31 MAY 1957, Page 12


Strangers do not realise how rich in fine build- ings and prospects are the three 'towns which compose Plymouth. Devonport has its Doric Guildhall and Naval Column and Egyptian Odd- fellows Hall forming a neglected civic centre, and all designed by John Foulston, who was to the three towns what John Nash was to Regent's Park and St. James's; Plymouth itself has Foul- ston's masterpiece St. Catherine's Church in the Soanean manner in granite—threatened with de- struction (thought it is intact and perfect inside and out), the seventeenth-century baroque of The Citadel, St. Andrew's Church, the eighteenth- century Synagogue and Butterfield's convent of St. Dunstan built in local stone; Stonehouse was once a sort of Bath for retired naval people. Here are the Georgian Royal Naval Hospital with its granite colonnades, the Marine Barracks and the Foulston-like elegance of Emma Place. From Stonehouse Pool one looks across to the Georgian splendour of Mount Wise in Devonport. In Stone- house is Plymouth's finest building, the Royal William Victualling Yard- by Sir John Rennie, 1830-35. A rusticated granite entrance with a statue of William IV on the top gives a tempting glance of severe granite warehouses and halls, clock towers and chimneys which may only be seen from the ferry to Cremyll. Very strict, in- structions are given to the policeman at the en- trance to stop civilians walking in to admire this grand range of architecture which probably shelters nothing more valuable than new boots and tins of ship's biscuits.