Plymouth Photographs

the past is only over our shoulder and a heartbeat behind

click to enlarge: Knobbly knees at The Grotto, Freathy Beach, Whitesands; the heartbeats, and the scene is unchanged after nigh 100 years

e-mail Steve Johnson

We do like to be beside the seaside....we do now and we did then. We are on that lovely sandy beach of Freathy, "bucket and spade land" to generations of Plymouthians. These photographs are stunning, you will love them. Looking at them fills me with an overwhelming sense of sadness. For these youngsters are now all dead. But the beach is the same.

Donkeys on the beach, what a shot, and another, what a period piece, but they are all this good. Playing in the surf with Rame Head behind, on the rocks - is`nt he dashing...what ho! Look at this little lot....are they..err...learning to swim? Where did she get that hat, where did she get that hat?

Image of a long gone sun set behind Rame Head, taken from Penlee Point.

Back on the beach again, but this time a different beach. Wembury, to the east of Plymouth. Just look at these two this before or after a dip? This view in a country lane shows the Mewstone in the distance. Here we see Wembury Church and mill, the mill is now a cafe. These girls are all dressed up in front of Wembury Church, St. Werburghs. This lady, walking in a country lane, I think it`s near Wembury..I may be wrong.

Still keeping a watery theme, these youngsters are playing around in a boat on the tidal river Yealm, between the villages of Noss Mayo and Newton Ferrers, also to the east of Plymouth. As to where this a mystery, just as much as this one is.

Still on the mystery list is this gorgeous scene of a little light reading by the beach.(see back page ad for Fry`s chocolate)

Looking at this little lot we know where we are. These two ladies are sitting on the rocks at Mothecombe, here is Hallsands, both in the South Hams district to the east of Plymouth. Most of Hallsands has since been washed away by rough seas and storms. This fine building is Budshead Mill, a tidal mill at the head of Budshead Creek, which is part of Ernesettle Creek, which again forms part of Tamerton Lake. All has vanished now, except a little of the sea wall.

Lots of kids in these photos, Victorians and Edwardians had a rosy eyed vision of them. We know they are monsters...I certainly know that for a fact! This next clutch of photos make them look lovely...I`ll take two please - don`t bother to wrap them...I `ll eat them as I go! Salt and vinegar? What a beautiful toddler! ..what dolls. Could this be the definitive posh girl? This is a girl in a shed...( same shed, father and son) and on a bike. These lads have made their own "hobby" horse. No Playstations, N 64`s, or PC`s for this trio - just a hoop. What are these two up to?

This one is called on the album leaf "one woman power cart", actually it`s a Tate and Lyle sugar crate. Bridesmaids today sadly seldom look like these two little ladies. At least the guests were spared the video! These different bridesmaids have bows in their hair. This superb and charming study is entitled "Despair on a pail." What can I say, I know you love it! Print it out, pin it up, keep our heritage alive. This little fella goes by the name of sailor boy...from, as it seems, HMS Dreadnought. "Scamps" says it all for this cheeky faced cherubs.First love, well maybe, this charming cameo is close by the village of Sowton in South Devon. Any toy collector would go bananas over this little tikes` playthings. Two small girls by a lake, sadly much camera shake, but perhaps still of interest. A horse drawn tram is seen here in Ebrington Street, while a girl looks at the photographer.

The scene here is at Postbridge on Dartmoor, the two boys are trying to catch a fishy for their dishy. This is a charming scene of father and son, note shotgun and "go-cart?!" Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool, asks these two young and proper Plymouth maids. The location is on the townward slope of Plymouth Hoe when sheep would have grazed there.

With all this talk of youth, lets have a look at this....age and youth. There are a couple of youngsters in this stunning farm scene. Still with things agricultural, here is rather a lot of hay, and another lot of hay passing the old Toll house at the Plymouth end of Laira Embankment. Back on the farm....and we moan about our water rates! Perhaps if one of these were in love, the milk would not curdle!

Still with all things rural: sawing down a tree,.. ploughing,.... horse and cart, a rather large scythe, a lovely picnic, ..or is this the "famous five"...or rather their parents!?...a Sexton from the Tamar Valley....and his broom (and his beard), and a beautiful study of shade and leaf. Still another picnic and a motor trip via a narrow country lane, that registration plate "CO 1700" would be much in demand today.

