Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: December 05, 2020
Webpage updated: December 05, 2020




Crownhill Convalescent Home, Tavistock Road, Crownhill, Plymouth.
From a postcard.

Crownhill Convalescent Home occupied a site between Delgany Villas and Powisland Drive on the Tavistock Road at Crownhill.

Sometime around 1885 a Quaker lady by the name of Mrs Fox, of Ford Park, had founded a convalescent home in the Parish of Saint Budeaux at Knackersknowle, adjoining the Plymouth Leat.  As the benefits of convalescing after surgery become more established so the Home became more popular and soon was felt to be inadequate for its purpose.  In addition its position became less good when the Government decided to erect military barracks nearby.  Mr R Reynolds Fox, a son of the founder, took up the task of finding a new, better site and using an endowment by the late Mr Charles Prideaux, another prominent Quaker, to erect a modern building.  Doctor Charles Albert Hingston (1842-1921) said that he would build the Home if a suitable site could be found.

A site of over two acres was found on the Alwin Estate, in the Parish of Tamerton Foliot, and Messrs King and Lister, of Plymouth, were put to work designing a building, which Mr Maddock, of Tamerton Foliot, was contracted to erect.  It cost Doctor Hingston about 4,000.  Bright red Wellington bricks were used and the top level finished off with red tiles relieved by ornamental bands of dark blue tiles.  The main walls were built hollow, as a protection against damp and excessive heat or cold.  Accommodation was provided in the eastern wing for eleven male patients and in the western wing for eleven female patients.  In the centre of the building were a common dining-room and day-rooms, reception-room, store-rooms, lavatories and an office for the Matron.  Behind the dining-room were the kitchen, scullery, pantry, larder and wash-house.  A glazed verandah for the benefit of the patients surrounded the building.

Separate halls, staircases and corridors gave access to the dormitories on the first floor.  The central turret housed a Boyle's automatic ventilator to which the air shafts in the dormitories were connected.

Despite the 'boisterous weather' a large crowd attended the official opening on Wednesday October 24th 1894, presided over by the Right Honourable Sir Massy Lopes, Bart.   The Fox family were very well represented, led by Mr and Mrs Richard Reynolds Fox.

A Miss Phear was the first Matron.  Miss Edith Northey Foster was Matron in 1939.  

In 1953 Miss C W Spence SRN was Matron.

It is believed that the Crownhill Convalescent Home was closed in March 1988, after which it quickly became vandalised.  It has since been demolished and replaced by new housing.