Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 02, 2019
Webpage updated: March 02, 2019




Union Street, Plymouth, ran from Bank of England Place, slightly to the north of Derry's Clock, to the Borough boundary at the junction with Manor Street to the north and Phoenix Street to the south.  From Phoenix Street westwards it became Union Street, East Stonehouse, as far as the junction with Brownlow Street.  The line of Union Street then continued along Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse, to the Stonehouse Bridge and the boundary with the Borough of Devonport.

John Cooke's excellent map of 1820 shows the beginning of Union Street in Plymouth,
 which then becomes the "New Road" across the marsh to the Stonehouse Turnpike Gate.
The old route from King Street through Stonehouse Lane is shown at the top of the picture.

The New Palace Theatre of Varieties can be seen on the left in the background of this picture
 looking westwards along Union Street, Plymouth.
From a postcard.

Thus Union Street "united" the Three Towns that were, on November 9th 1914, to become the Borough of Plymouth.

Looking westwards along Union Street, Plymouth, from a building in Bank of England Place.
The railway bridge is just visible in the far distance.
From a postcard.

Union Street, Plymouth, included Union Terrace, Lockyer Terrace, The Octagon, and Squire Terrace on the south side and Devonshire Terrace, Flora Place, The Octagon and Sussex Place on the north side.

The area covered by Union Street, or New Road as it was originally known, was marshland known as the Sourepool.  It was gradually drained and reclaimed and in 1815 this Street, linking the Three Towns, was opened.  It was planned by Mr John Foulston as a roadway of high distinction and included a novel feature, The Octagon.

Looking eastwards along Union Street, Plymouth, from the railway bridge,
 with Bank of England Place in the distance.
From a postcard.

There was a turnpike gate at the junction with Phoenix Street and Manor Street and another toll-house on the Stonehouse Bridge so transportation from Plymouth to Dock, and vice versa, was at a price.  However, the Stonehouse Turnpike Trust was dissolved in 1843.

Looking westwards along Union Street, Plymouth, from Bank of England Place.
From a postcard.

Plymouth's first tramway was opened along Union Street in 1872 by the Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport Tramway Company.

During the mid-1890s four premises on the corner of Union Street and Phoenix Street were demolished to make way for the New Palace Theatre of Varieties: namely Frederick Charles Burner, tobacconist; Jonathan Crowl, butcher; Mark Durbin, provision dealer; and John Shepheard, boot maker.

In November 1930 the Ministry of Transport gave permission for the Council to install traffic lights at the junction with Manor Street and Phoenix Street.

Union Street was amongst the first roads to have their street lamps re-lit after the Blitz.  That happened on Thursday December 14th 1944.

Numbers 32, 33, 34 (Tony's Imperial Restaurant) and 35 Union Street, Plymouth,
 with a small part of number 36 The Wellington Public House on the extreme right, August 1951.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

There wasn't much left at the Plymouth end of Union Street after the Blitz, October 1953.
Note Plymouth Mill Bay Signal Box.  Where the stalls and snack van
 are parked is now in the middle of Western Approach.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

In March 1946 Mr W Cohen was given permission by the Council to use a temporary shop that had been erected on the site of numbers 167 to 169 Union Street, Plymouth, as a restaurant for twelve months in March 1946.  The Council were going to purchase the site and Mr Cohen asked for first refusal after it had been acquired.

Plymouth's first bus station was opened on empty ground adjoining the railway line in Union Street in 1953.

The estimated cost of demolishing the "Berlin Wall", the local name given to the railway embankment and railway bridge once the line to Millbay Station had been closed, was stated in October 1971 to be 78,843.75 plus 3,000 in supervisory costs.

For a list of the occupants of Union Street, Plymouth, in 1852 CLICK HERE