This country scene is now slap in the middle of urban Mount Gould. Still in Plymouth, this is the Park Keepers Lodge at Devonport Park, with a tram and Devonport Technical School in the background. Here we see the wall that went around Millbay Barracks on the Hoe. Just look at the adverts in that view and even more so in this shot of the area around Drake Street in central Plymouth. A fine smart couple seem to have noticed the photographer as they parade in front of Smeatons Tower on the Hoe. Plymouth pub goers of today may recognise this scene as the Mussel Inn ( may have changed name recently) at Down Thomas on the road to Wembury, just to the east of Plymouth. An early car disturbs what must have been a distinctly quiet world as it motors over Stonehouse Bridge, here a tram runs close along past what is now the Government surplus store "Goulds" in Ebrington Street, ( once had been an "electric" cinema, at the time this shot was taken it looks as if it was the Tramway Offices). Beaumont House, set in that beautiful squirrel haven and conker fest land of Beaumont Park, still exists, just along at the end of Ebrington Street. Recently it has been converted and had extensions added - but it is still a lovely building. Where is this steam roller?..or where are these men digging a hole? ...we do not know, and the same goes for this steam truck? from the Corporation of Devonport, and here we should say "honk-honk" look at that horn! Even today a Plymouth City Bus route runs not too far from this tramway, and it`s still the No. 48 (South) Keyham.

Sadly all these are of unknown location, could be local, who knows, but they are all superb pictorial views of an age long gone...long gone....less than 100 years! a beach,....a cove,......crab pots,....a donkey,......a pipe smoking man,.....the Cobbler (what a photograph)..and just where is this waterside house with a lady "hiding!" The interior of my house does not look like this, although those that have been here may tell you there is a certain resemblance! We do know where this pub is. It is at Hexworthy on Dartmoor and is called the Forest Inn, same name then too. We also know about this view. It is much earlier than those we have seen already and shows a scene in Devonport Dockyard. The vessel is HMS Iron Duke, named so after the Duke of Wellington.

Still with mysteries, look at these wonderful portraits.....1........2.........3.......who is she? What is the story behind this, it must be a wartime loss. When, where and how? It seems as if it is the memorial to a loved one who was lost in action, we see a battleship, a submarine, a French flag, Japanese flag, and a Union Jack, a sword and photos. In the First World War, these countries were allies, so perhaps this is when, but who and what? While we are asking questions, who and when and where are these three clowns. They tote banjos and are on the pavement outside of Polkingbourne and Co. and Kitt and Co. Stockbrokers....hhmmmnn. The woman crossing the road always catches my eye, ...where can she be off to?

Back in old Plymouth town we see a bowler hatted man strutting across what I believe to be Bedford Street, and here it seems as if the circus is coming to town. This view is a little easier, it is George Street with Derry`s Clock...known as "the four faced deceiver" ...called thus as it had the habit of each of it`s four clock faces telling a different time. Close by the clock were the well known underground loos, that`s Brit speak for toilets...I recall these being there in the late 50`s and early 60`s. A sunny day in Old Town Street sees the sun blinds on the shop fronts being out. However when I was a boy, Westwell Street Gardens, in the area of our current Civic Centre ornate pools, serving as a graveyard and a park, was well gone into the mists of time. See the large roof top sign for "School of Art." Derry`s Clock again. Still in Plymouth, but now lost - where is this? It is a view taken at 7.20 showing Brendons Showrooms, and the premises of S. Ward and a mighty fine horse. This lovely shot shows the "Unity Inn" on a corner with Park Street, the view carrying on down to an intersection with Old Town Street - we see it serves "Burton Worthington Pale Ales" and is in the licenceship of E.F. Palmer. Today we have a pub called the Unity, I think it is the same one, just an isolated remnant of history, the corner surviving while all around has changed. This large wall used to run around the outside perimeter of Millbay Barracks, in West Hoe Road.

