Webpage created: July 05, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 05, 2017
When Mr Anthony Richard Lethbridge was elected to the chair of the Charity Trusts Committee of the Plymouth Guardians of the Poor in about 1892, he introduced a scheme for the provision of cottage almshouses, as he liked to call them. After inspecting sites at Mannamead, Middle Mutley, and Prince Rock the latter site was chosen. The owner was Mr Bewes, who offered to sell them the whole field rather than the half that they wanted or could afford to purchase. As a result, Mr Lethbridge bought the field and allowed the Guardians to select either the top of bottom half for half the cost, namely £1,855. This was funded from income from land at Plympton, Brixton and Yealmpton bequeathed in 1632 by Mr Elize Hele.
A design competition was held and the plans of Messrs Wiblin and de Boinville were selected, upon the recommendation of local architects, Messrs Hine and Odgers. The plans of Messrs B Priestley Shires were placed second. The tender of Mr W G Goad was accepted for the erection of the houses, in the sum of £3,190.
On the afternoon of Thursday October 14th 1897 Mr Lethbridge laid the foundation stone, in the presence of the Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman C H Radford. The Deputy Governor, Mr W J Stanbury, presided over the proceedings in the absence of the Governor, Mr H S Willcocks. The inscribed silver trowel used was supplied by Messrs G E Searle & Sons, of Bedford Street, Plymouth.
It was stated at the time that it was not intended that the almshouses should be occupied by persons in receipt of parochial relief but by those who, formerly held fairly good positions in life and of guaranteed respectability, were entitled from their lack of means to have the payment of rent eased for them.
Six properties were to be initially erected. These were to be two-storey, each with a bedroom and sitting-room for two persons. Others would be added in due course.