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Look back: grumpy maids, bumpy rides and Banwell

Aunt Agatha scans your old photos to find the stories of times long ago When the Cliff Hotel was the best in the west

Pictured above is a scene from 1936 when Terry King was a rather grumpy looking bridesmaid for her brother Ralph when he got hitched to Janey Pavey. It was an era when the Cliff Hotel in Cheddar was the place for wedding receptions - now the building called Cox’s Mill these days is a sad semi derelict ruin and the subject of heated correspondence in the Cheddar Valley Gazette at the perceived neglect of its current owners Longleat Estate.

The gardens were part of the hotel’s charms which older readers may recall were kept immaculately - and had the added attraction of the mill pond covered in lilies - one aspect that hasn’t changed. The Norman Heal photo shows the wedding party in all their finery along with the eye-catching full length lace train of the bride held up by the angelic looking Pat Arndell. Fourth in line is the rather sullen looking Teresa (Terry to everyone). Behind her are Valerie Gough, Mary Scourse and Richard Filer.

Terry recalls the time and her get-me-out-of-here expression: “I was a bit of a tom boy and hated being a bridesmaid. I was the youngest of seven children - my brother was much older than me. They let me choose my own dress - it was white organza with blue spots.”

High days and holidays with outings in the charabanc

Robin Hicks of Blagdon got in touch with us with a photograph of his grandfather who is seen standing on the runnerboard of a charabanc in 1910. The vehicle operated from Cheddar and was to take day trippers from the station to the Gorge and Caves - and also on excursions into the Mendips and to the coastal resorts of Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare. Four years before the Great War some of men in the photograph would soon perish in the

trenches. Clearly the fashion for well dressed

chaps was a boater or a brimmed Panama or trilby. It’s likely the photograph was taken outside of the Cliff Hotel - another pick-up point for the stately iron horse of the highways.

The surprising peace and quiet of Banwell’s main street

Until the advent of the motorcar Banwell remained reasonably easy to negotiate - a far cry from today. As soon as the car grew in popularity the village became congested - and rather sensibly the authorities made plans for a bypass for the narrow streets of the community. That was back in the 1930s - various plans have come and gone but the proposed road north of the village remains unbuilt. In 1986 the MP Jerry Wiggins observed that nearly 10,000 vehicles

passed through the village every day - a figure that has since increased. This charming photo is from Roy Rice’s collection - it reveals the village before the First World War when the biggest issue of residents was the amount of horse dung in the road. Butstone House is clearly visible on the right - as is the quirky rock outside on the pavement.

Do you have photos that you’d like to share with our readers? Call The Editor on 07789 864769 for details. There is more nostalgia at Strawberry Line Times

September 2013

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