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Locations - Devon





The first cash railway in Devon may have been Halland Davis in Exeter in April 1886, and the second, on a larger scale, was claimed to be at Popham and Radford, Plymouth, in 1890. E.S. Shapley and Sons, Torquay is reported to be the first Rapid Wire installation west of Bristol in 1889.

AXMINSTER. Dawkins Ltd, (drapers), The Square. Operating in 1975 according to article in "This England". "About four or five routes went straight out from the cash desk through a sort of gloomy arch or doorway, after which there was a great mass of bends all crammed together. From these bends the wires went off to the various departments, some down gradients. One route went vertically up from the cash desk and appeared upstairs through a sort of ragged hole in the carpet." David Holt
• "Miss Shepherd ran it and Mr Burrows was the manager." Peggy Baulch in posting to Age Concern Dorchester memories.

BARNSTAPLE. Co-op., 50 High Syreet. "The new stores of the Barnstaple and District Co-operative Societty .. are being formally opened today... A cash railway connects the various showrooms with the Central Office." North Devon Journal, 25 Nov. 1937, p. 8

BARNSTAPLE. Edward Thomas, Joy Street. "Mr. Thomas has the distinction of being the first tradesman to introduce a cash railway into Barnstaple. The customers' money is conveyed in a box by means of a wire to the till." North Devon Journal, 19 Dec. 1907, p. 3

BARNSTAPLE. Lakes. Cash carrier. Marion Bowman in posting to Facebook

BEER. Trumps Stores (grocers). Wire system in 1940s. (Mrs Batchelor)

BIDEFORD. Central Drapery (Walter Chope), High Street. "Mr Walter H. Chope .. has installed the Lamson Cash Railway Syatem into his premises... We believe this is the first of the kind introduced into the town." North Devon Gazette, 15 Oct. 1907, p. 5

BIDEFORD. Farleigh's Stores. "The spacious and commanding premises, No. 82, High Street, Bideford .. is today being opened as Farleigh's Stores, an up-to-date emporium embracing in its departments the businesses of general grocers, provision merchants, patent medicine vendors and dealers in household requisites... The overhead cash railway system has been installed to the various counters." Bideford Weekly Gazette, 12 Nov. 1907, p. 4

BUDLEIGH SALTERTON. Perriam Stores. "The shop, which was in Fore Street on the site now used by Spar, was established in 1812. When Jim took it over it was still a traditional grocer's shop with .. staff .. sending their payment by 'cash railway' across the ceiling to the cashiers' desk." Exmouth Journal, 25 Apr. 2013. "I believe this equipment is now in the Fairlynch Museum." Ibid. 4 Jul. 2013

DEVONPORT. Co-op. "Then across to the Co-op, a shop which I liked because of its catapulted overhead cash dispensers that whizzed back and forth to the cash desk." WW2 People's War Website

EXETER. Ferris's, Paris Street. "I also recall the wires overhead all leading to the cashier - I was too young to work out the mechanical intricacy of the system but I think little cylinders were fired across from the various counters to the cashier." RichardH in posting to Exeter Memories website, 21/9/12

EXETER. Hadland Davis, 233, High Street. "There is something which smacks of cheeriness in the sound of a 'cash railway' nowaday. Such a railway .. has been established at the shop of our enterprising fellow-citizen, Mr. Hadland Davis, of 233, High-street, Exeter... The railway consists of a double line of rails suspended from the ceiling. The 'up' lines have a decline towards the central depôt (which is the cashier's desk), and the down lines slant the reverse way... The railway is the only one this side of Bristol and Mr. Davis is to be congratulated on his enterprise." Express and Echo, 14 Apr. 1886, p. 1
• Percy Hexter is favoured with instructions .. to sell by auction .. the valuable trade fittings, furniture, & china (at Messrs. Hadland Davis): 5 Mahogony Counters, Cash Desk, Lamson's Overhead Cash Railway. Devon and Exeter Gazette, 8 Jan. 1926, p. 1

EXETER. Pinder & Tuckwell, opposite Marks & Spencers. Was sold to Burton group and retained the Lamson tube system. The Famous

EXETER. Stillmans. "The great improvements made include the new Lamson Pneumatic Tube System." Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 13 Apr. 1933, p. 16

EXETER. Waltons (dept. store), corner of Sidwell and Queen Street. Vacuum system in 1950s. Posting to newsgroup, 21 Nov. 1996 compares it to packets travelling round a local area network. "The money taken at the cash desk used to get sent up to the cashier's office by air tube." Bradninch website: Then & Now

EXETER. Wreford & Son (drapery and outfitting), 174 Fore Street. "For convenience S. W. and Son are now having the 'cash railway' fixed, the length of their premises demonstrating its advantages in the saving of time and labour." Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 24 Dec. 1891, p. 9
• "During a 'rush' the rolling stock on this financial railway system may be seen traversing in all directions bearing burdens of bullion deposited from the dainty fingers of fair attendants to that Cerberus, known as the cashier, who keeps jealous guard over the treasury." Express and Echo, 21 Mar. 1892, p. 1