Ebrington House, at the corner of Old Town Street, is the premises of T. Geach, Tailor, but not for long. A bill poster in the window tells us that the premises are "coming down" and they will be relocating to 82, Treville Street. Number 122 Old Town Street is the home of Stidstons the tailors, while no. 78 is Edward Parkhouse with "Best`s" Old Four Castles public house, with "Good Stabling." Sharing the building is R. Chambers, carpenter. This shot is all adverts - nearly. At the corner of Old Town Street, and across the road is a famous old Plymouth Pub, the Noah`s Ark, the name still lives on, but in Union Street nowadays. The large central building seen here is the Prudential Building, the leather goods shop, Webb and Son is at right. Sussex Gardens was one of those places of tranquil retreat in busy Plymouth, being close to the town centre, it must have been popular. Here we see some of the locals perhaps of Sussex Street. This appears to be a focal point of the local Red Cross, the "Three Towns Division" of the British Red Cross Society, but where is it?

Stidstons is at a different location here, wherever it is , it is no. 70. Neighbouring it are G.H.Goss - printer, Williams and Sons - tailors, E.A.Luke, and J. Barge - chemist.

Ebrington House, seems to have moved, and certainly is not the same building...was this the same site redeveloped? W.H.Lake, outfitters and supplier of macintoshs in all shapes and sizes of Ebrington House is on Ebrington Street. This building is still there and at the moment sells hiking clothes under a different name. The advert high up is for "London and Manchester Life Assurance Co." At left bottom seems to be a advertising poster proclaiming a speech or function by Rugg Monk...this may be the photographer, so what is he talking about..I can just make out...capitalists, this is a great close-up of these posters. This is a view of the same premises but much further back.

Not too far away from these "loos" is the Guildhall and the principal church of Plymouth - St. Andrews church. Notice the overhead electric tram wires. This view if taken today would still have St. Andrews church in it, as well as Plymouth Guildhall, however the open area in the foreground would be a car park -and being Plymouth, a very expensive one, calculated at great public expense to deter shoppers from Plymouth - and send them to Exeter instead! This shows an amazing collection of posters and adverts on the wall of St. Andrews Hall - still actively used today. It is a large file 250k or so, in order that you can see these posters. They include, "Samuel Plimsoll`s Advice for Seamen,"...."Free Education by Unionist Government,"..."One Flag, One Voice,One Leader,"...."Trade Unionist" and more. A street running up from the Barbican area of Notte Street to the Guildhall area is Catherine Street. E. Stephens was a "pork butcher" at 7, Notte Street. In this view of Catherine Street, we can see on a building down a lane " Mathews Confectionery and Restaurant Establishment - Machine Bread Bakery - 67 High Street - Manufactory for Jam and Sweets - Higher Lane." I`m again not too sure of this one, somewhat earlier I feel, and is the area to the south(ish) of St. Andrews church, could it be Palace Court? This most certainly is Palace Court. On the south side of the church is the Prysden House, one of the few historic buildings in Plymouth not demolished by men and women with degrees and no brains! It looked superb then, and it still does now - touch wood! This is a fine few of the Guildhall area, note "manure"broom?? leaning up against the right pillar, and another equally fine view. Remaining in this area we have a fine lamp on the corner wall of the Swan Hotel, which still remains, but recently has changed it`s name a few times, at the moment I`m not sure what it`s called. The building across from it looks rather Plymouth Museums fine and excellent, sadly small, Merchant`s House. I expect I am wrong...again. Back to the "loos" yet again, we see the "London and South Western Railway Offices" and further away we can just read "The Domestic Bazaar - any article 6d." The fine building dominating this view, which is still close to Derry`s Clock, is the Theatre Hotel, with the Athenaeum at picture right.

Still more posters (300k) or smaller 70k here. This seems to be the new bank premises for the "Consolidated Bank of Cornwall" "Messrs. Bolitho and Co. Ltd." "British Empire Life Office" with C.H. Tozer and Son being the contractors.

There seems to have been a serious fire here at Spooners Corner, Spooner and Co. was a famous department store in Plymouth until the 1980`s when it was swallowed by Debenhams.

Watt`s Globe Hotel is seen here, not sure of the street, at left is the Cornish Arms, middle distance E. Dingle, while at right we have the famous Goodbody`s Cafe. Now, wow, this next one is 300k because the posters on the wall of the run down and by the look of it, soon to be demolished Globe Hotel, just have to be seen. Really, far too many to mention, get your magnifying glass out. Is that guy collecting horse manure?

