OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 02, 2016.
Webpage updated: February 19, 2017

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THE ROYAL NAVY IN OLD DEVONPORT

ROYAL NAVAL BARRACKS

The main gate of the Royal Naval Barracks, Devonport.
From a postcard.

The seed of the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport was sown in 1860, when the 104-gun first-rate warship, HMS "Royal Adelaide", became the depot ship at the Plymouth Dockyard, where she had been launched in 1828.  Twenty years later men employed by Mr John Pethick, the Plymouth contractor, started to remove hillocks and prepare the ground for a new shore barracks.  The contract for the erection of the first buildings, worth 250,000, was let to Mr John Matcham but he sustained fatal injuries while inspecting the works on October 12th 1882 and was replaced by Mr Alfred R Debnam.  The buildings were completed in 1886 but because some senior Naval men thought that providing such a fine set of buildings for the ordinary sailors was a waste of money, it was left unoccupied until Tuesday June 4th 1889, when almost 500 men transferred from the depot ship HMS "Royal Adelaide".

A wooden paddle steamer named HMS "Vivid" became the flagship at Devonport in 1889 and also acted as a tender to the depot ship, HMS "Royal Adelaide".  In 1890 the "Vivid" became the nominal depot ship for all sailors not serving aboard a ship at Devonport as required by the Naval Discipline Act.  Thus HMS "Vivid" became the name of the Royal Naval Barracks.  That was until Monday July 31st 1933 when the custom of holding a "Drake Dinner" was started in the wardroom and someone suggested that a more appropriate name for the base would be HMS "Drake".  The Admiralty approved the suggested and as from Monday January 1st 1934 HMS "Vivid" became HMS "Drake".  New cap ribbons were issued on Friday January 19th.