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Sad passing of Deller's cafe

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

  • postcard memories: Two of a collection of postcards showing Deller's Cafe in Torbay Road, Paignton not long after it was built in 1911. The trees and building are long gone

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SOMETIMES modern buildings look worse when we remember what used to be there.

That's the experience of many Paigntonians walking down Torbay Road towards the seafront as they pass the row of shops and flats between Queen's Road and Queen's Park Mansions.

This was the site of Deller's cafe which for generations was at the heart of social life in the Bay.

It was built by William Lambshead in 1911 who had married into the Deller family who ran a grocery shop in Paignton (where Rossiters, now the Factory Shop, stands).

He was a go-ahead kind of chap and expanded the family business.

Deller's was purpose-built and of the highest specification, with special bricks imported from Sweden and Holland.

It did so well, Lambshead opened another in Exeter.

It was a flexible venue, suitable for wedding receptions, dances and morning coffee with a music trio for background music.

In the summer, visitors queued to get tables.

Saturday afternoons were particularly popular with out-of-town shoppers and cadets from the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.

The outstanding event was the New Year's Eve party, which was sold out weeks in advance.

The war changed so much. Exeter Deller's was bombed and never re-opened.

Changing fashion saw fewer people enjoying the genteel delights of the Paignton cafe and in 1965 it was closed and demolished because of lack of business.

Like so many Victorian and Edwardian buildings which were demolished in the 1960s, few valued the architecture.

Now we do, and lament their passing.

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