The Rose and Crown was a very well known Plymouth public house in Old Town Street. Now long gone, all we have is the memory and photos such as these. It sports publicity for "Dewar`s Perth Whisky", but I can`t work out where the name "Kissell" comes into it. This photo seems to indicate that the place is up for sale..for demolition and redevelopment? In this more panoramic view of Old Town Street and the Rose and Crown, we see on the left of the Rose and Crown "C. Avery - Ham and Bacon Factory - Meat Smoked for Families, and further left H.E.Prouts Pianoforte Warehouse. At the far end of the road we see "A. Geach - tailor."

Umbrellas are repaired here at "Limpenny"...this is an almost identical shot, see which one you prefer. There is an advert for "Jaegers" clothes, a firm that only disappeared from Plymouth in mid 1998.Derry`s Clock predominates in both these photographs.

For many years I have wondered what is going on in this scene just outside Plymouth`s main railway station, which at the time was called North Road Station. Firstly we see troops marching out of the station. Then we have this busy scene. It is looking down the hill, down toward Pennycomequick, and underneath the rail bridge that carries the main line down to Penzance. A steam locomotive is passing the signal box and just starting to cross the bridge...I think it is a "T 9" locomotive. On the picture left is "Haddon`s Bayswater Temperance Hotel," while in the distance on the far side of the bridge is the long vanished toll house on Alma Road. What I like about this photo has always been what I call the photo within the photo, see what I mean.

Also confusing, or at least it how I can relate the views to todays topography are there two photos of the "Shaky Bridge" area and hillside housing near Camel`s Head Creek, and Weston Mill. Despite knowing the place well, I just cannot get my bearings on this vanished landscape of sea, hedge, railway and homes.

Here we see the harbourside at the Barbican, Island House is centre with its "v- upside down" shaped roof, the advertising at right says "Luscombe, Bellamy and Co. Ship`s Brokers" and below it we see the offices of "French Transatlantic Mail-Steamship Company." This is an almost identical shot, but earlier. We see on the left of Island House "?Eatings and Board(ings)" and at the ground floor of Island House itself "Paints and Oils."

This almost painting like photograph is of a man and woman on a roof "somewhere" on the Barbican. I have scanned it "small 120k" and "big 300k" so that if you like it, you can get a really good print out of it. This view would be toady close to the Mayflower Steps and just across from the National Marine Aquarium and pedestrian swingbridge.We see the Brunswick Hotel.

This was the scene at the Barbican`s Southside Street, in many ways it is just the same today. Does it say "King &Co.Brewery" above the arch? This is a similar view.

I seem pretty certain that this is Looe Street taken looking down the hill from it`s intersection with Buckwell Street. These four men and their wagon load of sacks must be in the same area...or so!? This is Frenchie "Onion Seller" by the look of things, I feel he could be in Looe Street also, but at the bottom, looking up, or certainly a similar and close by street.

The scene down at the fishquay looks a little ...ah..slimy!, wet, slippery, busy, hectic, nautical and full of boats....well what can I say, it`s much the same today, except it`s moved across to the other side of the harbour. Still on a fishy tale, we travel back up to Dartmoor, in the region of Drake`s Leat, which is not to far from the main Plymouth reservoir at Burrator. When I first saw these, I thought it was the still practised ritual of "Ye fishyne fyste" feast, which is done on the leat to celebrate the bringing of clean drinking water to Plymouth in the late 1500`s. However with more consideration, I think it`s just ..plain `ol fishin! 1.......2..... Burrator reservoir these days is a very popular sunday drivers destination for ice cream and clotted cream, and has also been so, especially as once you could get a train out from Plymouth, alas no longer. Once upon a time there was the village of Burrator, complete with church, now it is all flooded, the valley it was in forming what is now Burrator reservoir....local lore says you can here the church bell toll g from deep at the bottom of the reservoir. The construction of this reservoir, the damming of a stream and the flooding of the valley...along with the compulsory evacuation of local residents, was a truly major civil engineering scheme. Oh and here are the pics of its construction, or at least the dam....1..........2.........3..........4..........5........6...

In the countryside still are these charming "playing in the hay" scenes...but where, and where are these youngsters picking primroses?

