Budleigh man reminisces on life in the town from bygone years

Budleigh man recalls life in Budleigh Salterton from more than 50 years ago

A MEMORABILIA collector says Budleigh Salterton has changed dramatically since its economy was heavily reliant on the fishing and building trade more than 50 years ago, writes Graham Britton.

Nick Loman, of Swains Road, comparing present-day life to then, believes the type of businesses which now exist, the appearance of Budleigh and the type of people who live in the town, have all altered.

Mr Loman, speaking to the Journal in the second part of a nostalgia series, said: “It’s changed completely.

“It was mostly working class people (at the end of 1950s) until all the colonials came back and that is what transformed things. There were then a lot of colonels, majors and admirals.

“Where I lived, there were 10 houses and they were all working class.”

He joked: “I remember when people had to be at work for eight o’clock – none of this ten past business like today.

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“They’d all be scooting down the paths with their legs over the crossbar on a cycle because nobody had cars then.”

Mr Loman takes a keen interest in Budleigh life, having lived in the seaside area all his life.

The semi-retired fish industry worker also has a nostalgic collection of memorabilia, which includes pictures, books and around 500 postcards, depicting how life was in the town in bygone years.

“There must have been at least 30 fishermen in the town back then,” said Mr Loman, who used to work for Hooker’s Fish Shop.

Recalling his time at the company, he added: “Hooker’s later went to wholesale. It supplied to places all over the country. It was a big fish merchants. We had more than 250 boats fishing for us, from Portland Bill to Penanze.

“We once took 100 tons of live crabs in one week. Most of them went to Billingsgate and Boston, in Lincolnshire, because that is where the canning factory was.”

Mr Loman believed, in contrast to the late 1950s when fish-orientated work was one of the town’s biggest employment areas, that was not the case in the modern day

“They’ve now built houses on where all the factories and stalls were. Budleigh is now a different sort of place – more for retirement. Nursing homes have probably taken over as the biggest employers.”

After Tom Hooker, the owner of Hooker’s Fish Supplies, died, Mr Loman started his own business called East Devon Shellfish, along with a friend, Ray Tilbury. He ran the company for many years.

Mr Loman, who also has a collection of Winston Churchill memorabilia, will present an exhibition at the Salem Chapel in East Budleigh on September 11 and 12 about the former British Prime Minister.

The exhibition will feature unseen material about Churchill’s first personal aircraft, a converted Lancaster Bomber named Ascalon.