Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: January 22, 2019
Webpage updated: April 01, 2020




What was Plymouth's Pig Market in 1765 became the Borough's premier shopping venue, Bedford Street.  This ran from the southern end of Old Town Street, outside of Saint Andrew's Church, to the junction of Frankfort Street, Russell Street and Cornwall Street, at what had been Frankfort Gate.

Looking east along Bedford Street, with Westwell Street running off to the right.
From a postcard.

It is no coincidence that one of the adjoining roads was called Russell Street, as that was the family name of the Dukes of Bedford, from which Bedford Street took its name.  It was just a fashionable name to use at the time, following the completion of Bedford Square in London in 1785.

Another view looking eastwards along Bedford Street.
From a postcard.

Beyond the Pig Market, and outside of the Frankfort Gate, stood the Globe Hotel.  After the demolition of Frankfort Gate in 1783 it formed part of the new Bedford Street.  The road to the left of the Hotel (later known as Frankfort Street) went to East Stonehouse and Plymouth-Dock, while the road to the right went up what later became Russell Street in to Mill Lane.

The Prudential Building rather dominated Bedford Street.
From a postcard.

Cooke's Pocket Plan of the Three Towns, published in 1827, shows the highway between Westwell Street and Russell Street as being named Frankfort Place.  This is confirmed by Whitfeld.  As a result there were no occupants listed for Bedford Street in 1812 but Frankfort Place was recorded.

Looking west along Bedford Street to the Prudential Building and Frankfort Street.
From a postcard.

In 1903 the Globe Hotel was replaced by the Prudential Building.

A 1930s view of Bedford Street from Spooner's Corner,
with the Prudential Building once again in the distance.
From a postcard.

Pre-war Bedford Street looking west to the Prudential Building.
Note the policeman on point duty and Goodbody's Cafe behind him,
with the Westminster Bank next door.
  The Western Morning News Company Limited.

Almost the same view as above but after the Blitz.
While the Prudential Building is badly damaged the Westminster Bank, on the left, escaped unharmed.
  The Western Morning News Company Limited.

Bateman's, the opticians, was on the site of Plymouth's other but less famous "Island House".

Bedford Street looking westwards towards the Municipal Offices, left, and "Island House", in the centre.
From a postcard.

Bedford Street was largely destroyed in the Second World War and is now remembered only in Bedford Way, the pedestrian passage which runs from Royal Parade to New George Street.  It is roughly on the line of the old Market Alley, which later became the Bedford Arcade.  The Westminster Bank was the only building to survive intact.

Everything to the east in Bedford Street was destroyed.
Note the girders only of "The Island" in the centre of the picture.
  The Western Morning News Company Limited.

For a list of the occupants of Frankfort Place in 1812 CLICK HERE.

For a list of the occupants of Bedford Street in 1852 CLICK HERE