Some more slightly earlier photos now, by unknown and varied photographers. A spanking new looking Eddystone Lighthouse, it being the one designed by Douglas, note the man fishing with a rod. The stump of the Smeaton Lighthouse, which the Douglas replaced, stands alongside, being dismantled. Still at sea we have a fine and very rare photo of HMS Hotspur, HMS Warrior and the hulk of HMS Canopus which was in the tidal Tamar estuary.

While still up the Hamoaze, this being the name for the tidal Tamar between the Dockyard and Brunel`s Royal Albert rail bridge, we could row across to Millbrook Lake and look to our left and see the charming (still is today) little waterside hamlet of Empacombe, it has a "folly" there of a very ornate "castle like" facade to a walled garden.

If we had made this trip by sea, we would have passed Millbay Docks, or as it was called at the time, - the "Great Western Docks." , in these views we have Cork (Millbay) Pier at right, Princess Pier, centre, with Trinity Pier at left. This arrangement is much the same today except that Princess Pier has given way to posh Marina, which has caused ordinary Plymouthians to be barred from fishing in a spot where they have fished for generations, in order to give some rich kids "privacy." The "Camber" is much the same today too, it being across the bay from the piers. These days it forms part of the Royal Marine Barracks at Stonehouse and provides facilities for waterborne activities.

Until the late 1960`s Millbay Docks was connected to the main rail network, although in the latter days it was only a freight service and a shunter. At it`s peak Millbay was a railhead for an express train service to London, beating those to London who travelled by sea further up to Southampton. There was a railhead actually in the docks, close to Cork (Millbay) Pier, however just a little while further inland was the spacious Millbay Station which was knocked down in the early 1970`s, however the gothic Duke of Cornwall Hotel, seen in the background here, still proudly stands and serves as a great and famous hotel. From this station the Great Western Railway crossed Plymouth`s Union Street by a large and very prominent bridge. This view of that bridge sees us looking down, west, along Union Street. We see an interested person watching the photographer from his high up vantage point. On the right is a "B&B"....bed and breakfast, while on the left is Birkhead`s Union Road Wine and Spirit Merchant, seemingly owned by a J.C Crocker....note bike on right. Looking at right angles to Crocker`s, we see what fine buildings were there. This view is taken looking the other way, that is from the other side of the bridge, looking to the town centre, that is east. The rail bridge can be seen in the background at right. The shop at right in which the two ladies, one with a child in arms, are window shopping is of interest. I can`t get the exact name, it seems to be "???Penny Bazaar"...but at least the shopper will not be "pressed to buy".....what a relief.

Drakes Island, just off Millbay Docks to the south, is a jewel in Plymouth Sound. In this fine view taken from Mt. Edgecumbe, the island looks very bleak as this identical view today would show the island covered in trees. Unfortunately this view of West Hoe, that is the west part of Plymouth Hoe, just misses the island out, but does show the quarry sites being filled in prior to development. The view of this today is much the same, with West Hoe Pier, and it`s little harbour area having remained unchanged. Here we see what looks like thousands of spectators watching some water sport, probably a swimming race, or as it would have been called a "swimming regatta."

This very white and ornate looking construction on Plymouth Hoe still stands, unchanged. It is not too hard to see why it goes by the name of "the wedding cake." Just "up the Hoe" from the wedding cake stands a fine row of buildings. One of them, 3, Elliot Terrace, is the official residence of Plymouth`s Lord Mayor. Most of these still stand, except for the buildings at far left, which were the home of the Royal Western Yacht Club,and were bombed in the Plymouth Blitz. The area it once occupies remains as a wild plot, one of Plymouth`s few remaining "bomb sites." Plymouth Pier was completely erased by the Blitz, and if it hadn't have been, I expect Plymouth would have got rid of it anyway. This view is an early view of the pier, while this one shows later construction work having been done, with Drakes Island visible, Mount Edgecumbe, and new building work having been done at West Hoe.

