The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
The War Damage Act received the Royal Assent on March 26th 1941.
On Friday July 4th 1941, just four months after the major Blitz of March 1941, Lord Reith, the Minister for Works and Buildings, advised Plymouth to plan boldly and comprehensively. 'That is what I should do', he said, 'if I were in your place, but that does not mean extravagantly'. He also pointed out that the direct war effort obviously took priority over reconstruction as any rebuilding that was undertake could easily be destroyed all over again. But if they started planning the reconstruction then they would be ready when the time came: 'Then a good deal would be wanted in a hurry fir the provision of employment and the housing of the people who returned to the City'. He concluded his remarks by saying that: 'I have been almost everywhere and Plymouth is worse than anywhere else that I have seen. Relative to its size, I think Plymouth is worse than Bristol.' Lord Reith finished his visit to Plymouth by watching the dancing on the Hoe. 
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 Leslie 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. ~
The War Damage (Amendment) Act received the Royal Assent on August 6th 1942.
Although not strictly an act of reconstruction, on October 1st 1942 the Plymouth Corporation Transport Department and the Western National Omnibus Company Ltd joined in a formal partnership for the provision of new services and the pooling of vehicles and fare receipts. Known as the Plymouth Joint Services, with the slogan "Use Any Bus, Red or Green", it sadly meant the end of return and weekly tickets.
The War Damage (Amendment) Act received the Royal Assent on March 25th 1943.
In June 1943 a consolidating War Damage Act, which replaced the previous ones, received the Royal Assent. War Damage was defined by Section 2 of the Act as:
The compensation to be paid to the owner of the property affected was either the cost incurred in the repair of the war damage, known as a 'cost of works payment', or, if it was uneconomical to repair it, a 'value payment' based on the depreciation in the value of the property based on prices ruling on March 31st 1939.
Notification of damage had to be reported to the Commission on a form C.1. and the details were then placed on a "Property Index" and a "Name Index". The nearest office was the Regional Office at Bristol but staff from the Commission's Technical Division (architects and surveyors) were based in Plymouth.
Plymouth City Council held a special meeting on April 25th 1944 to discuss the constitution of the new Reconstruction Committee.
The "Plan for Plymouth" was published on April 27th 1944.
The Plymouth Emergency Committee was informed on May 12th 1944 that the Admiralty intended purchasing 230 acres of Devonport for an extension to the Royal Dockyard.
In July 1944 the Reconstruction Committee recommended to the Council their qualified approval of the basic principles of The Plan for Plymouth.
Street lamps in Clarence Place, Courtenay Street, Frankfort Street, King Street and Union Street were re-lit on Thursday December 14th 1944. The area that was allowed to be lit had to be ‘not observable from the sea’, according to the Government’s regulations. Half-lighting was also permissible in buildings within an area bounded on the west by Millbay Station and Phoenix Street eastwards to Old Town Street and Treville Street. The term “half-lighting” meant that occupiers of houses and business premises could light their windows provided they were screened in such a way that objects inside the building were not distinguishable from outside. In the remainder of the City the black-out still applied. 
A new club for the NAAFI was opened by the First Lord of the Admiralty on March 16th 1945.
On Wednesday June 13th 1945 public pleasure services were resumed in the Hamoaze when the "Swift" left Phoenix Wharf for the Royal Albert Bridge. This return to normality proved very popular and the "Lively" was put on as a relief boat. Between them they carried about 150 passengers. Permission had been given to run the trips twice daily and Wednesdays and Saturdays and it was hoped to extend the trips to Calstock, as before the War.
At the Plymouth City Council Works Committee meeting on June 13th, it was agreed to reinstate the automatic traffic signals at the corner of Frankfort Street, George Street and Bedford Street and also at the corner of Old Town Street and Treville Street. The estimated cost of the whole scheme was £1,160.
This famous scene from the Two Cities Film Company's film "The Way We Live", was shot on Saturday July 7th 1945. Representatives from all the City's youth organisations along with children in their school uniforms gathered in Tavistock Road, Ebrington Street and Market Place and merged together at Drake Circus as they marched behind the Band of the Saint John's Cadets to the steps of the Guildhall. Banners reading "Bigger Houses", "Premises Not Promises" and "University Status" were carried past the thousands of Plymothians who lined the route. Waiting for them at the Guildhall were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth,, Alderman and Mrs H G Mason, and the City Engineer, Mr J Paton Watson. On behalf of the youth f the City Miss Doris Sergent, former chairman of the Plymouth Youth Council, said that they wanted to be sure that the Plan For Plymouth was carried out soon: 'we will do our best to be worthy of all the traditions of our ancient city'. The film was under the direction of Miss Jill Craigie (later Mrs Michael Foot) and produced by Mr William MacQuitty. 
