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the area were known as Drakes Town (now Devonport), Stonehouse and Plymouth. Mainly taken between 1850-1900, the photographs


gave a real insight into an age before the car, the bus and the aeroplane, before domestic electricity or wireless communication. However, there were newspapers as both The Western Morning News and the Evening Herald began life during this time. Of course, the Railway brought pas- sengers to and from the port, which added to the area’s prosperity and importance. The Theatre Royal was built and on the area where land met sea, a mile long breakwater was built along which to promenade and to relax. Plymouth Pier was opened in 1894 with much pomp and ceremony to which was eventually added a Pavilion. Chris took us on a romp through the various lighthous- es which had been constructed, fallen down or in one case


been blown down. One early Eddystone light had been declared unsafe


due to eroding foundations and eventually, during the care of a 95 year old lighthouse keeper, a candle fell over in the cupola and it caught fire, sadly causing a lump of lead to fall into the open mouth of the unfortunate keeper. Unsurprisingly, it was given as the cause of death during his post mortem, when they found the lead in his throat! A much earlier architect who also built on the Eddys-


tone reef, Henry Winstanley, had been captured during the 1700’s by the French during a raid on Plymouth. However, when the King of France was told, he immediately gave orders for his release as he too needed to keep his ships away from the notorious reef. Henry built his lighthouse and stayed in it for 6 years at which point it blew into the sea! There is not space enough here to cover much of the information so generously given, but a tour of the old streets gave rise to more stories – for example, Buckwell and Looe Streets were the site of ‘municipal buildings’ which were, in fact, the first Council Houses. Drake, a big landowner,


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municipal water


supply, establishing a series of wells fed from Dartmoor leats. The quality of water was


indicated in the Street names: Finewell Street provided


drinking water; ‘Buck’ referred to washing and


it was to a laundress in Buckwell Street, that Napoleon’s ‘smalls’ were brought while he was held captive aboard the HMS Bellerophon. The Eastlake Laundry


enterprisingly charged the sum of 1 shilling to those who wanted to brag that they had worn Napoleon’s underwear! So with laughter and our heads full of amazing facts we didn’t know before, it was no surprise that Chris’s supply of books were swooped upon and snapped up. Chris has a shop which can be


found in New Street Plymouth for those who want more on this subject. Chair Carolyn thanked him on our behalf to generous applause.•


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