There is, what must have once been, a wonderful house called The White House which stands proudly over looking Barricane Cove in Woolacombe.
It is, now, in a very sorry state. (pictures taken 10 April 2015).
I had to Google it to try and find out who owned it and why it had been left in such a state. There were a few pictures that had been posted to the internet by other people showing the house in a better state of repair and if the dates of the photos are correct the house has deteriorated considerably in the past 12 months.
I couldn't find any details on the internet of the house having been sold in 'recent' years. I know if I Google my own postcode and go into Zoopla I can see house sales going back to 1996. But looking on my phone I couldn't find any sales details for The White House. I have just checked Zoopla again for The White House, The Esplanade, Woolacombe and it lists all the properties sold in the The Esplanade, Woolacombe EX34 7DJ and the list goes back to 1995 but nothing for The White House.
I decide, at the time, to search the name in newspaper articles and since I have a current subscription to Find My Past I started there first. This is what I found.
WORKING Housekeeper wanted by 2 ladies, labour-saving house on 'bus route. N. Devon coast; Aga cooker; comfortable home offered; good references required. Mother and child not objected to - Apply, Colville, White House, Woolacombe. 4618
COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house, on 'bus route; 2 in family; would suit 2 friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury, The White House. Woolacombe, N. Devon
COMFORTABLE HOME with salary offered to run small labour-saving house, on 'bus route; 2 in family. Would suit two friends or mother and child. —Write, Bury The White House, Woolacombe, N Devon. 5623
COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house, on 'bus route; 2 in family; would suit friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon
COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run small lab.-svg. house 'bus route; 2 in family; /would suit 2 friends or mother and child.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon
The Merchant Navy Comforts Service has received a donation of £3 2s. 6d., sent by Miss V. M. Bury, The White House, Woolacombe. The money was realised by the sale of seaweed, which was gathered by a band of willing workers (W.V.S.) organised by Miss Bury to be used in the cultivation of penicillin.
COMF. HOME, with salary, offered to run lab.-svg. house on 'bus route; 2 , in family; would suit 2 friends or mother and child of school age.—Write Miss Bury. The White House. Woolacombe. N. Devon
The N.F.S. has been called to the following chimney fires:...
24th, White House, Woolacombe (Section- Leader Butler)
MOTOR-CARS, &c., FOR SALE
1937 ROVER, 14h.p.; 1 owner; immaculate condn.; 7 tyres (3 new). Nearest offer £450. Taking delivery post-war car.—Miss Bury, The White House, Woolacombe.
Assertion at Mortehoe Parish Council
Grass and Weeds
The council received a letter from Miss Berry, of The White House, Woolacombe, complaining that grass and weeds were growing along the front and on the council's property. It stated that this presented a danger to adjacent gardens, because the seeds might be blown over, and also to children, because glass might become concealed in the grass.
The chairman (Mr. C. G. Yeo) said he had received an offer from a local firm to cut the grass for £3. and it was decided that his should be accepted.
"Whoever accepted the gift of the recreation ground for the parish council accepted a liability." commented the Rev. G. A. Carter. The council were not allowed to build on their land, he said, nor could they be permitted to fence it. The land should have been handed back at the time, but he feared it was now too late.
Mr. P.A. Johnston replied that he would like to see the council own a lot more land on the front. He asked if information about the probability of other land becoming available for purchase
could be obtained.
14 July 1949 - North Devon Journal - Barnstaple, Devon, England
If you search for Miss V. M. Bury on Find My Past it brings up 23 articles with various mentions of Woolcombe, Westerham, District Girl Guides Commissioner and plenty about bird migration. I can imagine her on the balcony of The White House looking for the birds. In fact one of the articles I have just found says:
TITS FROM LUNDY?
While on the subject of migration, I must mention a very interesting note sent to me by Miss V. M. Bury, of Woolacombe. Her garden is on the edge of the cliffs, and on October 12 a party of about a dozen long-tailed tits flew in from the sea and passed inland up the valley. The previous day a westerly gale had been blowing. Whence had these birds come?
I wondered whether they had arrived from Lundy Island, but on looking up the various published lists of birds which have occurred there I can find only one mention on this species. On the two visits, each lasting some days, which I have paid to the island, I did not see it. Or they may have come from Wales, using Lundy as a stepping stone.
Miss Bury also tells me that on October 26 she saw a a party of tits tumbling about high up in the air as rooks do. I do not remember seeing long-tailed behave in this way, and I think it is unusual. But they must have had a tempestuous passage from Lundy - or Wales.
Miss Bury also saw a cock snow-bunting at Mortehoe on November 6. It flew along the road, settling several times twenty yards in front of her. There had been a gale 24 hours earlier. Snow-buntings are usually very tame. I have in years past often watched them picking up grit on the road to the Cat and Fiddle Inn, near Buxton, and they seemed quite indifferent to my presence.
When Google searching for Miss V M Bury, The White House, Woolacombe it comes up with a few references to the List of Members for Lundy and in the 1947 list she is shown as Miss Violet M. Bury, The White House, Woolacombe. The same list mentions - Hon. Margaret Colville, J.P., The White House, Woolacombe. Which I assume is the Colville mentioned in the first article. And makes up the 2nd person mentioned in the situations vacant advertisements.
If you Google "Hon. Margaret Colville" it brings up numerous references. According to a variety of websites the Hon. Margaret Colville was born in 1886. She died on 30 April 1975. Her brother was the Hon. John Gilbert Colville and he had a house around the corner from her in Woolacombe.
I did do loads more research but typically I went off researching on my phone and a month later I try and write it up...