Family stunned as old photo found in USA shows grandparents standing in front of Exmouth home bought 50 years later by grandson

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 January 2018

A photograph of Exmouth hidden away in America for more than 50 years has left a family spookily stunned.
When pensioner Paul Wastell, of Bovey Tracey, visited his 84-year-old sister in Ohio, USA, for a family wedding earlier this year, he never imagined he would come face-to-face with his son�s home back in Exmouth.

A photograph of Exmouth hidden away in America for more than 50 years has left a family spookily stunned. When pensioner Paul Wastell, of Bovey Tracey, visited his 84-year-old sister in Ohio, USA, for a family wedding earlier this year, he never imagined he would come face-to-face with his son�s home back in Exmouth.

Archant

When pensioner Paul Wastell, of Bovey Tracey, visited his 84-year-old sister in Ohio, USA, for a family wedding earlier this year, he never imagined he would come face-to-face with his son’s home back in Exmouth.

A photograph of Exmouth hidden away in America for more than 50 years has left a family spookily stunned.

When pensioner Paul Wastell, of Bovey Tracey, visited his 84-year-old sister in Ohio, USA, for a family wedding earlier this year, he never imagined he would come face-to-face with his son’s home back in Exmouth.

Paul’s sister, Margaret, pulled out an old black and white photo of their mother and father on holiday in Exmouth some 78 years ago – which showed the couple standing in front of a property now owned by Rob Wastell – Paul’s son.

Paul, now aged 75, said: “Whilst visiting my sister for a family wedding in August this year we had a chance for reminiscing and looking through old photographs.

“She produced an old black and white photo of my mother and father, seemingly on holiday. They were walking along a street pushing a pushchair with my sister and brother in it.

“Time moves on and my son Robert, now 47-years-old, moved in with his partner, Mel, to a ground-floor flat in Alexandra Terrace, Exmouth. They still own the flat but have since bought a house in Philips Avenue and have three children.

“Knowing my son has always been interested in family history, my sister said to give Robert this small photo.

“Before I gave Robert the photo, I looked at it more closely and thought, ‘that looks as if it had been taken virtually opposite their flat some 78 years ago’ - how about that for coincidence.

“Alexandra Terrace hasn’t changed a lot in this time. One notable difference now is that the ironwork on top of the small front garden wall was taken for the war effort.”

The family estimate the date of the old photo to be in the summer of 1939.

The image shows Paul Wastell’s mother and father ‘seemingly on holiday’, walking along a street pushing a pushchair carrying Paul’s sister and brother.

“My mother and father were brought up and raised in Birmingham. When my father retired they wanted to live by the sea,” said Paul.

“I was 19 and drove them on two consecutive weekends from Bournemouth to Land’s End, and from Weston Super Mare to Land’s End.

“They decided to buy a bungalow at Holcombe, between Teignmouth and Dawlish. I moved with them and began a totally different, and life-changing, life.”

Paul’s son Robert Westell, aged 47, of Phillips Avenue, Exmouth, said: “The photo has been in Ohio USA for over 50 years, but was actually taken directly outside a property in Exmouth circa 1940, now owned by myself.

“The photograph is taken mid-way along Alexandra Terrace Exmouth, close to the seafront. Being a building surveyor by trade, I was able to play detective and identify the moulding on the low-level wall, the detailing on the bay windows and the trees at the entrance to Manor Gardens in the background.

Paul, a married dad-of-three, added: “My aunty Margaret, now living in Ohio, USA, is in the front of the pram.

“She is now 83 and dug out the photo last month and passed it to my dad whilst he was visiting her on holiday; my uncle John, Dad’s brother, now deceased, is to the rear of the pram.

“Dad was born in 1942, approximately two years after the photo was taken.

“The family were living in Birmingham at the time, so the trek down to Exmouth must have been quite a journey back in the day.

“None of the elaborate cast iron railings still exist - they were stripped for the war effort. But an earlier photograph from 1906 clearly shows the same railings.

“Note also the buckets and spades in the very front of the pram, another clue as to the location.”

Other News Stories

A teenager from Exmouth sprung into action when a stranger on board a moving train unexpectedly went into labour.

Read more

After losing too many friends and family to terminal illnesses Dee’s taking on the Inca Trail so people can have the end of life care ‘everyone deserves’.

Read more

A record number of hardy mud lovers tackled this year’s Royal Marines Commando Challenge on Woodbury Common.

Read more

Tributes have been paid to an artist from Budleigh Salterton whose name will forever live on through his much-loved paintings of the ever-changing face of the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:12

Sea champions from Budleigh Salterton earned praise from a national charity for clearing the coastline of plastic.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:50

Can you help little ted find his way home?

Read more
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mucky paws joined muddy faces when this year’s Royal Marines Commando Challenge welcomed four-legged friends to take part.

Read more
Sunday, October 21, 2018

An Exmouth apprentice is gearing up for a national skills contest next month.

Read more
Saturday, October 20, 2018

Festival could bring a range of jazz and blues concerts to Budleigh, if local businesses are prepared to support it

Read more
Saturday, October 20, 2018

Don’t miss our weekly round-up of photos from our readers.

Read more

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Exmouth Journal twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Show Job Lists


Find planning applications