Athlone House, off Union Place was opened on 27 November 1950, which was good news for many who in some cases been waiting almost ten years to once again have a home of their own. Mr and Mrs George Reed with their two children were the first to move in to the flats, their three-bedroomed Corporation accommodation costing them 30s 4d (152p) per week. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, herself was welcomed by Mrs Reed as the Princess and her husband presided over the opening ceremony. Lady Astor was there too as was the Lord Mayor, Mrs Jacquetta Marshall, Plymouth’s first female Lord Mayor.
It was an impressive occasion and other dignitaries included the Chairman of the Housing Committee, HM Pattinson and representatives of the contractors, AN Coles and the architects Loius de Soissons. Said Mr Pattinson; “It is well known locally that this has been a very costly venture, but we have learned much from it and we must remember that everything must not be counted in terms of money, but in health and happiness as well.”
Princess Alice, incidentally, was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. Born in 1883, Princess Alice’s father, Prince Leopold, died the following year aged 31. In 1904 Alice married Alexander of Teck, the first Earl of Athlone, she enjoyed a long full life and finally passed away a few weeks short of her 98th birthday in 1981.