North Hill 1940s

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Featured in the Plymouth Extra on the 9 October 2008


WMN/1/1/2/2/3 North Hill, 1940s

"It's difficult to be precise with the dating of this fascinating image. It shows us just how much of the City survived the war, but has since been demolished in the course of extending and expanding first the Technical College, then the Polytechnic, and now the University. The area was originally identified in the 1943 Paton-Watson/Abercrombie Plan for Plymouth as a cultural site. It was even suggested that the BBC might be based there.

Work began on the first post-war college buildings - the Engineering Block, off Glanville Street - in 1952. As the decade progressed, more and more houses were removed from the site, although the temporary Nissen huts, home to many displaced city-centre shops, just survived into the Sixties. By 1961 the eight-storey college block opposite the Library and Museum had been completed, and within a few more years, the old Victorian Technical College (bottom left) had been demolished.

Sherwell Church survives, as a building, of course, as does Drake's Place reservoir; however, both are part of the University's property portfolio. Meanwhile, to the left of these buildings, the erstwhile Victoria and Halwell Streets are long gone.

Picture courtesy of the South West Image Bank (01752 665445) ref: WMN/1/1/2/2/3."

(Commentary by Chris Robinson)


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