Down on the Barbican this view of the "Custom House" is much the same, what I find of interest are the steps down to the change at all. Many visitors will walk up this street as they look in vain for Plymouth`s Heritage..."where is the Sir Francis Drake Museum..." or " where is the exhibition about the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers"..........answer to both.."there is none and never will be, because for generations Plymouth has not recognised it`s heritage". Despite it`s name, New Street, is one of the oldest on the Barbican. On the left in this view is the Elizabethan House, a small but fine preserved building that Plymouth struggles to keep open part of the year - anywhere else it would be open all hours and fully equipped. Further along New Street we have huge old "bonded warehouses" where in years long passed, goods awaiting customs duties would be stored. Many of these still exist today, although no longer used for that purpose...or as one expects in heritage-o-phobic Plymouth....plain not used and derelict . The one in the photo, or at least part of it is something to do with S. Martin, Carpenter.

The scene here is Millbridge. There used to be a toll house here and you had to pay to cross the toll road which actually was a dam across a tidal estuary, with a tidal mill. Here is the sea side of that dam and mill. On the left here is the toll house, note the large advert for Moon and Sons Musical Instruments. The wall of the Royal Naval Hospital can be seen in the distance. It is still there now, but the RNH is not. Then one day the tolls were scrapped and Millbridge became "Toll Free." This appears to be the day when the tolls were lifted at Millbridge, the gathered crown includes civic dignitaries with their ceremonial maces, as well as Joe Public and Boy Scouts. This view here seems to include the same people, doing the same thing - but in a different place. I think it could be the lifting of tolls at Laira Bridge - is that the roof of Prince Rock school in the mid-centre left distance, if so, then we are looking toward Plymouth Town Centre.

More uncertain locations now. This is "Kitts" and on the wall is "Great Western Railway Receiving Office for Parcels - No Charge for Booking" then we have "Hendersons - Vegetable and Flower Seeds" with on the left "H. & C. Pearce Tea and Coffee. Moving around the corner to the right, we see the premises of "Haddy" and "H.E. Trewartha." This rather mysterious alley is a total mystery to me. The same goes for the premises of "Maynard and Son."

This is easy, it is Plymouth`s Pannier Market...1.........2.......3......

Mutley Plain

Mutley Plain today is much as it was, until recently it was the last refuge of "family / independent businesses" in Plymouth. Recently however "theme" pubs and take -away food outlets have appeared. In a city as full of hills as Plymouth, at least no one can say that Mutley Plain is`nt flat, very flat. These two photos show ice cream sellers pushing their "churns" on wheels, I think it`s at Mutley, but of course I may well be wrong. Note "The Mutual Co-operative..." stencilled on one of the carts and J. Roberts(on) on a shop sunblind at right. What`s going on here? Haven't a clue, note sign saying "Voddon and Johns."

If we wanted to walk down to the main Plymouth town centre, either then or now, we would pass on our left the world renowned Plymouth City Museum (Cottonian Collection). Still a fine building today.Note advertising sign at left..."New Palladium (cinema / electric theatre)"..."Temptations" and "Woman to Woman." Just more or less directly across Tavistock Road (and up a wee bit) from the museum was Sherwell Church. It is much the same now, except that Plymouth University has taken over the church building as a lecture theatre, and the church holds regular services in it`s adjacent hall. It must be said that this conversion must rank as one of the best and most tasteful conversions of an old building ever to be seen, anywhere, so its full marks to the "Uni." Just pretty much next door would have been the "Dartmoor Inn." The edge of Sherwell Church can just be seen at the right of the photograph.

Carrying on past the Dartmoor Inn, down toward Plymouth town centre we would pass on our right this time, the same side as Sherwell Church the Plymouth Technical School. Today the University of Plymouth occupies this space. The school is the large building at left in this view looking up Tavistock Road, the spire of Sherwell Church can be seen in distance; and at distance right we see the fine buildings of Queen Anne terrace, today the home of solicitors and estate agents. Note the advertising hoarding for "Oatmeal Stout at 2/6d a dozen, Plymouth Breweries." There must be some sort of celebration going on here as the Union Jacks are out, even on the tram which is running the route from Compton to the Theatre. The photo shows the Technical School to full effect.

In the general area of Tavistock Road, we see the premises of R.S. Luke, and J.N. Ham Surgical Boot makers. This looks an an incredibly busy scene around the Tavistock Road area. Here we look down Tavistock Road to the town centre direction, with the Technical School on the right. This is a little up from the Technical School, and on the other side of the road, looking down in the direction of the town centre. this appears to be further up, looking down, with the Technical School on the right. Lastly up from the Technical School, on the same side, looking up to the direction of Mutley Plain, with the spire of Sherwell Church in the distance...although I am really a little lost here.

