The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History

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Updated:  05 April 2011 

Following the Napoleonic Wars, Plymouth became crowded with casualties with no where for them to be attended to.  The Admiralty refused them admission to the Royal Naval Hospital so the military had to fend for themselves.

A site close to the parish church of Stoke Damerel was leased by the Saint Aubyn estate and the first block of the new hospital was built there in 1797 by Mr John Scoble.  The south front, facing the water of East Stonehouse Creek, where the patients were landed, was built of grey marble.  In all, four separate blocks were erected, each of three storeys, and they were all connected by a colonnade of 41 arches, which made a fine promenade for the sick.  It was designed to accommodate 500 patients within its lofty walls. 

A fifth block was added in 1862 to accommodate permanent staff.  In due course a mortuary, a terrace of four houses and a quartermaster's house were also added.

The Hospital fell out of use after the Great War and the whole site was purchased by the Plymouth Education Authority for 12,040 and the buildings were converted to educational use.  On February 14th 1939 four schools were officially opened on the site: Valletort Senior School for Boys; Stoke Senior School for Boys; Tamar Central School for Boys; and the Junior Technical School for Boys. In 1945 the major part of the site became the home of Devonport High School for Boys.   Following the closure of Valletort and Stoke schools, the remainder of the site was taken over by Tamar Secondary School.



  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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