Plymouth, "A Plan for Plymouth"

The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History


Click here to go to the Home Page        Click here to find out more information About the Site        Cliock here to go to the A-Z Contents page


New version: April 9th 2014

A tablet in the Civic Centre records that ~ The first act in the rebuilding of Plymouth was the decision of the City Council made on the 1st September 1941 -- within six months of the destruction of the centre of the city -- that a Redevelopment Plan should be prepared.  The Plan -- A Plan for Plymouth -- by James Paton Watson, CBE., the City Engineer, and Sir Patrick Abercrombie, the Town Planning Consultant, was completed by September 1943, and the basic principles of the Plan were approved by the Council in August 1944. ~

Long before the air raids of the Second World War had ended, Plymouth realised that it would be impossible to rebuild the City just at it had been in 1939.  For one thing, traffic congestion had been a problem for many years and to rebuild the narrow, irregular streets would be to reintroduce the same problems.  In addition, to widen the streets would lessen the building space between them, which would also be unsatisfactory.  The obvious course, it was felt, was to clear the lot and start afresh.

Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Mr James Paton Watson quickly realised that in order to be able to carry out any plan for redevelopment, they needed to have the whole of the central area to work in.   With the support of many other town councils, they successfully lobbied Parliament for powers to compulsorily purchase land devastated by the War.  The result was the Town and Country Planning Act 1944.

"A Plan for Plymouth" was published by Messrs Underhill (Plymouth) Ltd on April 27th 1944.  Amongst its twelve Chapters were "The New City Centre", "Residential, Neighbourhood and Community Centres", "Housing", "Park System", and "The Realisation of the Plan".  Devonport was relegated to Appendix II.

Work started on the reconstruction in Raleigh Street in 1947 although the Plan became subject to a Public Inquiry in 1953.


Text (except quotations)   Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK 2014
 as stated beneath each image