Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 20, 2019
Webpage updated: June 14, 2021




The Chapel in the Orphanage of Saint Teresa, Plymouth.
From a postcard.

The Roman Catholic Convent and Orphanage of Saint Teresa was located at 20/21/22 Gasking Street, Plymouth, which was on the corner with Beaumont Road.  It was built in 1871/72, at the same time as the Holy Cross School and was operated by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity.  The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Cross and Saint Teresa was adjacent.

Orphans from Saint Teresa's Orphanage were transferred en masse to Nazareth House, East Stonehouse, the former Winter Villa of the Mount Edgcumbe family, on November 30th 1931. 

The Gasking Street property was put up for auction at 3.30pm on Thursday January 9th 1936 at the Law Chambers in Princess Square, Plymouth.  The auctioneers were Messrs Woolland, Son and Manico, FAI.

At that time the details of the property were as follows:

  • School Room of 37 ft 9 ins by 17 ft 9 ins with double doors to
  • Former Chapel 27 ft 3 ins by 17 ft 10 ins with Sacristy adjoining over which was
  • Work Room 42 ft by 18 ft 3 ins, which was lofty and well lit
  • Community Room with double doors leading to a verandah
  • Refectory 38 ft 4 ins by 31 ft 7 ins, floored with Terrazzo, with over
  • Dormitory, 38 ft 3 ins by 18 ft 10 ins, fitted with twelve lavatory basins

In the adjoining Laundry Building there were:

  • Packing Room 33 ft 2 ins by 20 ft 6 ins
  • Washing Room
  • Counting Room
  • Ironing Room 47 ft by 29 ft
  • Boiler House
  • Engine House

Beneath the Ironing Room was a large cellar and above it was a Dormitory 47 ft by 19 ft 3 ins fitted with two WCs and two lavatory basins.

From that dormitory there was a separate entrance to Number 9 Higher Street, in which there were eight rooms and a WC plus a small yard outside.   There was a separate entrance to this property.

In addition to all that there was dwelling accommodation and domestic offices:-

  • Inner and Outer tiled halls
  • 24 rooms and attics
  • Two bathrooms, each having a bath and one room having four cubicles
  • Six WCs
  • Three Kitchens, one being 22 ft 9 ins by 17 ft 8 ins and having a Terrazzo floor
  • Scullery
  • Larder
  • Coal-house and cupboards
  • Store Room

As if all that was not enough, between the above property and the eastern boundary wall was a substantial modern block of three storeys which comprised a School Room on the ground floor and dormitories on the first and second floors.  There was a large cellar beneath the building.

The School Room was 79 ft 9 ins by 19 ft 9 ins and was described as 'light and lofty'.  It could be divided by the use of a moveable glazed partition.  There was a verandah and this led to a large open playground with double doors leading into Beaumont Road.  Adjoining the School Room was a block of eight WCs and six lavatory basins.

Both the first and second floor dormitories were of the same dimensions, 59 ft 4 ins by 19 ft 9 ins.  On the first floor were eleven lavatory basins adjoining a large bedroom measuring 20 ft 3 ins by 14 ft  9 ins.  There were also a linen room and two WCs.  The second floor dormitory had eighteen lavatory basins, plus an additional bedroom, bathroom and WC.  From here it was possible to access the roof by means of an iron staircase.  The main staircases were of fireproof concrete and there was an iron emergency staircase outside.

At the south-east corner of the property was a detached Coach House, built of brick and roofed in slate, with a Loft over.  Adjoining it were a range of coal-houses and a WC.

Included in the sale was Number 23 Gasking Street, which had twelve rooms and an outside WC and wash-house in the large yard.  It was already tenanted.

The whole site covered an area of 26,840 square feet and stretched for 188 feet along Beaumont Road, 121 feet along Gasking Street and 19 feet 6 inches along Higher Street.  It was considered to be 'Eminently suitable for the Erection of a Super Cinema, Factory, Garage, Warehouse or for any other commercial development where a prominent publicity site is essential.'


  With acknowledgement to Mrs Debbie Watson of the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office
and Mrs Vera Lawson BEM, formerly Miss Vera Clancy, who was one of those who were transferred to Nazareth House.