On September 25th 1945 the Council approved the erection of temporary shops in Tavistock Road and Glanville Street, opposite the City Library. 22,000 feet of space would be provided at a cost of £10,000. Also approved were similar shops in Princess Square, where 9,000 feet would be provided at a cost of £4,500.
Plymouth's last tram ran on September 29th 1945.
On Monday October 1st 1945 the Great Western Railway re-started the Royal Mail Postal special trains from London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance. The service had been suspended on Saturday September 21st 1940. The inaugural train was headed by 6019 "King Henry V" and the Guard was a Plymouth man, Mr B J Yate, who lived at Long Rowden, Peverell.
The Labour Party took over control of Plymouth City Council in November 1945.
Work started in December 1955 on the new housing estate at Efford.
On or about February 4th 1946 approval was given for the Declaratory Order No. 1 for the shopping centre, covering some 173 acres. This was the first such Order to be granted in England.
On March 25th 1946 an application from F W Woolworth's to redevelop the Royal Hotel site in Fore Street, Devonport, was discussed by the Reconstruction Committee. The views of the Admiralty were to be sought.
On April 12th 1946 officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation visited the Harrowbeer airfield and recommended that it should be retained for civilian use.
After a break of three and a half years, the Royal Blue express coach service from Plymouth to London recommenced on Monday April 15th 1946. At exactly 8am the 'brightly cleaned' departed from outside Sherwell Arcade, Tavistock Road, with ten passengers on board bound for London. The return fare was £1 15s. Stop were made at Honiton for morning coffee, at Yeovil for lunch, and at Oakley, near Basingstoke, for tea. The vehicle that made that first post-war journey to London was DR8806, a Leyland TS1 with Beadle 32-seater bodywork, owned by the Western National Omnibus Company. 
A public inquiry into the first compulsory purchase order started on April 29th 1946. The chairman was Mr H G Warren from the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. The main opposition came from the Chamber of Commerce and the Order was Order was taken to the Court of Appeal. This was the first such public inquiry in England.
Bush Radio Ltd applied for a site for a new factory at Ernesettle on July 15th 1946.
Also on July 15th 1946, it was decided to acquire 197 acres of the Derriford Estate.
The Leigham Manor Estate was acquired before it went for auction in September/October 1946.
In November 1946 the 1,000th prefabricated house was occupied and the Government approved Plymouth's Declaratory Order No. 1. This was the first such Order in England to win Government approval. However, it was challenged in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal but the Council won both cases.
Less than half the electorate voted in the Municipal Election early in November 1946. Labour gained control of the Council capturing five seats from the Conservatives and one from the Liberal party. Their total number of votes was 27,912. The only Communist party candidate, Mr David Goodman, polled 26 votes in the Valletort Ward. [3a]
Labour to push forward the reconstruction work in 1946 was in extremely short supply. On one occasion Plymouth City Council called for 100 men for a particular project. It did not matter if they were disabled. Only fifty turned up and of those 38 men 'presented some excuse for not working' which left only 12 men to be taken on. By the end of the week there were only three of the men left. The provision of new houses and shops might not have progressed very far had it not been for the use of prisoners of war. 
A postcard view along George
In the paving of Derry's Cross roundabout, opposite the entrance to Raleigh Street, is a kerbstone engraved 21-3-47. It commemorates the start of the reconstruction of Plymouth after the Second World War. The work actually started at 8.15am on Monday March 17th 1947 when Mr Henry Pascoe swung the first pick-axe at the ground in Raleigh Lane prior to laying a new drainpipe. The foreman of the gang was Mr Gordon Harris, who was killed in November 1947 during the demolition of the old Westminster Bank in Bedford Street. Other members were Mr Herbert Lavers, Mr Cornelius Hayes and Mr Alfred Waters. The stone was placed here in 1948 and buried beneath it is a lead box containing items connected with the reconstruction, such as an aerial photograph of Royal Parade before the visit of HM King George VI in October 1947 and Council minutes and correspondence relating to the work.
A special service was held at Saint Andrew's Church on March 21st 1947 to commemorate the bombing of 1941 'and to afford an opportunity to the Council to dedicate itself to the task of the re-building of the City.'