This is Bedford Street and we see the premises of "E. Dingle", "Vickery & Co." and "Webb - Trunk and Bag Makers."

Now the real unknowns, I am really lost, but they are still fine photographs......1.......2........3..........4.......5 ?Drake street?.........6........7..?High Street?.........8.........9.......10.........11.........12

Houndiscombe Farm

In Plymouth today, just up from Plymouth Rail Station is Houndiscombe Road. Few will realise that it has origins in a farm on that area in past years. Today there is no trace of that beautiful farm building, and what of these two youngsters - what would they think of this are they jumped out of the way of the no.8 bus?! Looking at these photos, I just can`t help but think - what lies behind those windows?


Today Eggbuckland is a massive area of housing. Not so long ago it was a quiet little village with a lovely old church just outside of Plymouth. As a boy in the early 1960`s, Eggbuckland seemed to be "out in the sticks", not now though. This photo shows Eggbuckland Vicarage, this one ?villagers? and this one the village homes and Eggbuckland Church.

Marsh Mills

No matter how hard I try, I just seem to be unable to work out the orientation of this view of Marsh Mills or Crabtree, just on the banks of the tidal river Plym. I used to think that the fortification on the top was what was to latterly become Efford Fort, but now I`m not so sure.

Meavy - Sheepstor

Sheepstor is a charming moorland village, built of Dartmoor granite. Most of these houses will be seen to be the same today, huddling below the massive granite bulk of Sheepstor, it basks in sunshine of a day long passed. Meavy just 10 minutes drive away is also very much unchanged, at least in the central village green area - with church spire and that so famous 500 year old oak tree.

Bere Alston

A very nice street scene, showing the still popular Victoria Inn.

Bombed and Blitzed Plymouth 1940`s

Not really "in keeping" as some academic dip-sticks might say, but too good to leave out are these; they show a city centre all but completely erased.

I know I will have made many errors, or not explained a very important point, but before you write and moan, just what have you done to bring Plymouth`s heritage to the world, when you moan, send me the URL of your heritage web page, so I may learn from you...ta

e-mail Steve Johnson

Many of these photographs can be traced to be the work of Plymouth`s Rugg Monk, a prolific photographer around the turn of the century, these and others have turned up in farmhouse attics, mid Devon antique shops, either as glass plate, album print, or loose print, as well as local museums and libraries. Mr Rugg Monk must have made a lot of prints which he seems to have freely distributed. Diligent searching and front door knocking turns most things well does the post, both paper and electronic.

I hope the photographers of all these would be proud to show their work to the world....let`s hope so.

My thanks are due to all of you who have helped me form this tremendously important collection of the visual history of Plymouth. Most of all I thank those early photographers, with glass plate and wooden camera, their labours have not been in vain. They are keeping Plymouth`s history alive and showing it off free to the world, schools,old and young - all will find something in these images of Plymouth`s past.

Special thanks to Gerald Barker of Plymouth

not forgetting the cat.....if you like cats, you must see this, it`s an oldie photo too.

link to more of Steve Johnson`s sites - all as good as this one

and here is a little treat for all of you who made it to the bottom of this page

Kids on the Hoe

Barbican kids

Sutton Pool

Sails on Sutton Pool

Wembury Beach

Kids on Wembury Beach

Fishing boats on Sutton Pool

View of Sutton Pool

Cremyll Beach

Unknown Local Farm?

Unknown Local Farm? the snow

Fishing Vessel PH 397

Fishing Vessel PH 229

The Fleet Sails Out

The Fleet Sails Out 2

The Fleet Sails Out 3

Upon a Fallen Brough

Portrait of a Girl

Dawe`s Swan Hotel at North Corner Pontoon

Two Fishing Vessels

Scene at Mount Batten Breakwater

any ideas?

any ideas?

The Cattewater

Misty Scene on the Cattewater

Yacht in Sutton Pool

Boating in the Hamoaze - RNAD Ernesettle occupies the whole area in the background in present times, and this is a close up of that lovely little house

Paddlers on a Rocky Shore

e-mail Steve Johnson

return to main page