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The Talk of the Town

The Talk of the Town was originally created by combining the Actina Café and Hamby Cafeteria.

46–52 Torbay Road, Paignton, Devon, TQ4 6AL

These licensed premises are an amalgamation of several properties. The larger buildings at the back are Victorian villas, built when Torbay Road was laid out in the 1890s. The two villas were later joined together. After World War II, their front gardens were replaced by shops. In the mid 1990s, the properties were combined and reopened as the Talk of the Town, which retained its name when it became a Wetherspoon in 2010.

Photographs and text about The Talk of the Town.

The text reads: The original Talk of the Town was opened in 1996 by the Elisseos family.

The family’s connection with this site goes back to 1945, when Alexander Elisseos bought the Argosy Café and renamed it the Actina Café.

The Actina Café occupied 46-48 Torbay Road. In 1959 Mr Elisseos bought the neighbouring Bayside Guest House at 50-52 Torbay Road and converted it into the Hamby Cafeteria.

Alexander’s son Perry, his daughter Mrs Sandy Purland and his wife Dorothy Elisseos combined both venues in 1995-6 to create The Talk of the Town.

Above left: This group photo dates from 1952. The two children are Julie Elisseos (left) and Sandy Elisseos, with their mother Dorothy on the right. The other ladies in the photograph are members of staff at the Actina Café.
Above right: Dorothy Elisseos in the park behind the Actina Café.

Photographs and text about Deller’s Café.

The text reads: Deller’s Café was a large building with an ornate entrance and interior. It opened in 1911 (replacing a smaller café of the same name further along Torbay Road). Deller’s was a popular meeting place for many years. This much loved representative of ‘elegant old Paignton’ was demolished in 1965.

Above: Deller’s Café in the 1930s
Below: The café before its demise, in the 1960s.

Text about the Pirates of Penzance. 

The text reads: This famous comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan was first performed at the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, on 30 December 1879. It was officially premiered the next day in New York.

The words were written by WS Gilbert and the music composed by Arthur Sullivan. The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas, which also included HMS Pinafore and The Mikado and enjoyed world-wide success.

Photographs, an illustration and text about Are You Being Served?

The text reads: Rossiter’s well known department store closed its doors for the last time in 2009, after trading in Paignton for more than 150 years. The business was started by two sisters in 1858, as a dressmakers and haberdashers shop.

Rossiter’s was the inspiration for the two writers of the TV sitcom Are You Being Served?. David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd visited the store when they spent a summer season in Paignton in the early 1970s.

Broadcast from 1972 to 1985, the main characters included Mr Humphries (played by John Imran), Mrs Slocombe (Molly Sugden) and Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard). The show had several catchphrases notably “Are you free”, usually said to the staff by Captain Peacock.

Above left: A line up of the full cast
Above centre: ‘A enquiry into trousers’
Above right: ’You couldn’t make it up’
Right: Mrs Slocombe (Molly Sugden) and Mr Humphries (John Inman)
Left: The original Rossiter’s shop opened in 1858.

A photograph looking across Torbay Road towards the Actina Café, 1948.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: