Webpage created: February 19, 2016
Webpage updated: December 21, 2018
PLYMOUTH-DOCK UNITARIAN CHAPEL
The Plymouth congregation of Unitarians founded a chapel in what was then known as Plymouth-Dock in 1790. Their Chapel in George Street, on the corner with Ker Street and Duke Street, was opened in 1791.
The Unitarian Chapel when used as a Wine
The caption to the photograph above reads: 'This quaint old building situate at the corner of Duke and George Streets, Devonport, was originally built for the Unitarians in the year AD 1790. The Congregation of the Chapel decayed in consequence of its being understood that Commissioner Fanshaw intimated that all Dockyardsmen who attended the New Chapel would be discharged as disloyal subjects; the French revolution was then in full operation, and the Unitarians were the most ardent admirers of that movement in Great Britain. Three of the sect were executed as ringleaders in a most disgraceful riot in Birmingham on the 14th July, 1791. Ten years afterwards, in 1801, the Chapel was converted, the conversion being as wide apart from its original purpose as could be imagined. The Chapel became a Temple of Bacchus, dedicated to the sale of Wines and Spirits, thus the change from Spiritual to Spirituous. The old building still retains remnants of its ecclesiastical character, and a Chaplian is still attached, who performs certain duties with zeal and punctuality.'
It became the Wine and Spirit Stores of Messrs A & C Barnes. It is thought that secret meetings continued to be held in Dock until the congregation re-established itself in 1820. No doubt spurred by the new name of Devonport, the construction of a new Town Hall, and the erection of the Column, the Unitarians opened the Granby Street Unitarian Chapel on Sunday June 21st 1829.
The Old Chapel is currently being used as a Co-operative Store.