Royal Naval Hospital, 1900

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Featured in the Plymouth Extra on the 14th May 2009

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PD/19/279 Photograph, Royal Naval Hospital, 1900

"A fascinating view, and one that appears to have been taken from the tower of St Peter's Church. Here we are looking out across what was the Royal Naval Hospital towards what was then the Military Hospital. Both hospitals were built in 1797; curiously enough, both now house schools, Devonport High having taken over the entire site of the latter and Plymouth College Prep a substantial chunk of the former. Of the two complexes, however, the Naval Hospital occupied a much bigger footprint and the old buildings have been put to a variety of uses; indeed, those in the foreground, inlcuding the erstwhile water tower, have been converted to domestic accommodation.

Other notable features to be seen here include King's Road Station (where the City College now stands) and, with its clocktower just sticking above the skyline, the old Devonport Technical College, built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1897. The picture appears to have been taken soon after that, for the building work in the foreground shows the Zymotic blocks (isolation wards for infectious diseases) in the course of construction, which suggests that the photograph was taken some time in 1900. Note how the tide leaves Stonehouse Creek very much in a mud-flat condition.

Picture courtesy of the Denise Bailey Collection at the South West Image Bank (01752 665445) ref: PD/19/279."

(Commentary by Chris Robinson)


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