63. The Bromley’s Sign
Bromley’s, the name of the museum tea room, pays homage to a long-standing, successful and popular business which was at the heart of Barnstaple’s social life for 60 years and was known to Barumites and visitors alike. When the restaurant closed in 1984, the sign which for years was to be seen over the entrance on the Strand, was given to the museum. It has now been refurbished and hangs resplendent in red and gold on the wall of the museum tea room.
Bromley’s was founded by Arthur George Bromley in 1924. By 1930 the business had been joined by Frank Bromley and his wife Joan. There was a shop and restaurant on the High Street with a ballroom behind and an entrance on the Strand. Here there was a snack bar, handy to the old bus station and popular with bus drivers. The ballroom hosted very popular tea dances on Saturdays with an orchestra playing music in the Palm Court style. On market days, the local farmers would come in for a roast lunch, in winter dinners and dances were held for local organisations and the ballroom hosted many a wedding. There are many people in North Devon who will have fond memories of this popular venue.
The Bromley Family continued in business until 1984, when Bromley’s was wound down to a bakery at the end of the High Street, now Warrens. The old entrance on the Strand is now the entrance to Wetherspoons’ pub and restaurant, The Watergate.