Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 17, 2017
Webpage updated: January 06, 2019

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The Avondale Arms Public House on the corner of Keyham Road, right,
 and Saint Levan Road, left, September 1956.
Note the temporary shops for the benefit of the Dockyard workers.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

Although modern maps show Keyham Road as running between Albert Road and Saint Levan Road this is not historically accurate, it would seem.  The street directory for 1914-15 shows Keyham Road as going further north to include both Keyham Cottages and the entrance to the Royal Naval Engineering College Playing Fields.  It is only after that it becomes Saltash Road.  In fact, it leads, almost, to Keyham Barton, the former manor house.  On the other hand, directories as late as the 1950s show even Avondale Terrace and Johnston Terrace as being part of Keyham Road.

Thus, as far as Old Devonport.uk is concerned, Keyham Road ran from Keyham Lake and Keyham Cottages southwards to the bottom of Albert Road.  That is also the way the numbering ran, for some reason.  One would have expected number 1 to be nearest to the main Post Office in Fore Street but instead it was nearer the Keyham Post Office next door to the Avondale Arms Public House.  Avondale and Johnston Terraces are included under Saltash Road.


Keyham Cottages were, as stated above, to the north of Saint Levan Road, between there and Spencer  Avenue.  There were four properties in 1914, all still in existence in 2017.  Number 1 was the United Service Club; number 2 the very famous Criterion Restaurant, run by Mr Sambells; number 3 a hairdressers and tobacconists run by Mr Charles Griffiths; and number 4, on the corner of Saint Levan Road, was the general dealer and beer retailer, Mr J H Ellis.


On the corner of Keyham Road and Saint Levan Road, and well-known to all Saint Levan's Gate dockyardees, was the Avondale Arms Public House.  Next door along, at number 2, was the Keyham Post Office and refreshment rooms run by Mr Joseph Horsham.  At numbers 3 and 4 was the Union Savings' Bank, of which Mr E Oram was the manager in 1914.  Two other shops run by the same Messrs Sambells and Griffiths who ran the ones at Keyham Cottages, came between the Bank and the Devonport Corporation Gas Works, which was officially number 7 Keyham Road.

In 1900 what was known locally as Keyham Hill, outside the Royal Naval Engineering College, was lowered by six feet at one point and raised at the bottom by four feet.  This coincided with the construction of the electric tramways.


The terrace of houses high up overlooking the Royal Dockyard were Brandreth Terrace.  Captain Brandreth, R. E., F. R. S., Director in Chief of the Works.


Lamorna Place was a short group of houses that included the Saint James the Great National School, Saint James's Science School, the Vicarage and the Anglican Church of Saint James the Great, of which the Reverend E C Atherton MA was the vicar in 1914.


Martin Terrace ran from Saint James's Place to Albert Road.  Although primarily residential, at the southern end adjoining Albert Road there were the Prince of Wales Inn; Messrs W Miller ltd, naval contractors; the Keppel's Head Public House run by Mr E J Sammels; Messrs Barclay and Company's bank; the Royal Albert Hotel and the newsagent and tobacconists' of Mr R Pengelly.

The only properties on the western side of Keyham Road were the Royal Naval Engineering College and Keyham Terrace.