HONITON. ? "Remember being fascinated with the Lamson Cash Railway in a shop in Honiton used to whizz cash to the cash room and return the receipt and change. Pretty sure it used brass pots that screwed onto the carrier." John Connett

ILFRACOMBE. Luxmores. Cash carrier. Jackie Atyeo and Stephanie Beard in postings to Facebook

PAIGNTON. Co-op, Palace Avenue/Winner Street. Wire system in early 1970s. Andrew Neil in posting to Facebook
• "We did most of our big shopping at the Co-op... Cash whizzed overhead in little containers on wires. The money from various sections eventually arrived at the cashier's cubicle." Torbay Express, 10 Oct. 1987, p. 15
• "In the Co-op (renamed Plymco) Mam was doing some of her Christmas shopping and money was whizzing high in little containers on wires from tills to office." Torbay Express, 5 Dec. 1997, p. 21

PAIGNTON. Rossiters (drapers). The money and bill were sent up to the office in the top of the building "through a chute". Closing Jan. 2009 after 150 years. Paul O'Grady show, 28/11/08

PLYMOUTH. Co-op, St Budeaux. Cash carrier. David Barkell in posting to Facebook.

PLYMOUTH. Costers clothing store, New George Street. Pneumatic tube system. Site now occupied by W.H.Smith. Cyber-Hertiage website

PLYMOUTH. Popham and Radford, Bedford Street. "Messrs. Popham and Radford .. are the first business firm in the Three Towns and the second in Devonshire to adopt the latest American novelty known as the Lamson Cash Railway... It saves the customers' and the assistants' time... The money is put inside the ball, and before the astonished customer has quite realised what is being done, the ball has travelled to the cash desk, been relieved of its pecuniary cargo, and returned to the assistant... Messrs. Popham and Radford have ten such stations, nine of which are served by balls and one by a wire arrangement." Western Morning News, 20 Jan. 1890, p. 5

PLYMOUTH. Seymour and Co., Union/Manor Streets. "Messrs. Seymour and Company have entirely reconstructed their business premises... A cash railway enables them to speedily give change to customers in the most remote part of the buildings." Western Morning News, 28 Mar. 1899, p. 5

SOUTH MOLTON. Co-op. "A cash railway system has been installed." Co-operative Union. Forty-ninth Annual Co-operative Congress, 1917, p. 487

TEIGNMOUTH. Fraser's, Wellington Street. (Became Hitchens.) "I remember the overhead wires that carried the money pods for paying. They used to travel to the office and return with change and receipts in them!! Long before debit and credit cards." Ann Gibbons on Facebook

TORQUAY. Cornford & Sons, 68-70 Union Street. "The new 'Rebesi' pneumatic minor tube system of cash railway .. is installed from the Upstair Departments to the Cashier's Desk, and enables customers' change to be given with the greatest speed." Torbay Express, 4 Mar. 1932, p. 3

TORQUAY. Durbin & Co. "A new cash railway has been provided, which must greatly relieve the assistants, a long journey being avoided to the cash desk." Torquay Times, 6 Jul. 1906, p. 5

TORQUAY. R. Grant. "Meteor Cash Carrier; two stations; cost £30, good condition; open to offer. - R.Grant, Torquay. " Daily Mirror, 12 Aug. 1915, p.11

TORQUAY. E.S. Shapley and Sons. "One of the more recent of these extensions is that of the premises of Messrs E. S. Shapley and Sons, grocers and provision merchants... Here, too, has just been introduced Lamson's rapid cash system, an ingenious invention consisting of travelling cash boxes which are propelled along wires by means of a fixed catapult arrangement... Messrs Shapley's establishment is the only one west of Bristol in which the new cash system is in operation." Western Morning News, 16 Dec. 1889, p. 5

TORQUAY. Mogridge's, Union Street. Later became Menzies. "Money was  transported in pots along wires suspended from the ceiling, with the Lamson pneumatic tube system later installed for discreet cash-taking and change-giving." Posting on Facebook, 14 Feb. 2016
• [Presumably the same] "Sale of the draper's valuable shop fittings... Cash railway and fittings." Torquay Times, 9 Mar. 1956, p. 6

TORQUAY. Williams & Cox (dept. store), 12 The Strand. Closed in 1981. Photo of pneumatic tube system at cash office in Torquay museum. Posting to Facebook, 2 Oct. 2020

TOTNES. Co-op, Fore Street. Wire system with about six stations. "When the Paignton Co-op Society was taken over by CRS, we lost our tube system in Totnes." Herald Express (Torquay) 22 Nov. 1983, p. 4. (The description is of a wire system.)