In 1784 Bath’s celebrated Royal Crescent came into being – it was the first development in the country to assume the name Crescent, but by no means the last. Towns around Britain subsequently sought to house the great and the good in such imposing developments and here in Plymouth, John Foulston, the architect who introduced so many grand schemes into our social fabric, created No1 the Crescent.
Numbers 11 to 18 were also built around the same time, but for over seventy years numbers 2-10 were awaiting construction – quite why we don’t know.
We do know, though, that in the early nineteenth century this was very much the fashionable part of town. George Street and Lockyer Street were new developments furnished with fine houses and close to Foulston’s new Theatre Royal, Royal Hotel, Athenaeum and St Catherine’s Chapel. This latter structure acted as a chapel of ease to St Andrews and doubtless served as a haven for the elite band of worshippers who came to live in these impressive properties.
Woollcoombe and Gill, both of whom served the town as Mayor, were among the sponsors for St Catherine’s – they were also among the first residents of the Crescent.
The Crescent later became a mix of legal offices, surgeries and hotels and although battered during the Blitz (it formerly continued right around to Millbay Road) it still had a delightful grassy frontage until the extension to Notte Street in the 1960s.