Webpage created: September 27, 2019
Webpage updated: September 27, 2019
VIRGINIA HOUSE SETTLEMENT
The Virginia House Settlement was housed at 38 Looe Street, Plymouth. The main building was the former Batter Street Congregational Chapel. The premises next door had previously been the Victory Club but this had been purchased by Lady Astor during the Great War and was now amalgamated with the Virginia House Settlement. It was so popular that there had always been children clamouring for admission.
Lord Astor formally opened the new Settlement on Saturday December 5th 1925 in the presence of the Mayor of Plymouth, Mr R J Mitchell. Lord and Lady Astor paid for the purchase of the property and the conversion work done by Mr H T Lapthorn to connect the two properties.
It was to be run by an Executive Committee consisting of: Viscount Astor (chairman); Mr G Rendel Harris (trustee and vice-chairman); Mr Stanley G Prince (trustee); Mr E E Stephens (joint honorary treasurer); Mr Henry Stone (joint honorary treasurer); Miss Mary Bayly (trustee); Mr Victor Winnicott; and Miss Violet Winnicott.
There were two resident wardens, Mr E A Pleasance and Miss Palmer, who lived on the top floor.
The premises included a meeting hall, with kinematograph apparatus; a gymnasium; a billiard/social room; a library; and a music room. The old Victory Club rooms will be used for club rooms and class rooms, where cooking, singing, sewing, carpentry, gymnastics and fancy dancing for young children. The library was fitted up with antique furniture and fittings and was to be where classes in letter writing would be held. In the social room was a well stocked buffet.
While working on war damage repairs to the dance hall of the Virginia House Settlement on Saturday September 29th 1951 workmen uncovered 'three strange brick mounds a few inches below the floor level'. As they interfered with the laying of the new dance floor the men started to demolish them only to find themselves staring at two coffins. The mounds were actually burial vaults, each measuring about 9 feet by 6 feet. The second mound contained two coffins and a third appeared to house at least three caskets. One one of the coffins was the date "1851" worked in brass studs. It had been assumed that all burial remains had been removed at the time it was closed and taken to Efford Cemetery but clearly this was not the case.