Webpage created: November 28, 2019
Webpage updated: April 19, 2020
PEARN CONVALESCENT HOME
The south face of the Pearn Convalescent Home
in Eggbuckland Road, Plymouth
The Pearn Convalescent Home was founded by Mr Edwin Alonzo Pearn (1822-1893) in the memory of his parents, John and Mary Pearn, and his brother, Frederick Augustus Pearn. Mr Pearn was born at Stoke Damerel in 1822 and in spite of being born to poor parents, as Mr Saint Aubyn related at the opening ceremony, he: 'by his own hard work, close application to business, energy, and shrewdness, raised himself to a high position in the world.'
Mr Pearn lived at "Compton Leigh" in the parish of Compton Gifford and the Home was erected in the grounds. Upon the death of Mr Pearn, his former residence became part of the establishment and was used as a rest home for the nurses who served at the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital, Plymouth, and the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport. Twenty patients from the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital and ten patients from the Royal Albert Hospital could be admitted tothe Convalescent Home while the Royal Eye Infirmary could send an occasional patient if there was a vacancy.
The property and £40,000 endowment fund were conveyed May 9th 1892 to the Trustees, Mr Edward Saint Aubyn,of Glyn,Bodmin,Cornwall; Mr John James Edcgcumbe Venning, town clerk of Devonport; Mr Henry Clark, of Efford Manor, Eggbuckland; Captain George Hastings Inskip; Mr Charles King and Mr John Henry Ellis, town clerk of Plymouth. Mr Pearn himself was also a trustee.
Designed by Mr Charles King, of Messrs King and Lister, 20 Princess Square, Plymouth, the work of erecting the convalescent home was commenced in the summer of 1893. Mr Samuel Roberts of Mount Plym, Plymouth, was the contractor while Mr William Rowe of Old Town Street was responsible for installing the water, gas and sanitary fittings. The Clerk of Works was Mr W Crimp of Mannamead, Plymouth.
With a frontage extending 186 feet, it was designed in the Italianate to harmonise with the House, which stood alongside. All the windows of the rooms used by the patients were facing south. The building was divided in to three sections by the two towers over the principle entrances, both crowned with copper domes. There were two entrance doorways, leading to waiting halls behind the large bay windows, one for males and the other for females. Between the two entrance hallways were the administrative offices and a large room, covering some 750 square feet, that was to be the dining room. It was the only room for both male and female patients. Behind the dining room was the kitchen, which covered an area of 360 square feet and at the time of its opening was fitted with a Fletcher gas cooking range. It had two serving lobbies with buttery hatches to enable the speedy serving of meals to the residents. Behind that were the sculleries, larders, pantries and store-rooms. A telephone room was provided in the administrative section, which also had the offices and sitting rooms for the matron and steward.
Glazed verandahs were provided at the east end of the men's' block and the west end of the women's' block. On the ground floor were large day rooms and two bedrooms intended for the aged or infirm patients who could not use the stairs. Above these, at the south-facing front of the first floor, were four wards, two accommodating six patients each, one for five patients and the remaining one for two people. The bedrooms for the matron and superitendent were in the towers, which also contained large water tanks. The servants slept in the central block. Oak was used for the flooring throughout the building and teak for the two main staircases.
Mr Pearn died suddenly on December 10th 1893, before the work was completed. It was opened by Mrs Edward Saint Aubyn in brilliant weather on Monday May 6th 1895.
A former hospital matron, a Miss Thompson, was engaged as lady superintendent and an old friend of Mr Pearn's, a Miss Pengelly, became the matron.
After lying empty for a few years, the Pearn Convalescent Home was then used by Saint Luke's Hospice to house their community services, outpatient's department, and lymphoedema treatment centre. It is currently a Grade II Listed Building and a retirement home managed by the Sanctuary Housing Association.