Our days of steam

I remember when steam trains came here

White funnel steamers lined our pier

’Combe herrings were hawked from boat to door

Twenty a shilling, sometimes more

Our town orchestra was really fine


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Gave seafront concerts summertime

And round the bandstand in deckchairs

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Our visitors lost workday cares

On Tunnels beach it was the rules

Ladies and gents used separate pools

In any case as lads discovered

The ladies then were really covered!

Along the front were ice cream traders

Selling penny cornets and threepenny wafers

The Gaiety theatre on the Prom

Was where George Thomas shows went on

Good they were and just one reason

Why folks returned here every season

The high street was a thriving place

Where people knew each other’s face

We had Liptons, Maypole and Colonial Stores

India and China and so much more

An aviator of world fame

Sir Alan Cobham was his name

Once came and offered ‘two bob’ flights

To view the town and surrounding sights

A rag and bone man with his bell

Would call collecting scraps we’d sell

Like cast off clothes, bed sheets worn thin

He’d pay coppers for a rabbit skin

We had no phones, SatNav or ‘dish’

Then ‘online’ meant you’d hooked a fish!

So much has changed since days of yore

Including me…I am ninety four!

Frank Austin

Ilfracombe

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