At one time or another the Three Towns – Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport – appear to have sported three different Prince Regent pubs, although seemingly none of them co-existed, and only one of them appears to have been open when George III’s eldest son, 49-year-old Prince George, was appointed Prince Regent, in 1811.
That was the Prince Regent in Kerr Street (the others were the slightly later nineteenth century Prince Regent in Regent Street and the post-war pub that still graces the corner of Union Street and Western Approach). Ker Street itself was relatively new in 1811, as was the three-masted sailing ship Prince Regent which was built in London that year and which subsequently saw many years’ service as a convict ship travelling to and fro Australia. Curiously enough, three years later, when we find record of our first licensee here, there was also a British warship, HMS Prince Regent launched in Canada, however this was soon renamed HMS Kingston after dockyard in which she had been built.
Claremont Street today seems like an unlikely thoroughfare to have sported a handful of pubs, but when Queen Victoria was on the throne it certainly did. As many as five pubs and beer-retailers co-existed at one point, although over the years there were probably more.
None now survive as time was called on the Valletort some years ago … and on the Prince Albert, the Oxford, the Hearts of Oak and the Claremont, many years before that. Indeed it seems that the Claremont closed shortly after the end of the First World War, by which time all but the Valletort (which was rebuilt some years later – around 1970) had also closed their doors, or at least left the licensing trade.
Named after the street in which it stood, Claremont would appear to owe its name indirectly to the Earl of Clare who established Claremont in Surrey back in 1714.
1873 Samuel Rowland
1877 John Broadhurst
1880 Mrs Thomasine Broadhurst
1907 JR Stephens
1911 Daniel May
1914 Mr Thompson
1919 Thomas Trumfield
There had to be one, somewhere in Plymouth, at some point in time – a pub named after the local football team. The question is, when did this York Street pub acquire its name?
The building it seems, was used as a beer retailer’s from at least the early 1860s and therefore most likely, since it was first built. However, Argyle didn’t play their first game until October 1886, and it would appear that part of the inspiration for calling the team Argyle was Argyll Terrace, off Houndiscombe Road, which was, itself, then relatively newly built. The earliest clear reference found to date for York Street premises as the Argyle Arms is dated around 1911, just a few years after the club went professional (in 1903), but it may well be that the name had already been in use before that, either way, soon after the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the property ceased to be a beerhouse and became a milliner’s instead.
Incidentally, it’s interesting to note that one of the licensees was called William Harper, namesake of a later Argyle Scottish stalwart who joined the club from Arsenal in 1931.
A somewhat unusual name for a pub it was by no means unique to Plymouth as there is another, still open today, in Lancashire (Todmorden) and there is a Shannon, in Suffolk (Bucklesham) and a Two Ships (in Rochdale) all of which commemorate the same event: namely the celebrated sea battle off Boston Harbour in 1813 between HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake.
The former was well-known in Plymouth before the incident, having been here in 1808, 1809 with a captured French cutter, and 1811, when her hull was re-coppered. Commanded on each occasion by Captain Philip Broke, the Shannon’s crew were well-trained and well-disciplined and by the summer of 1813 Britain had suffered a couple of embarrassments at the hands of the American Navy, so Broke’s success over the Chesapeake made him a national hero and did much to restore morale across the country.
The pub stood on the corner of Pembroke Street and Canterbury Street.
The spectacular Eddystone Reef tank made a stunning – and appropriate – backdrop for the launch of the new DVD ‘The Story of the Barbican’ this week.
The evening was introduced by Dr David Gibson, the Director of the National Marine Aquarium who said he was delighted to be hosting the event and he was followed by the film-maker Alan Tibbitts, who has recently relocated from Exminster to the Barbican. However it is not the first film about Plymouth that he has been involved with, as, over the last 20 years, he and his friend and colleague Chris Robinson have now made ten full-length features on varying aspects of the City – many of which have been based around Chris’s books.
Chris first opened his Barbican studio workshop 35 years ago this very week and has written over 20 books on Plymouth, including the Historic Barbican.
Responding on behalf of the City at the end of the showing, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Vivien Pengelly, said that as a former schoolteacher, she often took parties of children around the Barbican and was amazed at how little they knew about the area. “I only wish I there had been a film like this to show them then, I thought I knew the area quite well, but I’ve learnt a lot watching it. Everyone will enjoy learning something from this, we are lucky to have Chris and to benefit from the knowledge he has built up.’
Chris himself says that learning should be fun: “as Marshall McLuhan once put it ‘anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either’.”
The Story of Plymouth Barbican traces the history of the area over the last 1,000 years, from a small ‘inhabitation of fishers’ through a booming Tudor town and then a crowded commercial harbour, to a bustling tourist destination, populated by pubs, restaurants, independent shops and artist’s studios.
The film plots this heady transformation and, through the use of extensive archive material and contemporary footage, clearly demonstrates how much of the Barbican survived the war … but not the post-war planning.
Featuring the Elizabethan House and Gardens, the Merchant’s House, Plymouth Gin, the National Marine Aquarium and much much more, the Story of Plymouth Barbican also includes a very rare – and a very candid – interview with Robert Lenkiewicz.
You can buy The Story of Plymouth Barbican on this website here and watch the opening sequence to the new film below:
A popular village inn for 150 years and more (some of the buildings nearby date from the 1700s) the Royal Oak at Hooe was run in the middle of the last century by the Ryder family.
Thomas Ryder was here in 1850, and at the same time Abraham Ryder was at the Victoria Inn around the corner.
Thomas was succeeded by Henry Ryder and he was followed by Thomas Cole, who not only managed the pub but also collected and assessed the local rates and taxes.
Those were the days – when the Royal Oak was even closer to Hooe Lake than it is now, when water used to lap the mud and grassy bank that, prior to the infilling, came right up to the side of the road.
Messrs Pine, Furse, Wiltshire and Knight are among the various licensees from the earlier part of this century.