©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 29, 2017
Webpage updated: April 18, 2020




It was City Engineer, Mr James Paton Watson who, when writing the “Plan for Plymouth” in 1943, first suggested that the remains of Charles' Church should be preserved as a prominent memorial to those civilians who gave their lives during the Second World War.  He was supported by the Old Plymouth Society, which gave £100 towards the £5,700 needed for partial restoration.

Restoration work being undertaken on one of the "pineapples"
on Charles Church.
Note the new Exeter Street being laid out in the background.
From the author's collection.

However, the Council's Reconstruction Committee resolved on June 15th 1953 that the Council should acquire and demolish the Church.

Despite continued cries for it to be demolished, it was retained and on Saturday November 1st 1958 the Reverend J Allen James, vicar of Charles with Saint Luke, dedicated it as a fitting memorial to Plymouth's 1,200 civilian dead in the Second World War.  The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman G J Wingett, unveiled a plaque on the north wall, which reads:

~ Charles Church.  Built 1641.  Consecrated 1665.  Completed 1708. Named in honour of King Charles I.  Ruined by enemy action, 21 March 1941.  Partially restored 1952, by the City in co-operation with the Ministry of Works.  The idea of restoration having been sponsored by the Old Plymouth Society, as a memorial to those citizens of Plymouth who were killed in air-raids on the City in the 1939-1945 War.  ~

The Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Norman H Clarke, pronounced the blessing.

The remains of those who were buried in the churchyard that surrounded Charles' Church have been re-interred at Efford Cemetery.