Flora Street, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897

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Featured in the Plymouth Extra on the 15 October 2009.

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PD/19/287 - Flora Street, Plymouth, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897

"Flora Street runs off Union Street and has done for the best part of 200 years, but today it looks very different to the Flora Street of old, and certainly no longer runs right through to King Street. Here we see it as it was decked out Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, hence the dates 1837-1897.

Around that time Union Street witnessed some of the first ever displays of moving pictures, lantern shows that soon gave way to silent films and create a demand for cinemas that would lead to the demolition of the properties in the foreground on the left and their replacement with, firstly, Andrew's Picture House, and then only 20 years later one of Plymouth's first purpose-built talkie cinemas, the Gaumont (still standing today but no longer a cinema: indeed, last known as the Millennium Complex and currently closed).

In 1897 there were two pubs to the right side here (on the eastern corner of Flora Street and Union Street), the Pride of the Forest, occupying the site now covered by the Two Trees, and the Exeter Inn. There were also a couple of beerhouses further down Flora Street, the whole area either side of Union Street being peppered with pubs (at one time there were a hundred within 100 yards of Union Street from one end to the other).

Picture from the William Gilhen Collection at the South West Image Bank (01752 665445) ref: PD/19/287."

(Commentary by Chris Robinson)


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