michael - I am Robert, the youngest of three children. My dad Dennis sadly died seven years ago and we lived at Number 15. In fact I was born there in 1951 - a true Summervale boy then!
Just a few comments regarding some of the request on the blogs:
The photo of the children immediately below the photo of the ladies in the sack race - I believe it is brother Derek top left (I will check when I see him next).

Old Friends - 1950
Regarding Derek Johnson, I vaguely remember that he passed away a few years back but will try and check that also.
North Street School: this was the home for the infant boys and girls and the junior girls - the infants went through the left-hand door and the junior girls through he right-hand door; when the infant boys were old enough they transferred to the junior boys school in Ditton Street (headmaster in my time was Tom Wade), the infant girls moved over into the junior girls section. After that, they would all go to either the boys grammar school in Silver Street, girls grammar school in Cross House behind the Minster, or the secondary modern in Ditton Street; a few might have gone to he convent in Chard. One of the teachers I remember at North Street was Mrs Kierstan - her son Richard (deceased) was in my class and he had a sister Peta; father Steve Kierstan was chief bull stockman at Horlicks cattle breeding centre. I also remember another teacher at Ditton Street junior boys was John Chislett.
I hope that brings back a few memories - I have been writing a book about my life and times at work and play in Ilminster which I will get around to publishing some time and reading the blogs is great fun.
Many thanks for reading and best wishes to one and all.
Rob Drayton (incidentally, I became a grandad two months ago - I prefer to call myself

Wow, I love that!


Sunday, 14 August 2011


Hello all Summervaleans
Before I moved to Summervale permanently in 1954, my brothers and I lived in Princes Risborough in Bucks. During last winter I came across an old photo of our my primary school football team from 1953. I began to wonder what had happened to the boys - I hadn't seen or had any contact with any of them since moving to Summervale. Where were they now, what had they done with their lives, what were they like now, and were they still alive? The outcome of all my reflections was a reunion of the team - half attended - just a few weeks ago. We had an absolutely brilliant day! Lots of reminiscing, a lunch together, a fascinating visit to our old school, a walk around our old haunts, and so on. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and we all wondered why we hadn't arranged it years ago. We have agreed to meet again next year!
Then the great thought came to me a few days ago. WHY DON'T WE HAVE A SUMMERVALE REUNION IN ILMINSTER!!! What do you all think? I would be prepared to organise it if enough people thought it would be worth trying. I should think the Shrubbery Hotel in Ilminster might make a suitable venue. We could meet, say, around lunchtime or a bit before, have some drinks and a meal, loads of reminiscing, a stroll round the Sunmervale site, etc. Whatever you like!
What do you all think? Is it worth giving it a go? Let's be hearing from you Summervaleans!
Peter Westmacott
I have often thought of doing this but, quite frankly, I never felt up to the organising of it.
If you would take it on Peter then I’m first on the list and I will send a copy of this post to those I have email addresses for and send a post card to those I only have addresses.
Anyone who looks in hear and is interested leave a message in the comments below.
First to reply - Bobby Chambers. See Comments


Hi Jean,
Thanks for the lucky were we to have had such a wonderful carefree childhood..building camps..hide an seek on the green..sledging on Herne Hill..picking bluebells in the woods and trudging home with arms full and mum not knowing were to put them all..Mick getting caught scrumping or caught up to some mischief or another..Val out with her mates never wanting me to tag along but Mum insisting..Dad coming home from work me running to meet him..both past away now but never far from our all the memories come flooding back I shall dig out the old photos and post them to you.                                            
Thanks Jean..will be in touch....Christine x



Dear Jean

Since last Oct Your Blog has been a life line for me, so good to get lost in the past for a few minutes ... Thanks too, to others that have sparked memories... I remember from your posting that you lived in Love Lane, Mum and Dad lived there too, she told me she was happy to move to Summervale. The posting of all the food really got me going, I love British food , but now with a little flair of French in it, thanks to my Hero Gordon Ramsey, and to think he may come and live in my Home town... Well better go, THANKS again for the Blog I love it

Love Jan xoxox

Hi Jan,

Thanks for your email posted above. You do not remember Summervale as you were only three when you moved to Paignton so I need to put this right.






Here is a photo of you ( in the front) with me on the left but I don't know who the other girl is.

That is Joe, our lovely dog sitting quite happily dressed in my navy blue knickers and school tie. He was a real character and loved by many – especially by Nell Hewitt and family.

You can just make out a row of runner beans in the background – I still love them.







Here you are being carried by your Dad as we all make our way to the beach at Weymouth. you can just see your Mum and Aunty Pat behind us.I guess the boys had run on!

I am carrying my favourite tennis racket complete with press , my Mum has the coats ( just in case) and my Dad is carrying everything else! I have been trying to work our how old my parents were, only late 40’s but don’t they look so much older compared with today? Fashion has changed hasn’t it?

Summervale was the estate of prefabs where we all lived. There were no road names, we all just lived in Summervale.


This photo shows our homes in Summervale, Ours on the left and yours on the right. Playing cricket are Gloria Dixon, batting. Me ready to catch the ball and Bobby Chambers behind me. Can't quite make out who the other boy is. Barry in the foreground does not looks like a very enthusiastic fielder does he? My Dad with arms folded looks like a proper umpire and Joe is ready to catch and run away with the ball if he can.

Take a close look at the gardens – beautifully kept and, I’m sure very pretty in colour.

Love Lane was a road in Ilminster just off East Street , up past the post office. We never lived there we just had friends who did. Your Mum and Dad lived at 28 Summervale, Ilminster, Somerset. Next door to us.

Hope you enjoy these Janice and get your girls to post a comment.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Instant Recognition

Went into town today to try to get a watchstrap ;  went in several jewellers but no luck as it is an unusual fix.

I was getting a little cross with myself having lost the spare links ( well, not lost more misplaced I think Ha ha) and as one lady was trying to find me a strap I thought I know you !

Do you know who this is?????


She has a brother who is my age and an older sister. Answers on a postcard to …………….

Only kidding. It is Christine Jolly who. like me still lives in Paignton. How she recognised me I will never know but she did – immediately despite the extra stones I have acquired over the years not to mention the wrinkles.

Her sister Valerie and brother Michael are well and I forgot to tell her that I met Michael in our doctor’s surgery last year. He lives in Chelston. He looks very much like his Dad who played the drums at STC – remember him?

Just for you Christine I will see if I have any photos of your family…………….

Your Mum in the sack race.

sack race

All three of you in this oneOld Friends - 1950

I’m not sure but I think this is your Dad in the back row on the right.

STC group

STC group

You will have to let me know.

Well, Mike wants his dinner so I had better turn off this laptop.

Lovely to see you Christine and love to your brother and sister too.