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Home > Devon > Barnstaple > The Elephant

The Elephant

Picture source: Clive Schneidau


The Elephant was situated on Paiges Lane (ex-Elephant Lane). This pub closed in the late 1830s and was subsequently used as a wool combing factory until demolition. The site is now part of the Castle car park, along with most of the other buildings in the above photo.
When I was a child c.1960 The Elephant Public House building shown in your old photo was a second-hand bicycle shop. I saved two shillings and sixpence per week from my paper-round money at the shop for an 8.00 German fixed-wheel bicycle. The owner entered the updated amount on a card each week. I eventually brought the bike out of the front door shown in the photo. The shop was very small inside. That door was set at an angle to the bottom end of Holland Walk just around the left corner, when walking down from the High Street.
In 1977 I worked on excavating the foundations of The Elephant building and others beside it, and around what became known as The Holland Street Excavations directed by Trevor Miles from Exeter. I believe I dug through the urine stained gravel from the Elephant pub drinkers. This gravel was about four inches deep and covered the whole area, wall to wall, of the size of the room above. The excavation and demolition of old buildings there was carried out because Marks and Spencers were extending the back of their shop.
The present location is the back entrance of Marks and Spencers, just inside their boundary on the left side of Holland Street, and not the carpark opposite.
This also applies to the other buildings shown in the old photo, that were on the left side of Paiges Lane at that end.
Pat Barrow (March 2018)

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