Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 29, 2017
Webpage updated: April 13, 2022




Original Saint Andrew's Cross

The Saint Andrew's Cross with Saint Andrew's Church, left,
the Guildhall, centre, and the Municipal Buildings, right.
From a postcard.

In 1884 the graveyard adjoining Saint Andrew's Church was levelled and the remains transferred to the Westwell Street burial ground.  The seventy-foot high Saint Andrew's Cross was erected as a corporate memorial and was dedicated on May 30th 1895.  It was designed by Mr James Hine of Messrs Hine and Odgers, of Lockyer Street, Plymouth, erected by Mr John Finch, of York Road, Plymouth, and the carvings were carried out by Messrs Harry Hems & Sons, sculptors, of Exeter.

The Saint Andrew's Cross, Saint Andrew's Church and the Municipal Offices.
From a postcard.

The fabric was generally of carefully chosen Portland stone but alternate layers were of a red sandstone from quarries at Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire.  The Cross was divided into three distinct tiers.  On each of the four faces of the lowest tier there was a moulded arch with double shafts and carved capitals.  These recesses contained slabs of polished granite, on two of which were inscriptions.  The one on the northern face read: ~ To the glory of God, and in memory of Parishioners during many centuries buried near this cross.  I am the resurrection and the life. ~   and on the southern side was: ~ Erected Anno Domini 1894, Ven. Archdeacon Wilkinson, vicar; John P Paige, T G Greek Wills, Churchwardens. ~  The central stage had niches for statuary, that of Hope on the south side, with an anchor by its side; Peace, wearing a crown, on the north side; Faith, with a cross, to the east, and Charity, with an orphaned child, on the west side.  At the angles were graceful pinnacles carved with crisp and effective crockets.  On top of the spire, the third stage, was a cross in wrought copper.

Railings erected by Messrs Hardman & Powell, of Birmingham, enclosed the site and on one of the gateways was inscribed: ~ Opened May 30th 1895.  Law, Mayor; E Roseveare, Chairman, Hoe and Parks Committee. ~

The Saint Andrew's Cross looking towards Whimple Street.
From a postcard.

It remained as a landmark until the Plymouth Blitz of March 20th/21st 1941 when it was badly damaged by a bomb that exploded nearby and Messrs Spooner & Company's store, directly opposite, caught fire.  In fact, it was later stated that the Cross was moved nine inches from its base by the force of the blast. 

The Cross was demolished during November 1941 and the statues removed to the Guildhall.  The 'Lady with Child' now stands at the north-west corner and 'Peace with Dove' is now in the former northern doorway.  The bronze cross that formerly stood at the top of the 70 feet high memorial is now on the main alter of Saint Andrew's Church.  In July 1949 the City Engineer requested instructions from the Council on re-erecting the Cross but it was decided not to rebuild it but to make a War Damage claim instead.

Motor Bus Services provided by the National Omnibus & Transport Company and later Western National Omnibus Company terminated at the roadside by the side of the Cross, as can be seen in the photograph above.

Present Saint Andrew's Cross

With the Cross now gone when the City was rebuilt it was decided to create a roundabout at the eastern end of Royal Parade and name it Saint Andrew's Cross (as in "crossroads") in remembrance of the original monument.  As a result some of the new buildings acquired the title as their postal address.

Number 1 Saint Andrew's Cross was occupied in 1953 by Messrs Moon and Sons (Pianos|) Limited as a music shop.  It has now been amalgamated with Number 2 Royal Parade, and has been occupied continuously since 1953 by Messrs H Samuel Limited, jewellers.

Number 2 Saint Andrew's Cross was the main entrance to the Norwich Union Insurance Societies' premises, Norwich Union House, which ran up part of Old Town Street.  In 1953 Mr N G W Hancock was the manager of the Life Department and Mr E L Green his opposite number in the Fire and Accident Department.  The telephone number was Plymouth 60251.  The other occupants were the National Cash Register Company Limited; the Esso Petroleum Company Limited; Bowmakers Limited; Price, Waterhouse and Company Limited; and the Cement Marketing Company Limited.  Mr William Traill Blair was the resident caretaker.  It is now (2018) occupied by Achievement Training.

Number 3 Saint Andrew's Cross was occupied by Messrs Albert Pengelly Limited, the tobacconists.  It is now (2018) the Londis convenience store.

In due course the new Head Post Office was to be opened on the corner between Old Town Street and Eastern Approach/Exeter Street.

Between Kinterbury Street and Saint Andrew Street were the offices of the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company Limited, of which Mr J S Everett was the local manager.