As part of the enlargement of the City, parts of the parishes of Bickleigh and Tamerton Foliot were absorbed into Plymouth from May 2nd 1947.
On May 12th 1947 the Court of Appeal allowed the Minister of Town and Country Planning to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order approval to Plymouth City Council.
On June 2nd 1947 the Council accepted a grant of £30,000 from the London Air Raid Distress Fund for the erection of bungalows for the elderly.
Acquisition of 193½acres of Derriford Estate was completed on June 16th 1947. The cost was £32,500 plus fees.
The first of 96 Cornish Unit houses was opened on June 17th 1947.
'When supplies are available and restrictions removed, VIMTO -- the unequalled fruit drink -- will be back and the long deferred expectation of its countless friends joyfully realised. The Popular Non-Alcoholic Bracing Beverage. J N Nichols & Co., Ltd., Manchester 16.' -- Advert in Western Evening Herald for July 3rd 1947.
On July 9th 1947 it was announced that the Government were going to acquire the old Harrowbeer airfield to serve Plymouth when air services were restored.
Road construction in the Centre apparently started on August 4th 1947.
On August 6th 1947 the Town & Country Planning Act 1947 was passed by the Government. This transformed the financial outlook by lifting from the shoulders of the Plymouth ratepayers nine-tenths of the financial burden of the reconstruction of the City for the first five to eight years and half the burden for the following fifty-two years (i.e. to the end of 1999).
The use of Derriford Estate as a hospital was nearly put in jeopardy when the War Department announced on September 15th 1947 their proposal to extend the adjacent Seaton anti-aircraft gun site.
On October 20th 1947 the Council approved the demolition of the old Municipal Offices in Guildhall Square.
On Wednesday March 3rd 1948 the site allocations in Plymouth's new shopping centre were published. CLICK HERE to see the plan...........
The remainder of Royal Parade was opened to traffic on Monday September 27th 1948.
The plans for some of the buildings in Royal Parade were announced on Wednesday September 29th 1948. Messrs E Dingle & Company Ltd proposed to build a four-storey block, faced with Portland stone, on the eastern junction with what at that time was to be called Phoenix Way (later Armada Way). The architect was Mr T S Tait FRIBA of Sir John Burnett, Tait, & Partners, of London. It would have a frontage of 225 feet on both Royal Parade and New George Street and 290 feet on Phoenix Way.
On the opposite corner from Dingle's would be the five stories of Pearl Assurance House, again faced with Portland stone. This was designed by Mr Alec F French FRIBA, of Plymouth and Bristol, who had worked in conjunction with Mr Tait. The two buildings were designed so that the corner features balanced each other. The Pearl Assurance building would have a frontage on Royal Parade of about 250 feet and on Phoenix Way of 145 feet.
During 1949 Messrs Tecalemit opened new premises at Marsh Mills.
The Tory opposition on Plymouth City Council announced on January 15th 1949 that they scrap the parts of The Plan for Plymouth relating to areas outside of the City Centre.
On February 15th 1949 the Bank of England closed its branch in Bank of England Place, Plymouth.
The go-ahead for a new General Post Office at Saint Andrew's Cross was given on March 21st 1949.
Also on March 21st 1949 it was stated that the Bank of England premises, vacated in March, had been acquired for £44,300 plus fees.
On April 19th 1949 the first purchase was made under the terms of the Devonport Compulsory Purchase Order obtained in 1947. The property was number 43 King Street, Devonport, for which £60 was paid.
During a visit to Plymouth on April 27th 1949 the Minister of Education opened two schools, Plym View Primary and Keyham College Road Primary, and visited the sites of Trelawny Primary and King's Tamerton Secondary Modern Schools.
May 25th 1949 saw the announcement that a gun- mounting shop was to be the first building to be erected in the old Fore Street area of Devonport as part of the Dockyard extension.
It was announced on June 13th 1949 that the Admiralty planned to acquire 154 acres of land in Devonport over the next 12 years.
On June 28th 1949 Lady Astor opened the new factory at Ernesettle for the Bush Radio Company.
In July 1949 the City Engineer requested instructions from the Council on re-erecting the Saint Andrew's Cross but it was decided not to rebuild it but to make a War Damage claim instead.
A new foundation stone was laid at Saint Andrew's Church on October 22nd 1949.
Preliminary work on the new Dingle's department store started on November 3rd 1949. This was the first store to be started. It was not to be the first to re-open, however. A few days later, on November 9th 1949, work started on a new store for Messrs Woolworth's.
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