St Aubin's Road

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St Aubin's Road

St Aubin's Road viewed from the west, looking from Millbrook towards First Tower in about 1870
Looking towards First Tower from the lower slopes of Westmount. This picture is believed to have been taken in the 19th century. The white shape in the distance between the chimneys is St Matthew's Church. The picture shows the coastal tower at First Tower in the centre at the end of the straight. The picture must be very early because this was the main east-west route before Victoria Avenue was built and the surface looks very rough. It is possible that the pavements were new and the road was about to be surfaced, which may explain why the photograph was taken. Little or nothing remains on the left side of the road - the Bay View Hotel (now replaced by apartments) was built later in the left foreground to replace Bay View Terrace, which is probably the first building on the left. This could also be what became the Rockhampton Hotel. Many of the cottages on the right (Dunell Cottages, etc) either side of where the Lotus House is/was are little changed. The King George V Homes were built in the immediate foreground where the posh house and garden are shown in the photograph. This might have been Westmount Villa, later to become Sandown School. It was an old 'dame school' run by the Misses Gibson. By the late 50s only one elderly Miss Gibson was running it. Andre Ferrari, who went to the school, like many others, before he was old enough for primary school, as there were no nurseries then, recalls: 'The place was like a museum, full of old furniture, and I guess Miss Gibson's teaching methods had never changed. She would write out lines of letters in pencil, in old copperplate handwriting style each evening, and the next day we would copy over them in new-fangled biro. She would write out sums for us in chalk on slates, and we would use slate pencils to do the answers. She had us doing cross stitch on bits of canvas and also French knitting (she would make these into mats edged with ribbon to give to our parents). We even learnt a few words of French. She was an extraordinary, slightly eccentric lady. She would use the summer holidays to revarnish the desks. There must be plenty of others who remember this funny little school, which provided such a quirky background to our childhoods


Opposite First Tower Park, Glendewar butchers was taken over by a Mr Syvret in the 1950s, and this is now a fishing tackle shop
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