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Page 2 Homes and Businesses

Old Torquay from the water

Old Torquay from the water

View towards Vane Hill

View towards Vane Hill

Haytor View Torquay

Haytor View Torquay
A Grade II listed landmark property constructed in 1872 reputedly for the first American Ambassador to be based in England. The design was probably copied from a similar property overlooking Lake Lugano and is a fine example of the Florentine Style of architecture.
During the 1920s George Bernard Shaw was a regular summer visitor to the Hydropathic Hotel above Meadfoot Beach and is known to have visited the property in the company of Mr (later Sir) Basil Cameron, conductor of the Municipal Orchestra.

From 1920 Harry and the family were listed as living at Haytor View ,Osborne Mews, Vane Hill Road. His two youngest daughters were born there in 1921 and 1923. Harry was listed as being a conductor of a motorbus and then a booking clerk at a motor garage on the certificates. They remained there until c 1928.

The listing record for the property states 'the house is built of cut and dressed limestone walls with courses of both yellow Minster Stone and Red Sandstone, together with areas of red brick on the side and rear elevations. There are string courses and panels of moulded tiles in floral designs. Throughout there are many features and points of architectural style, which combine to make this one of the most interesting and unusual houses in Torquay.'
The house is also mentioned in the highly regarded book 'The Buildings of England' by Pevsner where he states that the property is 'unusual in having applied terracotta ornament.'
We believe the family may have been residing in the mews.

The children in 1924 ( without Norman )

The children in 1924 ( without Norman )


Haytor View, Osborne Mews Vane Hill Road
Harry Bird aged 41 yrs - Booking Clerk
Gertrude aged 37, Dorothy aged 28, Thora aged 13, Lillian aged 12 ,Norman aged 10, Florence aged 9, Ronald aged 7, Ross aged 5, Thalia aged 4, Iris aged 2 and Joy a baby

Newholm, Warberry Road West

1931 - 1945
Adyar, St Mary Church Road Mrs N Bird

Adyar ,St Mary Church Road

Adyar, St Mary Church Road Harry Bird, Dorothy Bird, Gertrude Bird, Pansy Bird
And Norman Bird
1937 - 1939
16, Third Ave Daison Heights Norman Bird

Adyar, St Mary Church Road

1939 - 1947
Esdaile, Ash Hill Road Harry Bird

Adyar, St Mary Church Road
Esdaile, Ashill Road

Esdaile, Ash Hill Road

1946/48 Two persons (not Bird)
102 Chatto Road ( for Thalia - rented? )

1947 ( Possibly bought during the war )
Little Meadow, Widecombe

66 Forest Road John Healey

200 Teignmouth Road Mrs Bird with John Healey
Maidencombe House Ronald Bird

There were several different people registered as living in Esdaile over 10 years
1928/9 - Edward Jobson
1931 - George Dowdell
1933/6 - Albert Instone
1937/38 Henry Crabtree, Winifred Crabtree, Gladys Branch, Vera Westcott.
1939 - Harry Bird

The Property had letting rooms and during WW2 was fully occupied including displaced families
Some of the present Bird grandchildren were born at this address

With thanks to Pauline Childs for doing this research at Torquay Library

LMead1 Little Meadow 1950's was later
run as a B & B by Norman Bird
Remembering Little Meadow in Norman's times

In those days we made our way there
Without difficulty though we'd sometimes
Have to push the Wolsely on Widecombe Hill

Little Meadow was built in generous
Grounds Swiss Chalet style with walls
Of granite and black timber cladding
And on one side a long sweep of roof
Reached almost to the ground

It was a mile south of the village
Beyond the Rugglestone Inn,
With fields at the back and Hollow
And Pil Tors clad in Purple heather
Out front

Water from a spring on Pil Tor
Was plumbed to the kitchen,
Bathroom and lavatory. It had a
Slightly peaty colour like the
local rivers and was soft as silk

At the end of the garden a gap in the hedge
Led to a small field where he kept
His "up and over" caravan that
Was used as a spillover for guests.
But he seemed to have no guests at all.

I remember him rehearsing in the kitchen,
Setting out breakfast, his shiny, stripy apron
Making its first outing

Maurice Bird

1951 Telephone Directory

1951 Telephone Directory
Wid2 The house today
again a B & B

1955 Telephone Directory - Norman Edward Alexander Mazasitisz

1955 Telephone Directory - Norman Edward Alexander Mazasitisz

Old Postcards Kingskerswell

Old Postcards Kingskerswell

Bak1 The Bakery

1955 Telephone Directory

1955 Telephone Directory


kingskers Kingskerswell today

A Family Business in Newton Abbot

A Family Business in Newton Abbot

Newholm Newholm today
Photos by Spencer Childs

200T 200 Teignmouth Road today


PraedS 133 Praed Street Paddington 1990's
Harry Bird's Stationery
and Newsagent Business