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Gateway developed the St Thomas shopping centre in 1972. Picturesque shops
and houses were demolished to make way for the shopping centre including two Elizabethan Inns with courtyards,
the Turks Head and Moreton Inn.
The development of the twin Exe Bridges and traffic scheme prompted the clearing of many of the buildings that stood at the end of Cowick Street and Alphington Street in 1960/61/62. An article in the Express & Echo at the time described this demolition as the biggest carried out since the blitz. The first bridge was opened in 1973. The Plymouth Inn, Bullers Arms and the Royal Oak were demolished at this point. The Half Moon stood beside the Royal Oak in Alphington Street according to one of Peter Thomas' photographs. This too was presumably lost at this time of demolition.
From 1682 to the latter part of the C19th, Alphington was famous for its Cattle and Horse Fairs and as a
rendezvous to get transport to Haldon Races. The Horse Fair was the biggest in Devon and drew people from
miles around. A great number of gypsies attended. The fair lasted two days and because of this 23 public
or 'bush' houses were set up to cater for the crowds of people.
The fairs took place on the first Wednedsay after 20th June and also on the Wednesday after Michaelmasday. The 'bush' houses were so called, because when the beer and or cider was ready, a bush was hung outside the establishment. This practice it seems was not limited to Alphington, blackthorn bushes were hung outside many of the ale houses in Exeter in the early C14th and very possibly before.
The Michaelmass Fair was the biggest fair and was known as Goose Fair, frequented by geese eaters. Up to sixty Geese were cooked at the old Admiral Vernon to provide a feast for the visitors. The geese were first boiled and then browned on a spit. The last Cattle & Horse fair was in 1870.
The pubs are listed below, click on each to view.
The Railway Inn
South Devon Railway Inn
Other St Thomas
Ide & Cowley & Exwick