Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: April 17, 2017.
Webpage updated: April 17, 2017

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The original Zoar Chapel was opened in Bragg's Alley, Devonport, in 1870.  The building was expected to last a long time but unfortunately the houses around it were very overcrowded and dilapidated and when it was decided they had to be demolished so the Chapel had to go as well.  The building had been purchased by Mr William Tonkin for 85 but it was now being sold for 150 so there was a nice profit on the transaction.  Mr Tonkin was a businessman - he owned a draper's shop in Fore Street.

The foundation stone of the Zoar New Chapel and Sunday School was laid in Dockwall Street on the afternoon of Wednesday December 20th 1882.  Dockwall  Street later became Edinburgh Road.  The new site had previously been that of the Devonport Foundry.  The architect was Mr Piers Saint Aubyn.  The builder was Mr Edward  A Thacker of 90 James Street.

Mrs Tonkin laid the foundation stone, upon which she placed a cheque for 20, and then the Mayor of Devonport, Mr G T Rolston, also laid a stone.   The Mayor then went on to comment: 'The town was changing very rapidly.   They were losing sight day by day of what used to be called Plymouth-Dock, and what was sometimes called Stoke Damerel, and they were settling down into a new sort of town, which they were trying to designate Devonport.'

Being a non-denominational chapel, the ceremony was attended by friends from the Church of England, the Wesleyans, the Bible Christians, the Independents and the Baptists.

Zoar Mission Chapel survived until it was destroyed during the Second World War.  On July 11th 1949 it was purchased for 375 by the City Council, under the Devonport Number 1 Compulsory Purchase Order 1947.