Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 12, 2016.
Webpage updated: May 12, 2016

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Red Shield House, currently known as Life House, at numbers 22 to 24 Park Avenue, was officially opened by the British Commissioner of the Salvation Army, Commissioner W F Cooper, on Wednesday June 16th 1965, in the presence of the Lord Mayor f Plymouth, Alderman P D Pascho.  The Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend W G Sanderson, performed the dedication.

Although at the time it was said to have been designed by Colonel W H Charles, the Salvation Army's staff architect, the plans held by the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office bear the name of Messrs Tomei and Maxwell, of London.  At its design stage it was known as Devonport House.  It is also worth mentioning that when it was opened it was classified as a hotel not a hostel.

It cost 139,000 to build and furnish as replacement for Rosyth House, the pre-war naval and military hostel, which was damaged during the Second World War but repaired so that it could continue in use.  The building contained 50 bedrooms, 22 bed-sitting-rooms, lounges, recreation-rooms, a canteen sitting 80 people, and a dining-room to accommodate fifty diners.  (The author used to have lunches here when working in South Yard.)  As servicemen were to be encouraged to bring their wives and families to stay here, a children's play room was also provided.

As the requirement to house servicemen and women diminished, Red Shield House became a hostel for homeless people and as a consequence it was renamed Life House in 2010 but it is still operated by the Salvation Army.