If it hadn’t been for Edmund Lockyer’s competition in 1810 to design a Theatre Royal it is possible that the thirty-eight-year-old London architect John Foulston would never have come to Plymouth. As it was his design was the successful one and the following year the foundation stone was laid for the classically inspired building and on it were the Latinised names of the aforementioned architect and prominent local figure who was then serving his second term as Mayor of Plymouth – Johannes Foulston and Edmundus Lockyer. The two clearly got on very well and from Keith Watson’s work on Mannamead we learn that Foulston’s Athenian (note yet another classical reference) Cottage erected off Townsend Hill was built “on land belonging to Edmund Lockyer, whose name is commemorated in the adjacent Lockyer Road.”
The Victorian historian RN Worth was, says Watson, “incorrect in stating that the cottage was built on the Thornhill Estate. The area of land upon which the estate of the Atheneum cottage stood was quite extensive, it reached from the bottom of Townsend Hill, where 2 Wilderness Road now stands (also known as Ingleside) its breadth was from Townsend Hill to present day Wilderness Road and extended for the full length of Wilderness Road.” Athenian Cottage appears to have stood for just over fifty years before eight detached villas were built on part of that site.