31 MAY 1957, Page 12

City and Suburban

'By JOHN BETJEMAN LST week I was standing on the seventeenth- century walls of The Citadel at Plymouth. Wind-whipped water of lapis blue, the shadowy red sandstone cliffs above Wembury on one side, the gentle ilex-shaded heights of Mount Edg- cumbe on the other, the long line of the break- water, Drake's Island green in the foreground, and at my feet the white and pink-veined marble of The Citadel itself—there is surely not on all our coasts a finer maritime scene than this with its inlets flowing past granite docks and masted men- of-war to the steep wooded valleys of Devon and Cornwall. I was there to attend the meeting or- ganised by the Old Plymouth Society in a last- minute effort to save the many old houses with granite and carved timber doorways and windows and old stone walls among cobbled streets round Sutton Pool. This is the old part of Plymouth. Drake, Hawkins, Cook and Humphrey. Gilbert set out from here. Hence seven ships went to fight the Armada and here the Mayflower last touched land before sailing for America. The Old Ply- mouth Society has produced an imaginative and sensitive plan for the reconstruction of this historic little fishing port, the hidden heart of Plymouth. From the crowded meeting which represented all shades of opinion it looks as though there may 'still be a chance of preserving the character and texture and more attractive buildings here.