Webpage created: February 02, 2016
Webpage updated: January 19, 2019
THE ROYAL NAVY IN OLD DEVONPORT
From a postcard.
Although the Royal Navy had been present in the Plymouth area for centuries, they had only used Plymouth Sound or Barn Pool, off Cremyll, for mooring and the Cattewater for repairing and cleaning their vessels. It was not until the French opened a naval dockyard across the English Channel at Brest that a need was seen for an English equivalent and the Hamoaze, between Devon and Cornwall, was seen as the ideal location. The first stone dock was built at Point Froward in the Hamoaze in 1691 and over the next three centuries the Royal Navy took over the whole of the waterfront from Devil's Point through the Gun Wharf, the Keyham Steam Yard, the North Yard Extension, and the Royal Naval Barracks, until it eventually engulfed reclaimed land at Ernesettle.
Over those three hundred years and more the Royal Navy establishment in Devonport, under the Commander-in-Chief at Admiralty House (1795), Mount Wise, now an extinct posting, has been composed of: - the Victualling Office, the King's Brewery, the Royal Dockyard (which includes the Gun Wharf and the Keyham Steam Yard), the Royal Naval Hospital in East Stonehouse (1783), the Keyham Powder Magazine (1784), the Royal William Victualling Yard in East Stonehouse (1835), the RN Training Ship HMS "Implacable" (1855), the RN Gunnery School, HMS "Cambridge" (1856), the Training Ships HMS "Impregnable" (1862) and HMS "Lion" (1871), the RN Engineering College, HMS "Thunderer" (1880), the Admiralty Signal Station, Mount Wise (1880), the RN Torpedo School, HMS "Defiance" (1884), the RN Barracks, as both HMS "Vivid" (1889) and HMS "Drake" (1934), the Admiralty Signal Station on the Plymouth Breakwater (1889); the Engine Room Artificer's Training School, HMS "Indus" (1904), the Royal Naval Detention Quarters (1912); the RN Boys' Training Ship HMS "Powerful" (1913), the Royal Naval Ordnance Depot at Bull Point, the RN Armament Depot at Ernesettle, The RN Artificers' Training School, HMS "Fisgard" (1940), the RN Training Establishment, HMS "Raleigh (1940), the Stokers' Training Ship, HMS "Imperiuse" (1944).
The Women's Royal Naval Service, Plymouth Command, was formed in June 1939.
No longer is a Commander-in-Chief in charge of the Royal Navy at Plymouth, or an Admiral-Superintendent head of the Royal Dockyard. Even the officer in charge of the Royal Naval Barracks has been demoted from Commodore to Commander.